Diamondbacks’ Jordan Montgomery, bullpen hold onto tight lead vs. Marlins

May 25, 2024, 11:45 PM

Tucker Barnhart and Paul Sewald...

Tucker Barnhart #16 and Paul Sewald #38 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate a 3-2 win against the Miami Marlins at Chase Field on May 25, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks starter Jordan Montgomery with relievers Ryan Thompson, Joe Mantiply and Paul Sewald kept a narrow lead intact for a 3-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on Saturday.

The D-backs (25-27) plated three runs in the first two innings off Marlins starter Sixto Sanchez but went 2-for-19 the rest of the game at Chase Field.

Montgomery allowed a run on three hits in the opening frame, however he found a rhythm with eight straight retired Marlins (18-35) en route to a quality start. He threw more curveballs than sinkers, which worked against a team more successful against fastballs.

“The top of the second time through the order, we led with a lot of curveballs,” catcher Tucker Barnhart said. “Just felt like they were guessing sinker and got us there early on a couple but we were able to really slow them down, opened the sinker back up. … That was the best he’s been that I’ve caught him, for sure.”

Christian Walker and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. drove in runs with back-to-back doubles in the first inning, and Corbin Carroll’s sacrifice fly in the second proved to be the difference.

Miami threatened to break through with five hits in the fifth and sixth innings, but Montgomery held the Marlins to a run thanks to another well-executed relay.

Last weekend against the Detroit Tigers, shortstop Kevin Newman hosed Kerry Carpenter at the plate on a relay from center to keep the game tied.

Ketel Marte on Saturday threw out Miami’s Jazz Chisholm Jr. at third base while trying to stretch an RBI double into a triple.

Marte’s throw could not have been more on the money. Chisholm used a swim move and was initially called safe, but Arizona’s subsequent challenge was successful. That potentially saved a run, as Tim Anderson singled the following at-bat.

“We stayed with that tag, I think it was coming off the bag that got Jazz, but that was very well run and very efficient,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “Those are a lot of things those players work on in spring training.”

Jordan Montgomery getting comfortable

Montgomery bent with nine hits allowed but did not break, getting through six innings with two earned runs.

The D-backs pulled him at only 77 pitches with a fully gassed bullpen.

Montgomery said he is feeling more and more like his sharpest self after missing spring training, the workhorse with a mid-3s ERA each of the past three years.

“Finally stuff was moving how it was supposed to. Fastball had little extra juice on it, changeup was not cutting and I could throw the curveball for strikes and right where I wanted them,” Montgomery said.

“We’re in the right direction, just gonna keep laser focus in my bullpens and toss and trying to keep this rhythm.”

Montgomery joked he used to hate spring training, but after missing out on it, he has a new appreciation for it.

Arizona improved to 5-2 in Montgomery’s seven outings, four of which have been quality starts.

Diamondbacks’ bullpen delivers

The back end of the bullpen has come together since Sewald’s return from the injured list. The bullpen has a 1.95 ERA in the seventh inning-on since May 12.

Thompson recorded four outs and exited the eighth inning with a runner on second. Mantiply came in and struck out Chisholm and Anderson, throwing 10 pitches, nine of which were offspeed.

Thompson has been giving the D-backs more than three outs consistently over the past couple weeks. Four of his last six outings have lasted beyond an inning. He has not been charged an earned run since April 22.

Mantiply’s ERA remains a tick over 4.00 at 4.05. But he has allowed runs in only one of 10 appearances this month.

Sewald came in and threw a 1-2-3 ninth inning. He has given up two hits and no runs over his last six appearances.

Barnhart said Sewald has the hardest 92 mph fastball you’ll ever see with the rise on it.

“Having Paul back lengthens out bullpen so much more. It allows you to use (Thompson) in the seventh inning. It allows you to use Joe as an opener or in the sixth, seventh, eighth whenever the leverage make sense. And then (Kevin) Ginkel, I mean, we have so many more options with Paul back. It’s crazy one guy lengthens a bullpen so much.”

The “Paul Sewald Experience” has been pretty different early this year since his return. His WHIP after the trade deadline last year with 1.47. This year, it is a team-best 0.57.

“My heart rate is down when he comes into the game, so I appreciate that,” Lovullo said.

Diamondbacks-Marlins finale

The Diamondbacks will hand the ball to pitching prospect Blake Walston for his second MLB appearance and first start. The left-hander’s counterpart will be Miami southpaw Ryan Weathers.

The D-backs are 10-6 in series finales this season.

First pitch is at 1:10 p.m. on 98.7 and the Arizona Sports app. 

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