Weaver Shines in Return as Diamondbacks Pound Padres

Diamondbacks Padres

Diamondbacks 8, Padres 3

PHOENIX, Sep. 1 — Luke Weaver, in his first game back from a May injury, pitched six innings of one-run baseball as the Arizona Diamondbacks thumped the San Diego Padres, 8–3, Wednesday afternoon. Offensively, the Diamondbacks rode a six-run, 11-hitter third inning to the finish line.

Diamondbacks Bat Around to Take Big Lead over Padres

The scoring opened in the bottom of the third with a big inning by the Diamondbacks against Yu Darvish. Center fielder Ketel Marte set the table with a one-out single, and first baseman Pavin Smith drove him in with a double. A single by left fielder David Peralta put runners on the corners for Josh VanMeter. After a wild pitch scored Smith and put Peralta on second, VanMeter belted a 2-2 sinker into the right-field bleachers for his fifth home run of the season. After Daulton Varsho flied to the third baseman in shallow right — thank you, overshift — rookie right fielder Jake McCarthy walked. He stole second on the second pitch to shortstop Nick Ahmed, up next. Ahmed made it a 5–0 game two pitches later when he ripped a single to left.

Weaver — the ninth man to bat in the inning — hit a soft bouncer to third that looked initially like it would be the third out. However, the hustling Weaver drew an off-target throw from Manny Machado. The throwing error both extended the inning and ended Darvish’s nightmare of an outing. In came Nabil Crismatt, who served up an RBI single to Josh Rojas. On the play, Weaver went from first to third, finishing the play Pete Rose-style with a headfirst dive. “No one was a fan of (the slide),” Weaver said, “I don’t understand why; I thought it looked pretty cool.” Marte followed with an inning-ending grounder to first unassisted. When the dust settled, the Diamondbacks had sent 11 men to the plate in the third inning and now led, 6–0.

Weaver Is Masterful

After center fielder Trent Grisham led off the game with a single, he was picked off of first. The Padres did not have another baserunner until the fourth, when Machado roped a double to the right-field corner. However, he ended up stranded, as right fielder Fernando Tatis Jr. followed with a strikeout. A leadoff double by first baseman Eric Hosmer in the fifth also went to waste, as the next three hitters were retired on a fly to left, a popup to short, and a grounder to first with the pitcher covering.

The Padres finally got on the board in the sixth. It came on a one-out homer to the right-field bullpen by center fielder Trent Grisham. That turned out to be Weaver’s only run allowed, however, as he retired the next two hitters on a fly to left and popup to first. Reliever Noe Ramirez, who has struggled since returning from the COVID list, coughed up two more runs in the seventh. These came thanks to a leadoff double by Tatis and a two-run homer by left fielder Wil Myers.

Getting the Runs Back

The Diamondbacks tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the eighth, largely due to the wildness of Padres reliever Austin Adams. After a leadoff single by Marte, Adams drilled both Smith and Peralta to load the bases. Adams walked the next hitter — VanMeter — on four pitches, at which point Padres manager Jayce Tingler shot out of the dugout to give him the hook. In came left-handed submariner Tim Hill, who got Varsho to ground into a run-scoring 4-6-3 double play. McCarthy, up next, became the third hit batsman of the inning before Ahmed hit into a 6–4 force play for the third out.

Tyler Clippard pitched a 1-2-3 ninth in a non-save situation to close out the victory and stave off the sweep.

Weaver and His Triumphant Return

“It was a great outing,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said about Weaver’s effort after the game. “He was filling up the strike zone and making pitches.” Weaver’s road back was long and tenuous, something Lovullo also commended. “It was a lot of hard work, a lot of grinding days that led him to today. He deserves so much the credit for making sure that he was ready.”

Weaver won in his first appearance since May 16. “We’re back, baby!” Weaver proclaimed after the game. The leadoff single could have led to a “here we go again” thought with many people, but not with Weaver. Picking off Grisham especially helped him regain his focus, as he retired the next 10 Padres batters. “You’re trying to gather your emotions and put them into check as quick as possible. (I) came back and made some good pitches, (and Grisham) shot one just through the reach of Rojas. But when you can get an out like (the pickoff) and clear the bases and reset….

“It’s a lot better not to have somebody on with no outs. I saw him leaning a little bit and was able to throw up into him a little bit, (which) makes for an easier tag and a quicker chance to get him. It reset me, got me back into place, and (it was) back into attack mode. That was vital to start off the game with doing that.”

“What Are You Doing?!???”

After Weaver’s daredevil dive into third, he was slow to get up. The slide gave his forearms some “battle scars,” as he put it to the press after the game. He explained further, “I took my time getting up because I immediately felt my arms get crushed by the gravel. I didn’t realize it was gonna be a firmer playing surface there.

“But I peeked over to the dugout, and I don’t know how many eye rolls and head nods like I got that were negative. I connected with (catcher Carson Kelly’s eyes) and he was like, ‘What are you doing?’ And I responded with, ‘Did it look good?’ I’m suffering a little bit, but it’s all part of the game. We play hard, and we love it. Like I said, I took my moment and ran with it.”

Looking Ahead

Weaver (3–3) earned the win, while Darvish (7–9) took the loss. The Diamondbacks and Padres have met for the final time in the 2021 season. After a day off for travel, the Padres will begin a five-game homestand with a three-game weekend series against the Houston Astros. The Diamondbacks have Thursday off before resuming their homestand Friday with a three-game weekend series against the Seattle Mariners.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images


Players Mentioned:

Luke Weaver, Yu Darvish, Ketel Marte, Pavin Smith, David Peralta, Josh VanMeter, Daulton Varsho, Jake McCarthy, Nick Ahmed, Manny Machado, Nabil Crismatt, Josh Rojas, Pete Rose, Carson Kelly, Tyler Clippard, Tim Hill, Austin Adams, Wil Myers, Noe Ramirez, Trent Grisham, Fernando Tatis Jr., Eric Hosmer

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