Big Inning, Strong Outing from Gallen Put Diamondbacks Past Reds

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Diamondbacks 7, Reds 4

PHOENIX, Jun 15 — With starter Zac Gallen uncharacteristically hitting four of the first eight batters he faced, another frustrating game against the Cincinnati Reds appeared to be in store for the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, Gallen only allowed two to score, retiring the final sixteen batters he faced. A big inning in the bottom of the eighth gave the Diamondbacks the final push they needed as they defeated the Reds, 7–4, Wednesday afternoon.

A Rough Beginning

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PHOENIX, Jun 15 — Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (#19) bats against Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zac Gallen (not pictured) in the top of the second inning at Chase Field. Jose Herrera is the catcher, and Nick Mahrley is the plate umpire. The Diamondbacks won, 7–4. (Photo by Evan Thompson)

Gallen hit third baseman Brandon Drury with one out in the top of the first, a glancing blow off the helmet. Two batters later, Joey Votto got drilled in the hand while checking his swing. With runners now on first and second, first baseman Mike Moustakas grounded into a 6–4 force for the third out. Right fielder Daulton Varsho reached on a fielding error by second baseman Jonathan India to lead off the bottom of the second, but he ended up stranded on third when the inning ended.

The second opened with another hit batsman, this coming in the form of center fielder Nick Senzel. After a single by left fielder Albert Almora advanced Senzel to third, right fielder TJ Friedl dug in. An errant pickoff throw to first by Gallen plated Senzel. On the same play, Almora rounded tried to advance all the way to third, but a strong throw by Ketel Marte hosed Almora at third by at least 10 feet. Gallen hit Friedl as well, the fourth hit batsman out of the eight Gallen had faced to that point.

After Garcia flied to right, India laced a double to left. Friedl scored, and an error on shortstop Geraldo Perdomo allowed India to reach third. Gallen responded by locking Drury up with a fastball for a called third strike.

Diamondbacks Strike Back, Take Lead from Reds

David Peralta led off the bottom of the second with a double to the fence in right-center off Luis Castillo. After designated hitter Pavin Smith struck out, center fielder Alek Thomas doubled to left. Peralta scored easily, slashing the Reds lead to 2–1. That brought up Perdomo, who sent a soaring liner into the right-field seats for a lead-changing two-run home run.

The India double was the last hit Gallen allowed. His strikeout of Drury opened a stretch where Gallen retired 16 consecutive batters. For the last two outs of the top of the fifth, third baseman Josh Rojas played a key role. India smashed a 105.3-mph grounder near the third-base line. Rojas, moving to his right, went to his knee as he fielded the ball on one hop. His throw retired India on a close play. Drury followed with a liner to Rojas’ left. Rojas dove to his left for the side-retiring catch.

Gallen ultimately lasted seven innings, hurling 104 pitches — 71 strikes — to the 26 batters he faced. He allowed two earned runs on two hits while hitting four batters and striking out five.

Reds Tie Game, but Diamondbacks Respond Forcefully

Noe Ramirez took the hill to pitch the eighth, retiring Garcia and India on popups for two quick outs. On 2–1 to Drury, he hung a breaking ball, and Drury sent a deep fly to left. It sailed inches beyond the reach of a leaping Peralta for a game-tying front-row home run. Ramirez recovered by striking out Reynolds for the third out.

Art Warren took the mound for the Reds in the bottom of the eighth. Rojas and Marte welcomed him with singles to left and right, respectively. After Walker flied to the second baseman in shallow right, Peralta roped a single to right. Third base coach Tony Perezchica threw up a stop sign, but Rojas, watching his feet to make sure he touched the base, did not notice until it was too late. At that point, he was committed to home. A tremendous head-first dive sent his hand across the plate before Garcia could tag him, giving the Diamondbacks a 4–3 lead.

