Diamondbacks putting together stretch of winning baseball, claim series vs. Giants

Jun 4, 2024, 11:33 PM

Blaze Alexander...

Blaze Alexander #9 of the Arizona Diamondbacks high fives Jake McCarthy #31 after scoring runs against the San Francisco Giants during the third inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on June 04, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Former Arizona Diamondbacks manager and analyst Bob Brenly made a point that the team was not fun to watch compared to last year with Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Friday.

The D-backs at that point had lost three straight games and scored seven runs over the previous five.

Since then, the Diamondbacks have put together 36 runs in five contests, winning their fourth straight game Tuesday 8-5 over the San Francisco Giants (29-33). To claim the series, the Diamondbacks continued to play the brand of baseball they are looking for.

“We’re starting to play really good baseball,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “The type of baseball where we get runners on base, we continue to have stubborn at-bats, an all-field approach. The name of the game is execution at the most critical moment. So for a pitcher to stand up and make a pitch or that at-bat when there’s runners out there and damage to be done, we’re having a lot of success with that.

“It’s a lot of fun to watch.”

Arizona (29-32) consistently smacked the ball hard toward the middle of the diamond, hitting 12 balls 98 mph or harder.

Eight of nine starters recorded a hit. Blaze Alexander and Ketel Marte each picked up three hits, while Gabriel Moreno and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. collected two RBIs.

And they stacked at-bats together to rally for three runs in the third inning for a 3-0 lead and four runs in the seventh to break the game open 8-2.

The base running was aggressive, which especially paid dividends in the third. Alexander hit a sharp grounder off the glove of diving Giants shortstop Casey Schmitt. The ball trickled into the outfield, and both Jake McCarthy and Alexander pushed to capture an extra base.

“I didn’t know if the ball was in his glove or passed him, I was just listening for (Dave McKay),” Alexander said. “McKay told me to go. As I rounded, I saw that ball trickle into the outfield and boom, slid in. Tried to pump up the crowd. Then (Kevin) Newman got the big hit right after.”

Newman lined a ball into left field to score both runs.

The D-backs finished 6-for-14 with runners in scoring position, taking advantage of several key defensive blunders from the Giants. Schmitt in particular had a difficult night.

On the other side, Arizona did not have to make five diving plays like Monday’s 4-2 win, but the defense was excellent once again. Tuesday was another show of how far playing a cleaner game than your opponent can get a team.

“We have a standard here, and we weren’t quite achieving that standard,” Lovullo said. “There was one or two things that we were doing wrong, and it was costing us the ability to win a baseball game. It all adds up. Everything adds up. You think small, big things happen. You do little things that add up to great moments that help you win a baseball game.”

Tuesday was not the easiest day on the mound.

Starter Blake Walston got through 4.1 innings with 88 pitches and two earned runs, saying he was all over the place. Walston threw 50 over the first two frames. He walked four batters and found himself in full counts against six of the first nine hitters in the game. But in his second career start, he made some key pitches to induce two double plays and escape the second inning with the bases loaded and one out.

With the Diamondbacks missing three-fifths of their rotation, the last four wins have come after starts by young pitchers who gave the team a shot.

“We [did] not budget for having three-fifths of our starting rotation on the IL,” Lovullo said. “It happened, and we’re making the adjustment. It’s next man up, and we’re getting it done.”

The bullpen did its job to preserve the lead. Kevin Ginkel, Joe Mantiply and Justin Martinez went 2.2 innings without an earned run despite traffic. Bryce Jarvis entered up six and allowed a two-out, three-run homer to pinch hitter Mike Yastrzemski, but closer Paul Sewald locked down the ninth for his sixth save in six opportunities.

The Diamondbacks, despite the injuries and key underperforming bats, are one game back of a wild card spot.

Alexander said the vibes have been great since the New York Mets series over the weekend, as the D-backs found its offensive punch. It started in the ninth inning on Friday, as Arizona scored four runs and nearly mounted a comeback in Answerback fashion.

“It’s huge, especially coming back in the clubhouse after the win,” Alexander said of morale being high. “We got all these fancy (disco) lights (in the clubhouse). … I got to wear the jacket for the first time today. I messed up the speech, everyone’s laughing at me, but it’s a really good energy right now.”

“This isn’t anything that is happening by luck,” Lovullo said. “I think the guys are responding to all that extra work and all that extra time they’re putting in, and you finally get those results.”

Diamondbacks go for the sweep

D-backs left-hander Jordan Montgomery will start on Wednesday as the D-backs play for their second three-game sweep of the season. Right-hander Jordan Hicks starts for San Francisco.

The series finale begins at 12:40 p.m. on 98.7 and the Arizona Sports app. 

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