ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

D-backs sluggers Christian Walker, Joc Pederson overwhelm Angels in series-clinching win

Jun 13, 2024, 11:25 PM

Joc Pederson #3 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates with Christian Walker #53 after hitting a gr...

Joc Pederson #3 of the Arizona Diamondbacks celebrates with Christian Walker #53 after hitting a grand slam home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the seventh inning at Chase Field on June 13, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Christian Walker’s bats smashed three home runs in an 11-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels at Chase Field on Thursday, but Walker was only responsible for two of them. The third was a grand slam hit by Joc Pederson, commandeering his teammate’s bat as he has been known to do.

“We had three homers with a Walker bat tonight,” Pederson said after the game, clarifying that it wasn’t the same exact bat.

“The only bats he doesn’t use are his own bats,” Walker joked postgame.

Pederson’s bat-napping earned him attention during his hot streak in the 2021 postseason while playing for the Atlanta Braves, when he was using the bat of former Chicago Cubs teammate Anthony Rizzo.

“He’s a bat guy, we’re always talking models, we’re always messing around with stuff. When I’m between two models I go to him and make him tell me which one has got the hits in it,” Walker added. “That was an awesome swing (on his grand slam). … That sweeper came in and he did a good job staying back and coming through for us. Things like that, that break it open change the game big time.”

Manager Torey Lovullo called it a complete team effort, beginning with “patient approaches” to set up Walker’s first home run, which he said set a “downhill baseball” tone.

“I felt like it was an important win. You always want to win series,” Lovullo said. “I don’t care what the Angels’ record is, I don’t care what names are missing from the lineup, they’re a very stubborn team … we took nothing for granted.”

The D-backs (33-36) managed nine hits and six walks to only five strikeouts. In addition to the nine RBIs on four hits between Pederson and Walker, Kevin Newman had two RBIs on three hits, filling in for shortstop Geraldo Perdomo, who is on a return-to-play program having played two straight games since returning.

Mickey Moniak drove in the Angels’ only run in a game they were held to 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

Brandon Pfaadt’s quality start

Starting pitcher Brandon Pfaadt played with fire early, but he settled into a dominant outing that is welcomed by the Arizona pitching staff.

Pfaadt gave up one run on six hits in his 6.0 innings pitched, but he started with two Angels on base after a walk and a single. After Pfaadt navigated the inning with two strikeouts and a fielder’s choice, the Angels had two baserunners on at the same time only once the rest of the way.

“There were some sticky moments for him, it wasn’t perfect, so he had to grind a little bit early on but made pitches,” Lovullo said postgame.

Pfaadt’s Los Angeles counterpart, Griffin Canning, equaled him in length but wasn’t as effective, surrendering the two home runs to Walker, including the longest home run at Chase Field this season at 464 feet.

Behind Pfaadt, Arizona’s bullpen of Kevin Ginkel, Ryan Thompson and Paul Sewald got through the final three innings without allowing a hit.

Lovullo acknowledged after the game it wasn’t a normal situation for those three to get the call with the game in hand, but he was pleased with their work.

D-backs’ homestand continues

Arizona, having won eight of its last 12 games, matches up against the Chicago White Sox (18-52) for a three-game set. Ryne Nelson (3-5, 5.96) will get the ball for the D-backs against Chris Flexen (2-5, 5.06) on Friday.

First pitch in the series opener is at 6:40 p.m. on Friday and can be heard on the Arizona Sports app, 98.7 or ArizonaSports.com.

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