ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Blaze Alexander dives, Ketel Marte leaps for slick D-backs play

Jun 3, 2024, 7:50 PM | Updated: 9:06 pm

Jordan Westburg #11 of the Baltimore Orioles steals second base in the ninth inning on a high throw...

Jordan Westburg #11 of the Baltimore Orioles steals second base in the ninth inning on a high throw to Blaze Alexander #9 of Arizona Diamondbacks at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 11, 2024 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

(Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

The only reason Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Blaze Alexander isn’t playing most days is because of his defense and the 24-year-old will continue to make a case for more time with plays like he made on Monday in a 4-2 win against the San Francisco Giants.

In the top of the fourth inning, Giants catcher Patrick Bailey hit a ground ball up the middle toward the right side of second base. Due to the shift alignment, Alexander had the best shot at the ball. He got there with a dive, and because it was in a weird spot, second baseman Ketel Marte did too.

As Alexander fielded the ball, Marte leaped over Alexander and the throw to first was in time.

Alexander has been given a real chance in his rookie season to get some at-bats with injuries to both Geraldo Perdomo and Jordan Lawlar at short. He has taken full advantage of them, posting a .269 batting average in 108 at-bats, the fifth-best average on the team.

The issue has been on defense, where Alexander has sure looked the part of someone who has to learn through mistakes. He committed four errors early in the season, and because of that problem, spring training invite Kevin Newman got more looks and has been a key contributor.

Alexander, however, is a prospect the D-backs value and still want to find playing time for after a scorching spring earned him a roster spot. This has included time at third base, where Alexander started on Sunday.

He continues to impact games at the plate. Alexander had six hits in his last four games coming into Monday and knocked an RBI single in the bottom of the second inning.

The great defensive plays continued on the evening with a slick diving catch for Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in left field to wrap up the top of the fifth inning.

Gurriel also homered, the 100th of his career.

D-backs starter Ryne Nelson threw 7.2 innings of two-run baseball, a career high for him in innings and also the longest outing for a D-back this season.

Nelson gave up a game-tying home run in the seventh inning to Heliot Ramos before Ryan Thompson nearly allowed the Giants to get the lead in the top of the ninth. With runners on the corners and two outs, a sharp hit ball down the left field line forced a poor throw by Arizona’s Eugenio Suarez. D-backs first baseman Christian Walker was able to jump, catch the ball and make the tag for the out.

Pavin Smith then hit a walk-off homer in the bottom-half for the win.

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