‘Mad’ Diamondbacks aim to build off hitting outburst from win over Padres

May 5, 2024, 6:17 PM

Joc Pederson...

Joc Pederson #3 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates with Christian Walker #53 after hitting a two-run home run against the San Diego Padres during the fourth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on May 05, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks have a league-high five games with at least 11 runs scored this season, adding another to the list Sunday to beat the San Diego Padres, 11-4.

Arizona (15-20) avoided a sweep and snapped a three-game losing streak in which it scored two runs. Eight of nine D-backs starters recorded hits, three from lead-off man Jake McCarthy to set the table.

Leaving Opening Day to the side, these outbursts have yet to be followed by a stretch of high-scoring games, and finding ways to build off this was addressed postgame.

“It’s not about trying harder, trying to do more or putting any extra pressure on ourselves,” Christian Walker said. “In the same sense, there needs to be urgency, and I think that it comes by trusting ourselves and and keeping the confidence high.”

“We’re gonna hit lulls … maybe we get really hot,” McCarthy said. “Especially at the plate, you go games or weeks where it’s like ‘I’m never getting out again’ or ‘I’m never getting a hit again’ and neither is true. So I just think it’s about keeping an even keel.”

Ketel Marte got it going with a two-run home run off Padres knuckleballer Matt Waldron in the first inning, and Corbin Carroll doubled the lead with a two-out, two-run single. Carroll had his first multi-hit game since April 19.

Arizona scored multiple first-inning runs in seven of their first nine games but had not done so for nearly a month (April 9) entering Sunday.

The Padres (18-19) responded with three runs in the second off Ryne Nelson, but Arizona took advantage of a pair of walks and a wild pitch to put another pair of runs on the board. McCarthy drove in the first and Walker the second. Walker was the standout hitter for Arizona this homestand, hitting .333 with six RBIs in six games.

The D-backs piled on in the fourth inning with four runs on four hits, capped by a Joc Pederson two-run moonshot.

Manager Torey Lovullo said the energy was fantastic in the dugout, explaining he sensed the club was mad but focused.

“Hitting is contagious, and when things go right, and it’s usually built off successful pitching, that just keeps the flow of the game going,” Lovullo said.

“So I feel very strongly this group is ready for a run offensively. We’ve had a couple bad work weeks mixed in with a couple good work weeks. We’re better than what we have been doing. We know that and it’s just time to be consistent and be stubborn.”

It was a complete effort from situational hitting (6-for-15 with runners in scoring position) to defense to baserunning (even with no steals) and pitching.

Nelson got clipped for three two-out runs in the second but was otherwise sharp in his return from the injured list (elbow contusion). He finished with five innings and four earned runs, holding the Padres from climbing back in after the lead ballooned.

“Happy to get back out there with the guys and get a win,” Nelson said. “A couple pitches I wish I could go back and change but good win for the team. … It’s never good when we’re scoring and you go out there and give up a couple of runs. So being able to throw out those zeros was big.”

The bullpen quartet of Justin Martinez, Joe Mantiply, Ryan Thompson and Kevin Ginkel provided four shutout innings.

Jake McCarthy makes his case

The Diamondbacks will likely make roster moves before their next game Tuesday at the Cincinnati Reds. Center fielder Alek Thomas and closer Paul Sewald are set to return from the IL.

The spring training topic of how many outfielders will the Diamondbacks carry has become relevant. They had six on Sunday, but Pavin Smith is also the backup first baseman.

McCarthy made his case to stick around with a three-hit game and two RBIs. He is hitting a team-high .311 with five of 23 hits singles.

“It’s nice when you’re not really crushing it and it goes through. Just trying to swing at the right pitches, especially in the leadoff spot,” McCarthy said. “Not falling in love with the result, more so I’m getting good pitches to hit and I’m swinging at the right ones.”

Diamondbacks’ next series

The D-backs open a three-game series at the Reds Tuesday with Zac Gallen returning to the mound for the first time since April 26 (rest after hamstring tightness). Jordan Montgomery will pitch Wednesday followed by Slade Cecconi.

The Reds are expecting to get starter Frankie Montas back from the IL against Arizona.

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