The stopper: D-backs’ Zac Gallen gets Pirates back with gem to end skid
Jul 7, 2023, 11:14 PM
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks’ All-Stars brought it on Friday to snap a four-game losing streak with a 7-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The D-backs (51-38) received another outstanding stopper performance from ace Zac Gallen, who made a final case to start the Midsummer Classic with seven innings of one-run ball on four hits.
Arizona’s offense had his back, putting up a four-spot in the second inning capped by a three-run homer off the bat of Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
Gurriel had three extra-base hits in the performance to drive in four runs.
The rest of the lineup played to the identity that has helped them grab first place in the NL West: drawing walks, stealing bases and manufacturing runs.
Eight of Arizona’s nine starters reached base safely on Friday, seven recorded hits for a total of 12.
“This was what we needed,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “For me, it was about Zac getting the job done and allowing us to have the big offensive moments. It was a good day, our the leaders of our team stepped up.”
Gallen said he owed the Pirates (40-48) one after his last start in Pittsburgh.
The righty allowed eight runs, five of which were earned, in a 13-3 Pirates victory in May, which had been nagging at him ever since.
“That one has definitely sat with me for the last two months,” Gallen said.”They got me, it is what it is. … Extra motivation, we just got swept at home. It’s kind of a testament of who we are, I think we’re becoming a good team. Good teams put a stop to four-game skids.”
The Milkman 🥛
Zac Gallen shut it down again tonight 😤
7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 5 K, 0 BB pic.twitter.com/FYNqQJqTLI
— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) July 8, 2023
Gallen was in a groove with four 1-2-3 innings, retiring the final seven batters he faced. He struck out only five Pirates but consistently produced weak contact with an 87.2 average exit velocity.
Lovullo explained that Gallen was rolling and got frustrated allowing the one run, an RBI single by Tucupita Marcano in the fifth inning. The score was 5-1 at that point.
“You can tell by the reaction after that base hit that he felt like he should have gone seven shutout innings,” Lovullo said. “Every time he goes out there, he’s gonna give us a quality effort.”
He made quite the final argument to start Tuesday’s All-Star Game, something he said he’d be pumped to do.
The D-backs are 12-6 in games Gallen has started this year, and he has a 1.86 ERA in nine contests following a loss.
Arizona scored seven runs during his seven innings, breaking through in the third with aggressive baseball.
Jake McCarthy walked and stole second. He got an early jump that drew a pick-off throw by starter Rich Hill, but McCarthy beat the ensuing toss to second which got away.
Ketel Marte singled for the second straight at-bat, setting up Corbin Carroll, who was in the lineup after Thursday’s shoulder scare.
Carroll bunted down the first-base line for a single, scoring McCarthy from third. That set up Gurriel, who blasted a hanging 2-2 curveball 414 feet.
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) July 8, 2023
McCarthy walked again to lead-off the fourth inning and stole second in a similar fashion, this time taking third on another errant throw.
Gurriel got him home with a double.
Carroll got in on the base path havoc with two steals in the sixth inning after his second single.
He took third on a double steal with Gurriel and scored on a throwing error by catcher Austin Hedges, who tried to throw out Gurriel at second.
Christian Walker got Gurriel home with a double, and the top four hitters in the lineup combined to go 8-for-18 with two walks and six RBIs.
“I felt good from the beginning, we came and we prepared right and we all had a good approach today,” Gurriel said through a translator. “We needed it.”
Corbin Carroll’s shoulder
Carroll played after asking Lovullo to put him in the lineup. Lovullo was going to give the rookie a day off after Carroll exited Thursday’s contest holding his shoulder and went for an MRI Friday.
The results came out clean, as Carroll was cleared to play without limitations.
There was a moment in the eighth inning where it appeared he swung and pointed to his shoulder.
Lovullo asked Carroll if he was okay, and the outfielder said he was.
“If he was willing to talk about it, I was gonna listen, but he said he was fine so I just left it there,” Lovullo said.
Carroll reached a milestone on Friday, becoming the first MLB rookie to reach 15 home runs and 25 stolen bases by the All-Star break.
D-backs All-Star Corbin Carroll broke down what happened in the at-bat he had the injury scare in on Thursday. pic.twitter.com/2Djz5K85ls
— Arizona Sports (@AZSports) July 8, 2023
Justin Martinez’s debut
The D-backs recalled 21-year-old RHP Justin Martinez on Friday, who made his MLB debut in the eighth inning.
He quickly showed something unfamiliar from a D-backs pitcher this season, hitting 102 mph during his first at-bat.
It was an up-and-down showcase for Martinez, who threw the five fastest pitches by a D-backs pitcher this season and hit a couple nasty splitters.
But the command wasn’t totally there, as he walked two, hit a batter and allowed a two-run single.
Justin Martinez lit up the radar gun in his MLB debut.
While averaging 100.8 mph on his 19 fastballs, the 21-year-old threw the @Dbacks' five fastest pitches this season.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 8, 2023
The D-backs play for a series win on Saturday against Pirates ace Mitch Keller (3.52 ERA).
Lovullo named left-handed reliever Kyle Nelson the opener to a potential bullpen game.
First pitch is at 1:10 p.m. on 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com.