Diamondbacks 4, Padres 3
After looking flat during the first two games, the Arizona Diamondbacks needed a spark. It didn’t matter where it came from. Something needed to light a fire under them. If it didn’t, they risked becoming the only team in the league to fall to 0-3. Late in Sunday’s game against the San Diego Padres, it happened. Whether it happened in the fifth, the eighth, or the ninth is irrelevant. The fact is, it did happen, and that led to a come-from-behind 4-3 victory.
Another Pitchers’ Duel Early despite Gallen’s Control Problems
Diamondbacks starter Zac Gallen and Padres starter Garrett Richards held opposing bats at bay early. This followed the pattern from the second game of the series. In the first four innings, Richards only allowed four baserunners. Three were due to walks, and the fourth came from a two-out double in the third by center fielder Ketel Marte. Marte was the only one to advance beyond first base, however.
Gallen got into multiple jams due to his high walk total. He only allowed two hits in four innings, but his five walks ran his pitch count up quickly. Solid defense – something the Diamondbacks heavily value – bailed him out. After Gallen walked the bases loaded in the first, Padres right fielder Wil Myers ripped a sharp bouncer down the third-base line. Third baseman Eduardo Escobar smoothly gloved it near the line and hustled to third. He stepped on the bag for the third out a split second before center fielder Trent Grisham slid in.
In the second, a single by second baseman Jurickson Profar and a walk to shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.put runners on first and second with two out. Grisham grounded a shot down the first-base line that could have been trouble, but first baseman Jake Lamb dove toward the line to gobble it up. He flipped to a hustling Gallen, who stepped on the bag less than a step before Grisham to retire the side.
Padres Get on the Board, Diamondbacks Offense Wakes Up
Gallen did not walk anyone in the third. That was the good news. The bad news was that two Padres hit the ball hard. Left fielder Tommy Pham – a genuine pain in the neck for the Diamondbacks so far – hit a deep fly to the fence in right. Right fielder Kole Calhoun jumped and hauled it in as he crashed into the wall for a highlight-reel grab.
That brought up first baseman Eric Hosmer, who abused Diamondbacks pitching in the series opener. On 2-2, he launched a deep drive to right-center that landed on the beach deck, giving the Padres a 1-0 lead. Gallen struck out the next hitter, Myers, to retire the side. He then walked the leadoff hitter in the fourth but struck out the next three to render it meaningless. His day ended after the fourth inning.
Richards continued to stymie the Diamondbacks hitters into the fifth. However, something happened during the second at-bat of the inning that may – at least subconsciously – have lit a fire under the Diamondbacks. With one out and an 0-2 count, a high-and-tight pitch from Richards hit Cron slightly above the elbow. He started toward first, but plate umpire Mark Ripperger called him back, ruling that he made no effort to get out of the way.
Manager Torey Lovullo came onto the field to discuss the situation. Whatever Ripperger said angered Lovullo, who continued to fume. This led to Lovullo’s ejection, the fifth of the fourth-year manager’s career. Although they did not get a hit in the fifth, they notched two in the sixth off reliever Javy Guerra. However, with runners on the corners and two out, left-handed reliever Tim Hill came into the game and struck out the left-handed-hitting Calhoun, retiring the side.
A Wild Finish
The top of the eighth brought Emilio Pagan – the Padres set-up man – into the game. Pagan was lights out in 2019 for the Tampa Bay Rays, so the outlook seemed bleak for the Diamondbacks. They rose to the occasion, however. A leadoff walk by Ketel Marte and single by left fielder David Peralta put runners on first and second for center fielder Starling Marte. When he grounded a single to right, Ketel scored and Peralta advanced to third.
The Diamondbacks had tied the game and seemed to have a giant weighted lifted off their shoulders. Third baseman Eduardo Escobar grounded into a 6-3 double play, but Peralta scored on the twin-killing, giving the Diamondbacks a 2-1 lead. Calhoun followed with a hot grounder in the hole on the right side, but Hosmer made a nice diving play to his right to glove it and throw to Pagan covering first, retiring the side.
The top of the eighth saw two straight walks allowed by left-handed set-up man Andrew Chafin. After Profar flied to center for the first out, fireman Archie Bradley came into the game to face pinch-hitter Greg Garcia. A single tied the game, but Bradley retired the next two hitters to send the 2-2 game into the ninth.
Turning It Around against One of the Game’s Best
Relief ace Kirby Yates – one of the premier closers in baseball – entered the game in the ninth in a non-save situation. After catcher Carson Kelly struck out, a single and two walks loaded the bases for Ketel Marte. His fly to center was deep enough to plate Ildemaro Vargas from third, giving the Diamondbacks a 3-2 lead. A follow-up single by Peralta scored Tim Locastro from second, making the score 4-2. Starling Marte could not continue the rally, striking out to end the frame.
Bradley returned to the mound for the ninth. A single by Grisham and strikeout by Machado brought Pham to the plate with one out. He crushed a deep drive to left that headed toward the wall. Peralta got on his horse and sprinted toward the wall. He leapt, twisting his body to make a spectacular “how did he catch THAT?!??” play.
Peralta’s catch most likely saved a run, and that made a difference when Jake Cronenworth, who ran for Hosmer in the eighth, followed with a double for his first major league hit. Grisham scored from first, making it 4-3. He advanced no further, as Myers, up next, grounded to the pitcher for the final out of the game.
Bradley earned both a blown save and the win, while Yates took the loss. The final game of the four-game set is Monday afternoon at 1:10 pm Pacific. Luke Weaver will take the hill for the Diamondbacks, while Joey Lucchesi will start for the Padres. The Diamondbacks will try to salvage a split while the Padres aim to take three of four.
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