Running through a stop sign, manager Torey Lovullo said, is “not anything that we want to see. We want to help and assist when we can when the guys are on the bases. (Perezchica) has got a very difficult job…. TP was in a good position. He made the call. Josh probably didn’t pick up on him. And soon enough, you get your head down, trying to find the bases. We talk about making quick turns. So (Rojas) was probably thinking about his form. By the time he was getting that signal, he was in no man’s land. He continued on…and did a good job there. Once you make the mistake, don’t compound it and stop. Keep moving. It was a great slide, and it was a good run.”

The Wheels Come Off

The inning fell apart for the Reds at this point. As Smith batted, Marte and Peralta took off on a double steal. Both made it, prompting the Reds to bring the infield in for the play at the plate. Smith ultimately hit a slow, high one-hopper to second. Marte, running on contact, dove across the plate well before India’s throw arrived, extending the lead to 5–3.

Reiver Sanmartin took over for Warren. After Thomas flied to foul ground in left, Perdomo singled to center. This scored Peralta and advanced Smith to third, giving the Diamondbacks a 6–3 lead. As catcher Jose Herrera batted, Sanmartin stumbled in the middle of his delivery. The resultant balk scored Smith and moved Perdomo to second. Herrera ultimately grounded to short, ending the inning with the Diamondbacks holding a 7–3 lead.

The Ninth

Jake Hager took over at second base for Marte in the top of the ninth. This was not a defensive substitution. Marte felt tightness in his right hamstring after scoring, so Lovullo took him off the field as “a precautionary measure.” Lovullo continued, “The trainer confirmed it. (Marte) could have played the ninth, but I decided to take him off the field.”

Closer Mark Melancon had been warming up the whole inning, so despite the four-run lead taking away the save opportunity, Melancon entered the game. Votto led off with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Moustakas singled him home, cutting the lead to 7–4, but Melancon retired the next three batters to end the game.

Zac Gallen

Gallen said he “felt fine. I felt like I had everything in command pretty well.” He added that after the four hit batsmen, he told Lovullo, “I can get you through seven. Just give me a shot.” Lovullo told him that he could go seven as long as he didn’t face the top of the order a fourth time, which is exactly what Gallen did.

Overall, Gallen was proud of his outing. “It was kind of a grinder the first two innings. You throw a ball up the right-field line. Trip over bats backing up, trying to get a ball that squirted away (from the catcher) in the on-deck circle…. But yeah, I was just trying to pick us up, trying to pick up the bullpen. Get us into the off-day and maybe come out here for a good series.”

Looking Ahead

Ramirez (2–1, 5.02 ERA) notched the win while Warren (2–3, 7.66 ERA) took the loss, both in relief. Both the Diamondbacks (30–35) and Reds (23–40) have Thursday off before hosting three-game weekend series. The Diamondbacks will face the AL Central-leading Minnesota Twins (37–28) in interleague play, their fourth meeting in Phoenix and first since 2011. Lefties Madison Bumgarner (2–6, 3.50 ERA) and Devin Smeltzer (3–0, 2.38 ERA) will start for the Diamondbacks and Twins, respectively, with first pitch at 6:40 pm Arizona Time. Meanwhile, the Reds will host the struggling Milwaukee Brewers (35–29), who won Wednesday for only the third time in their last fourteen games. The Brewers starter is to be determined, but the Reds will start Hunter Greene (3–7, 5.10 ERA). First pitch will be at 6:40 Eastern.

Main Photo Description:

PHOENIX, Jun 15 — Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zac Gallen takes signs from catcher Jose Herrera (not pictured) while preparing to pitch in the top of the second inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Chase Field. The Diamondbacks won, 7–4. (Photo by Evan Thompson)

Players/managers/coaches mentioned:

Zac GallenBrandon Drury, Joey Votto, Mike Moustakas, Daulton Varsho, Jonathan India, Nick Senzel, Albert Almora, TJ Friedl, Ketel Marte, Luis Castillo, Geraldo Perdomo, David Peralta, Pavin Smith, Alek Thomas, Josh Rojas, Noe Ramirez, Art Warren, Tony Perezchica, Torey Lovullo, Reiver Sanmartin, Jose Herrera, Jake Hager, Mark Melancon, Madison Bumgarner, Devin Smeltzer, Hunter Greene