Gallen Magnificent as Diamondbacks Rout Phillies

Diamondbacks Phillies

Diamondbacks 12, Phillies 3

PHOENIX, Aug. 30 — Jake McCarthy went 2-for-5 with a triple, a home run, and five RBI, notching two of his team’s 17 hits en route to a 12–3 blowout victory for the Arizona Diamondbacks over the Philadelphia Phillies Tuesday night. Alek Thomas added a career night, going 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Christian Walker and Daulton Varsho contributed three hits each, with Walker scoring two runs and Varsho scoring one.

The rout came at the expense of Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola, who gave up eight earned runs for the first time in his career. Nola’s counterpart, Zac Gallen, continued his hot streak, pitching seven scoreless innings in the victory. This extended Gallen’s consecutive scoreless innings streak to 34 1/3, second in Diamondbacks history to Brandon Webb, who pitched 42 in 2007. This opens the possibility of Gallen passing Webb in his next start, although Gallen is still well behind the major league record of 59, set by Orel Hershiser of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988.

Diamondbacks Bat Around Again, Take Commanding Lead over Phillies

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Both Gallen and Nola put up zeros in the first. Gallen repeated the feat in the second. In the bottom half, the Diamondbacks batted around for the third time of the series. First baseman Christian Walker led off with a double to left and advanced to third on an unassisted groundout to first by Varsho, the right fielder. Left fielder Corbin Carroll brought Walker home with a single to right, making the score 1–0.

Thomas, up next, ripped a double to the left-field corner. As impressive as the double was for the Diamondbacks center fielder, Carroll stole the show with his baserunning. Not only did he score from first, but he did so at top speed, drawing comparisons to Olympic sprinters. “It was one of those situations where I stopped and watched him. I wasn’t tracking the ball,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “Usually I’m tracking the ball, watching where the cutoff man is standing. Then I pick up where the catcher is lined up just to make sure that the defensive alignment is intact. And then I start to pick up the runner pretty close to third base. But I watched him from the second the ball was hit. He covered 31 feet per second, which is pretty amazing.”

The Hit Parade

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After catcher Carson Kelly singled, putting runners on the corners, shortstop Geraldo Perdomo bunted in a sacrifice attempt. Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins muffed the fielding attempt, and everyone was safe — Thomas scoring as Kelly advanced to second. After third baseman Josh Rojas struck out, McCarthy — the designated hitter — roped a hard liner to the right field corner, scoring both runners. A combination of the ball rattling around and McCarthy’s speed gave him an easy triple. The hit parade ended when Marte struck out, ending the second with the Diamondbacks holding a 5–0 lead. For the third time in seven innings, the Diamondbacks had batted around.

They drove the knife in deeper two innings later. Kelly led off with a single to right, his third hit of the night. He advanced to second when Perdomo followed with an unassisted groundout to first. A strikeout by Rojas would have ended the inning, but the pitch went wild, rolling all the way to the screen. Rojas beat the throw to first easily, keeping the inning alive. McCarthy made the Phillies pay, launching a middle-of-the-plate, belt-high fastball halfway up the right-field bleachers. The three-run blast gave the Diamondbacks a commanding 8–0 lead.

More Punishment for Phillies

Nola left the game after allowing eight runs on ten hits in four innings. Thomas, the first to face new pitcher Sam Coonrod, hit a Baltimore chop. Catcher Garrett Stubbs took a perfect route to the ball and caught it on the bounce with his bare hand. His hurried throw to first overshadowed his fine play to pick up the ball. The throw went high and wide, rolling off the fence and to the right fielder. Thomas coasted into third as the ball hit the cutoff man. Two batters later, Perdomo brought him in with a sacrifice fly, making the score 9–0.

Gallen Continues Mastery

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Meanwhile, Gallen put up zero after zero. A 4-6-3 double play to end the first wiped out the one-out walk of Hoskins. The first Phillie to reach base afterwards was the number nine hitter, center fielder Brandon Marsh, who singled to right. Jean Segura, who hit a one-out single in the fifth, was the other. He also got erased by the ensuing hitter, as Stubbs grounded into a 1-6-3 double play. At the end of seven, Gallen had faced only one more hitter than the minimum, but he took 88 pitches to get through them.

