Gallen Shines Again as Diamondbacks Blank Rockies

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Diamondbacks 4, Rockies 0

PHOENIX, May 8 — Zac Gallen spread five hits over seven scoreless innings, striking out seven, to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 4–0 victory over the Colorado Rockies Sunday afternoon. Ketel Marte also went 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored to pace the Diamondbacks offensively. Rockies shortstop Jose Iglesias also had a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 in defeat.

The Diamondbacks tagged Rockies starter German Márquez for three runs in the bottom of the second. After first baseman Christian Walker struck out, Marte roped a double down the right-field line. A walk by third baseman Geraldo Perdomo put runners on first and second for shortstop Nick Ahmed, whose single plated Marte with the first run. Center fielder and major league debutant Alex Thomas struck out before catcher Jose Herrera doubled Perdomo and Ahmed home.

Gallen said after the game that it “absolutely” gave him a nice boost to get a two-run double from his batterymate. “Jose works so hard back there. For every pitcher, he calls an unbelievable game. So for him to drive in the runs — it’s not just my outing out there. It’s his, too. He’s out there throwing down the fingers, making plays, blocking balls, and whatnot. So for him to drive in a couple of runs for himself is awesome.”

“Hand It Over to the Bullpen”

Thomas notched his first major league hit in the bottom of the fifth, crashing a double off the left-field wall. After Herrera sacrificed him to third, designated hitter Cooper Hummel walked. An errant pickoff attempt to first by Marquez brought Thomas home, making the score 4–0 as Thomas scored his first major league run.

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo asked Gallen how he felt after the seventh inning. “I told him I felt fine, which is my standard answer for just about everything,” Gallen said with a smile. “ ‘Fine’ doesn’t mean that I’m tired, but that I feel good. But coming off a hundred pitches and a big-time adrenaline start, I get it. We’re up four to nothing, so hand it over to the bullpen, let them shut it down, and get a series win.”

Hand it over to the bullpen is exactly what Gallen did. Noe Ramirez, after three days of rest, took the hill in the eighth. He retired all four hitters he faced, handing the ball to lefty Joe Mantiply for the final two batters of the game. Mantiply fanned both, sealing the victory for the Diamondbacks.

Postgame Reflections

Lovullo spoke with a smile after the game. “If you draw up a game plan,” he said, “you want your starting pitcher to attack. (You want him to) give you chance to win the baseball game by controlling (the opponent’s) offensive potential. We know what the Rockies are capable of doing. Zac did a great job of that. We scored an early run. I thought the key blow today was Jose Herrera’s double down the right-field line that broke this game open.

“We’re very stubborn in those situations. Once we get a lead, we’ve been doing a good job of hanging onto it. Guys came out of the bullpen today and did exactly what we wanted them to. I think everybody’s pretty much gassed up down there. When everybody is available, those pieces fall into place pretty well. I thought that Noe did a really nice job as well as Mantiply. But really, for me, it was the seven scoreless innings that Zac gave us. You shut out a very offensive team — and they’re doing it at home and on the road, so it doesn’t matter — you’re doing a lot right.”

Noe Ramirez

Sunday’s game was a nice bounceback for Ramirez, who had some disappointing outings on the road trip. Lovullo said, “He’s had a couple of hiccups. I know that. For a period of time, we were down three right-handed relievers with (J.B.) Wendelken, (Sean) Poppen, and (Mark) Melancon. Between (Ramirez) and Ian Kennedy, they shouldered a lot of that load. A lot of those late-inning matchups fell on their shoulders. We were trying to rest them when we could, but they never complained about it once. They went out there and helped us win some baseball games, but they were gassed. It was nice to give them the time off that we did, I think it was three days off. Ian responded and threw the ball great yesterday, and Noe was great today. So I feel like they’re at full strength. It was nice for all of us to see.”

Ramirez pitched in front of his parents Sunday. “They make a trip out, on average, twice a year. It’s always nice to have them out here, and it was fun to do well in front of them, too. My mom was pretty pumped up. She started crying out there when I hugged her.”

Needing to Recharge

His two most recent outings were subpar, to which Ramirez said he had to “accept the fact that I did have to recharge. I don’t like to ever tell Torey I’m tired or anything like that. But we had a nice little talk, and he understood that. He’s known me since 2011, so he knows the type of guy I am.

“It felt good, honestly, to be back to what I do and what I’m used to doing, mechanics-wise and all that. It’s great that in those two games where I didn’t pitch very well, we ended up winning still. I would have really beaten myself up if, somehow, we had ended up losing those games. It’s awesome to be back contributing and winning again.”

Ramirez said he wasn’t really tired but that “I felt like I needed a little more effort in those two outings. I wasn’t sore — nothing like that. It was just that something was a little off. I’ll pitch three days in a row any time for (Torey). He knows that. So I try to keep that I’m tired out of my head.”

Joe Mantiply

Mantiply, the former lefty specialist, likes that Lovullo is now trusting him to get both lefties and righties out. “It feels good. I’ve always had pretty good confidence against righties. My changeup has always been my go-to pitch. So I’ve always felt really comfortable against righties. I’m glad I’m getting opportunities to go out, finish games, and do my job.” He gets an added incentive to pitch a scoreless inning when he’s part of a shutout. “Obviously, shutouts are great. You definitely want to keep the morale high — go out and shut the door.”

Mantiply has now pitched scoreless ball in 13 of his 14 trips to the mound, dropping his ERA to 0.77.

Looking Ahead

The Diamondbacks have now won nine of their past twelve games and three of their past four series. In the fourth series, they split (2–2) with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Gallen (2–0) earned the win Sunday, while Marquez (0–3) took the loss. The Diamondbacks (15–14) continue their homestand Monday with a three-game series against the Miami Marlins (13–15), while the Rockies will head to San Francisco for a three-gamer with the Giants. For the Diamondbacks, they will send Humberto Castellanos (2–1, 4.12 ERA) to the hill against Elieser Hernandez (2–1, 6.66 ERA) in a battle of right-handers. The Rockies will start southpaw Austin Gomber (2–2, 3.58 ERA) against Giants lefty Carlos Rodon (3–1, 1.55 ERA). Both games will start around the same time — 6:40 pm Arizona Time for the Diamondbacks and 6:45 pm Arizona Time for the Rockies.

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Players/managers mentioned:

Zac Gallen, Ketel Marte, Jose Iglesias, German Márquez, Christian Walker, Geraldo Perdomo, Nick Ahmed, Jose Herrera, Cooper Hummel, Torey Lovullo, Noe Ramirez, Joe Mantiply, J.B. Wendelken, Sean Poppen, Mark Melancon, Ian Kennedy, Humberto Castellanos, Elieser Hernandez, Austin Gomber, Carlos Rodon