Diamondbacks Top Mets, Even Series

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Diamondbacks 5, Mets 2

PHOENIX, Apr. 23 — Daulton Varsho, Pavin Smith, Carson Kelly, and Geraldo Perdomo notched multi-hit games to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5–2 victory over the New York Mets Saturday night. Starting pitcher Humberto Castellanos allowed two runs in five innings while walking one and striking out five to set the pace.

The Diamondbacks scored early and often off Mets starter Trevor Williams. Center fielder Daulton Varsho led off the game with a single and advanced to third on a one-out single by left fielder David Peralta. A grounder to short by first baseman Christian Walker threated to end the inning on a 6–4–3 double play, but the hustling Walker beat the relay. Varsho scored on the play, giving the Diamondbacks a 1–0 lead.

The lead grew to three in the second thanks to four straight one-out singles and a 3–6 fielder’s choice groundout. Catcher Carson Kelly, third baseman Sergio Alcantara, shortstop Geraldo Perdomo, and Varsho hit the singles, with Perdomo using a bunt to do so. Marte grounded into the force play.

When Walker led off the third with a double to the left-field corner, Mets manager Buck Showalter gave Williams the hook. In came Sean Reid-Foley, who started his outing with a walk of Seth Beer. A double by Pavin Smith plated Walker with the fourth run, but Beer had to hold up at third. That is where he remained, as Kelly flied to shallow center, Alcantara popped to short, and Perdomo fanned.

Mets Halve Lead, Diamondbacks Get Insurance

The Mets halved the lead in the top of the fifth. First baseman Dominic Smith led off with a double to the right-field corner and advanced to third on a grounder to first by second baseman Robinson Cano. Left fielder Jeff McNeil tripled to the right-field corner, with Pavin Smith having trouble fielding the ball at first. Dominic Smith scored easily on the play. McNeil scored on an infield single up the middle by catcher Tomas Nido. The inning could have brought more runs across for the Mets, but center fielder Brandon Nimmo hit into a line drive double play (6–3) to end the frame.

The Diamondbacks added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth. Perdomo led off with a triple, remaining there as Varsho struck out but advanced to first on a wild pitch on the third strike. Varsho stole second before Marte grounded to second, with the ball being fielded too quickly for Perdomo to score. Peralta, however, followed with a deep enough fly to second for Perdomo to hustle home.

Noe Ramirez, Kyle Nelson, Ian Kennedy, and Joe Mantiply combined to pitch four scoreless relief innings after Castellanos left the game. Mantiply earned the first save of his major league career with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Postgame Reflections

Castellanos said to a pool reporter that the key to his success was “being able to maintain my control. I was attacking the hitters and getting ahead in the counts. Plus, I was able to hit the corners.” His slider was working particularly well, breaking more sharply than usual. “It was definitely one of the key pitches tonight. (My slider) was working really well with the changeup against left-handed batters. The two hits they got in my last inning were with the slider, so I didn’t want to use it, although it was my best pitch and helped me control the game.”

Manager Torey Lovullo said after the game that Castellanos “set the tone for us today. He executed a really good game plan and turned it over the bullpen, who gave us four scoreless. It was one of those games where a lot of good things happened inside the concepts of being a team. We scored runs without getting base hits, executed with the barrel of our bats in some key situations, and we made pitches after not making perfect defensive plays, or maybe having a couple of hiccups here and there.

Statement Win

“To me, that was one of those statement wins. We did a lot of things more on the right side of the ledger than we did on the wrong side. And we know we’re going to make mistakes, but it’s how we respond to those mistakes and how we rally around one another to make good things happen.”

Some players with slow offensive starts to their seasons had nice nights Saturday. “Perdomo had a good day today,” Lovullo pointed out. “Offensively, he’s been working extremely hard on his approach. Carson (Kelly) with a couple of hits, nice to see because I know he’s really been grinding. There were some really quality at-bats throughout the course of this day. That allowed us to create a lot of noise and put ourselves in position to score some runs. We did a really nice job. But it started with (Castellanos). He did a fantastic job of controlling a pretty offensive lineup and giving us a chance to score some early runs.

“We Knew That Was Coming”

Hitting-wise, “it wasn’t a pristine beginning for us,” Lovullo said about the first few weeks of the season. “We felt very strongly that we had the type of team that was gonna cut you 1000 times rather than deliver the big knockout blow every single time. But I think we’re starting to understand what it looks like, and what we need to do individually per at-bat, and then hand it off to the next guy. We knew that was coming. It was an 11-run outburst in Washington DC. We came home and have played two really good baseball games. That’s more important to me than the hits because we have the right approach. We’re thinking baseball while we’re at the plate. I feel like we are going to respond with some quality approaches and base hits, and that’s what happened today.

This was the first game Lovullo can remember where two separate runners were called out for interference after being hit by a batted ball. Diamondbacks designated hitter Seth Beer was the victim in the bottom of the fifth, and Mets second baseman Robinson Cano was the victim in the bottom of the seventh. Beer’s play was different than Cano, since the ball struck Cano before passing any infielders. Beer, however, was behind the first baseman when the ball hit him. However, first base umpire Greg Gibson ruled that Cano had a chance to make a play on the ball had it not hit Beer. With that being the case, Gibson called Beer out.

About those two plays, Walker said the same thing. It was the first time he could remember two in the same game. He added with a smile, “I heard the umpire say the same thing. So everybody was aware of how odd that was. But it’s just another baseball thing, you know?”

Hitting, Relief Pitching

Walker said that it was only a “matter of time” before hits started to fall. “This is who we thought we were gonna be. It was just a matter of repeating and executing every day, not getting comfortable and complacent and all that. Staying on the grind and keeping our foot on the gas pedal. It’s good to see some production, and we definitely need to keep it going.” Varsho added that the team has been making hard contact all season. “We’ve been having a lot of hard contact as a team. And it just wasn’t finding the holes. Tonight was a good job for us, and hopefully we can do it tomorrow.”

Varsho also complemented the relievers. “Pitching has been great for us. Now it’s just about consistently doing it, and we’ll win a lot of ballgames.” About Mantiply earning his first big league save, he said, “I was so happy for Joe. To come in there, calm your nerves, and be able to get that save — it’s hard to do. There are few guys who are able to do that. That was awesome that, tonight, he got that opportunity.”

Looking Ahead

Castellanos earned the win for the Diamondbacks (6–9), while Williams took the loss for the Mets (11–5). The teams will play the rubber match of their three-game series Sunday afternoon at Chase Field. This will not only be their last meeting this series but of the entire 2022 season. Diamondbacks lefty Madison Bumgarner (0–1, 1.38 ERA) will face Mets righty Tylor Megill (2–0, 2.20 ERA). First pitch will be at 1:10 Arizona Time.

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Players mentioned:

Daulton Varsho, Pavin Smith, Carson Kelly, Geraldo Perdomo, Humberto Castellanos, Trevor Williams, David Peralta, Christian Walker, Sergio Alcántara, Buck Showalter, Sean Reid-Foley, Seth Beer, Dominic Smith, Robinson Cano, Jeff McNeil, Tomas Nido, Brandon Nimmo, Noe Ramirez, Kyle Nelson, Ian Kennedy, Joe Mantiply, Torey Lovullo, Madison Bumgarner, Tylor Megill