Diamondbacks’ Brandon Pfaadt, Blaze Alexander embrace key moments in win over A’s

Jun 30, 2024, 5:24 PM | Updated: 5:25 pm

Brandon Pfaadt...

Brandon Pfaadt #32 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a first inning pitch against the Oakland Athletics at Chase Field on June 30, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks starter Brandon Pfaadt delivered six innings with one earned run Sunday in a 5-1 win over the Oakland Athletics, executing through a string of jams to pick up his teammates.

Manager Torey Lovullo thought the D-backs (41-43) did not play particularly great, as a pair of defensive miscues gave the A’s extra scoring opportunities.

The Athletics (30-56) brought a man to scoring position with less than two outs in four of Pfaadt’s six innings, but the 25-year-old executed to keep his team in the game.

“You look over the last year, the offense has had my back plenty, so it was my turn to step up a little bit and have their back in those situations,” Pfaadt said. “And as a starting pitcher, that’s all I can do. If there’s an error, don’t get upset about it. Just get back on the mound and try to execute pitches and have their back.”

Pfaadt completed six innings for the 12th time in 17 starts this season with nine quality starts. His last two outings were dominant early before a late home run marred his numbers. Oakland’s Zack Gelof hit a solo shot the other way to tie the game 1-1 in the fifth inning, but Pfaadt managed to avoid an inning getting away.

With Zac Gallen’s return on Saturday, the D-backs have received 12 innings with one earned run from their starters the past two games, both wins to claim the series over Oakland.

“That’s my overall goal, is to pitch six innings-plus every time I go out there,” Pfaadt said. “I think being aggressive, getting ahead with first-pitch strikes, first two out of three, I think that if I’m doing that, then I can go deeper in the games regardless of the results.”

Pfaadt allowed five hits, two walks and struck out eight batters.

The offense broke through when Blaze Alexander stepped up in the seventh inning. Arizona had the bases loaded after Oakland intentionally walked Ketel Marte, and Joc Pederson was due up against former D-backs left-hander T.J. McFarland.

Arizona pinch hit with Alexander, and Oakland countered by turning to fellow former Diamondbacks reliever Austin Adams, a right-hander.

“I just tried to simplify it. I felt like I knew Austin Adams well enough, I thought he was going to be around the plate, out over and with the potential of maybe not throwing three strikes before he threw four balls,” Lovullo said. “The McFarland sinker with Pederson would put the ball on the ground, I know it’s what they wanted. I liked the idea of Austin Adams being in the game over T.J. McFarland, and then I was just going to let the hitter do their thing.”

Alexander was 0-for-9 on the homestand, but he punched a fastball over the plate into left field to plate two runs.

Christian Walker, who had a huge day with three hits and two RBIs, spoke to Alexander before his at-bat.

“C-Walk brought me over and he just gave me confidence,” Alexander said. “He’s telling me, ‘Hey, be aggressive, step up right here, be the man.’ Fortunately, I got the job done and got the win.”

Alexander said this has not been the easiest stretch to handle, but relying on his preparation and Arizona’s veterans have kept his confidence high.

Walker followed with an RBI single, and Geraldo Perdomo brought in another insurance run with a double in the eighth inning.

The D-backs locked it down with Joe Mantiply, Ryan Thompson and Paul Sewald out of the bullpen.

Lovullo called Sunday a midseason must-win-type game, considering the D-backs won the series at home and head on a difficult road trip this week. The Diamondbacks have three games at the Los Angeles Dodgers starting Tuesday then head south to San Diego for three more at the Padres.

“These guys fought,” Lovullo said. “It wasn’t an easy win. We’re not playing our absolute best baseball. We made some mistakes, but we overcame them … We won the game with really good execution, guys getting on base and just linking together offensively. And the pitching was fantastic. And it started with Brandon Pfaadt.”

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