Gallen, according to Lovullo, was “not budgeted” to throw 105 pitches in this game. “…we were looking at, probably, 12 to 15 pitches to get through the inning. And he wants to complete innings. He doesn’t want to have somebody come in and pick up where he’s leaving off in the middle of an inning. And he made that perfectly clear. So I said, “Okay, that’s it, then we’re going to shut it down right here.” Lovullo added that if the score were 2–0 instead of 9–0 “deep in September, driving toward something very special, I would have left him in the game. He was very dominant.” Gallen was fine with the decision, saying, “I’m on pace to throw the most innings I ever have in the big leagues. So it’s something that I, the medical staff, and Torey are cognizant of.”

Diamondbacks and Phillies Trade Three-Spots

In came Noe Ramirez to pitch the eighth. He retired shortstop Bryson Stott and Segura on a grounder to the mound and strikeout, respectively, for two quick outs. Stubbs, however, worked a full-count walk, extending the inning. Right fielder Matt Vierling followed with a hard comebacker. Ramirez had to chuck and duck, avoiding a head shot while getting his glove on the ball. He couldn’t come up with it, however, and neither could the middle infielders, extending the inning once again. Marsh cashed in, belting a three-run homer to right to avoid a shutout. Ramirez retired the next hitter — reserve left fielder Nick Maton — on an unassisted groundout to first.

Maton took over as a position pitcher in the ninth, and the Diamondbacks got the three runs back. Walker and Varsho hit back-to-back singles, with the latter pushing Walker to third. Carroll, up next, sent a pitch to dead center. It would have been a home run in every other park in the league, but Chase Field’s 25-foot-high center field wall thwarted the bid for his first major league home run. Walker and Varsho both scored. Carroll didn’t have to wait long to join them, as Thomas drove a single to center — his fourth hit of the game — to plate Carroll. Mark Melancon threw a 1-2-3 ninth on six pitches to finalize the score and finish off the Phillies.

Postgame Reflections

Gallen’s performance disguised how he actually felt. “I didn’t feel super comfortable, first, maybe second time through the lineup. Curveball was okay. Cutter, slider, I had an okay feel for. Changeup was fine. But yeah, I didn’t feel super-comfortable. The offense gave me a big enough lead that I was trying to just convince myself to be in the zone. No free passes. So it was kind of good because there was a night where I had to be extra sharp.”

Jake McCarthy, who continued his recent hot streak, is enjoying the ride. “It’s just nice. If it’s not your your night, it seems like it’s someone else’s,” he beamed. “So we’re just trying to keep this momentum going, and it’s fun to be a part of.” He acknowledged how fun it is for him to play with guys he came up through the system with. “Corbin was talking about it yesterday, how seven or eight of the guys in the lineup yesterday he had previously played with. It’s kind of nice to know everyone personally, and I think we feel more like a team.”

With all the young outfielders playing as well as they are, the manager and coaching staff have to decide where to put everyone. No matter what night it is, someone has to sit out. McCarthy isn’t worrying about that. “I try not to think about the future at all, really. That’s how you create problems for yourself, trying to play GM and trying to play coach. I just try to show up, look at the lineup, and do my job.”

Looking Ahead

Gallen (10–2) earned the win, his fifth victory of August in as many decisions, while Nola (9–11) took the loss. Coupled with the 4–3 San Diego Padres victory over the San Francisco Giants Tuesday night, the Diamondbacks (61–67) have moved into a third-place tie with the Giants in the NL West. The Phillies (72–58), despite the loss, maintain their hold on the second wild card spot in the NL, although their lead over the Padres has dwindled to half a game.

Wednesday night the Diamondbacks and Phillies will play the third game of the three-game set and last game of the season series. Tommy Henry and Bailey Falter will start for the Diamondbacks and Phillies, respectively, in a battle of left-handers. First pitch will be at 6:40 Arizona Time.

Main Photo:

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Players/managers mentioned:

Jake McCarthy, Alek Thomas, Christian Walker, Daulton Varsho, Aaron Nola, Zac Gallen, Brandon Webb, Orel Hershiser, Corbin Carroll, Torey Lovullo, Carson Kelly, Geraldo Perdomo, Rhys Hoskins, Josh Rojas, Sam Coonrod, Garrett Stubbs, Brandon Marsh, Jean Segura, Noe Ramirez, Bryson Stott, Matt Vierling, Nick Maton, Mark Melancon, Tommy Henry, Bailey Falter