D-backs put pressure on Giants with aggressive base running to even season series
Sep 19, 2023, 11:30 PM
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks, through aggressive base running and execution with runners aboard, built an early lead that held against the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday at Chase Field.
Arizona’s 8-4 victory evened the season series against San Francisco and maintained its position as the second National League Wild Card team.
D-backs (80-72) manager Torey Lovullo said the gameplan involved speeding the Giants (76-75) up and applying pressure on their defense, which came to light as his club burst out for five runs in the first two innings.
Corbin Carroll doubled in a pair of runs to take a 3-2 lead in the second inning off Giants starter Alex Cobb. It was already his second hit of the game after misplaying a ball in the first that led to a Giants run. Lovullo said he looks for young players to have the type of response Carroll showed.
Ketel Marte walked in front of Tommy Pham, but Pham never got the chance to drive them in.
Carroll, the ball and third baseman Wilmer Flores’ glove converged on a double steal attempt, and the ball kicked away. Carroll got up and bolted home, and Flores’ throw got past catcher Patrick Bailey. That allowed Marte to score, too, and Lovullo joked he blinked his eyes and they scored two runs.
“Got a good read and when the ball kind of kicked away at third, I saw it a little late but looked up, looked where Wilmer was, where the ball was, it was a ‘yes’ decision in my mind,” Carroll said.
Full on chaos. pic.twitter.com/RPxrkudQJd
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) September 20, 2023
The D-backs continued to add on with a pair of runs in the fourth inning. After a Jace Peterson double, Geraldo Perdomo bunted him to third and was called safe at first. Replay showed he was likely out, but the Giants had already burned their challenge. Both runners scored on a Marte single. Marte finished 4-for-4 with a walk — his first four-hit game since June 3, 2021.
Through four innings, the D-backs were 3-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
“We fell behind 2-0 in the first inning, and I don’t think the team was fazed by that,” Lovullo said. “We chipped away with one and the bottom of the inning and I thought we made a ton of statements in the four-run second with just good hitting, timely and aggressive bass running.”
Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen felt the offense bailed him out a bit on Tuesday after he allowed four runs in five innings.
The Giants picked up a pair of those runs in the fifth to cut the deficit to 7-4, but Lovullo commended his club for continuing to have an answer. Alek Thomas tripled off lefty Alex Wood, who entered the game in the third inning for Cobb after he exited with an athletic trainer.
Gabriel Moreno delivered a sacrifice fly to increase the lead to 8-4.
The bullpen accounted for four shutout innings without a hit, helped by stellar defense. Thomas made another highlight reel play in center field up against the wall.
Alek Thomas, you are something else. 🤩 pic.twitter.com/sKJRVpWB8O
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) September 20, 2023
“He’s amazing, right?” Lovullo said. “He’s just doesn’t stop out there. It’s a no fly zone. You hit a ball there that’s catchable, he’s gonna catch it.”
The Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins won while the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies lost. Arizona is only 2.5 games back of Philadelphia for the top wild card spot, but the Cubs remain 0.5 games back of the D-backs. Miami is 0.5 games behind Chicago with Cincinnati 0.5 games back of the Marlins.
Gallen allowed at least four earned runs in seven out of his first 27 starts this season. He’s now done so four times in his last five outings for a 6.37 ERA. The exception was his complete-game shutout against the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 8.
“The last handful times, just haven’t felt really great, just haven’t been able to repeat it,” Gallen said. “I’m looking, I’m working every day to try to figure out what the deal is. But like I said, every fifth day, when it comes around, I gotta give us a chance to win. So that doesn’t really matter. It’s just I got to make pitches.”
He bogged it down to not executing on Tuesday.
Joc Pederson took Gallen deep in the first inning on a knuckle curveball that dipped below the zone. Pederson was 2-for-21 against Gallen before the plate appearance that extended San Francisco’s lead to 2-0.
JOC BLASTS ONE 🚀 pic.twitter.com/JO9bITpotX
— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) September 20, 2023
Gallen found a groove with three shutout innings that consisted of two double plays and an inning when he struck out the side. The D-backs broke away during that stretch, going up 7-2.
The lead was in danger of slipping during the fifth inning, as Gallen allowed a pair of singles and walked three hitters, one with the bases loaded.
He escaped the jam by punching out Pederson looking, but Lovullo clipped his starter at 93 pitches.
“He pitched well enough to keep us in the game,” Lovullo said. “So I want to make sure that I start there. What happened in that last inning I just think he was mislocating some pitches and falling behind in counts and he’s careful. He didn’t want to give up any slug in a very critical situation so he was still picking up the zone a little bit.”
Miguel Castro, Andrew Saalfrank, Kevin Ginkel and Paul Sewald each pitched a shutout, hitless inning to pick up Gallen.
Castro has not allowed a run in his last 10 appearances, while Saalfrank still has not surrendered an earned run in eight MLB innings since getting called up.
Arizona’s relievers have a 2.22 ERA in 77 innings during September.
“The bullpen has been great, really, they’ve stepped up in a huge way,” Gallen said.
Kelly vs. Webb
The marquee pitching matchups continue Wednesday with Arizona’s Merrill Kelly facing off with San Francisco’s Logan Webb.
Kelly has fared well against the Giants in his career, especially at home where he has a 1.69 ERA in his last three starts versus San Francisco.
Webb has been terrific lately, having allowed one earned run over his last 14 innings pitched.
First pitch is at 12:40 p.m. on ESPN 620 AM.