PHOENIX – Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zac Gallen set an MLB record and recorded his first win of the season on Friday night in the D-backs 7-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field that ended the team’s losing streak at eight games.
Gallen has now allowed three earned runs or less in his first 22 starts dating back to his MLB debut with the Miami Marlins last season on June 20, 2019, against the St. Louis Cardinals. The streak to begin a career surpasses the streak of 21 games set by Aaron Sele in 1993-94 for the Boston Red Sox.
Gallen’s streak is made even more impressive by the fact that he has allowed three earned runs or less in every start of his major league career.
“When you’re talking about major league records, you got to stop and appreciate what exactly is going on,” said manager Torey Lovullo after the game. “With the amount of starts to start a career with three runs or less given up, that’s a really impressive stat.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment, one that’s built around a lot of hard work, a lot of trust in the people round him, and we want that string to continue and we think it will.”
In 15 career starts with the D-backs, Gallen is 3-3 with a 2.49 ERA and 100 strikeouts.
“He’s good,” said catcher Carson Kelly on Gallen. “He’s been great. It feels like every time he goes out, he gets a little bit better.”
The 25-year old righty was great again in this outing, allowing just five hits and one earned run in seven innings against the Giants with five strikeouts and one walk.
“I’ve been thinking about it since the season came in,” said Gallen on the record. “But it’s just one of those records that if I go out and do my job it will add up, so I’m kind of grateful that it’s one of those ones that you don’t have to think about too much.
“If I can just keep us in the game and keep our guys mentally in the game and know that it’s not too far out of reach, that’s just what I try to do. I don’t try to over complicate it too much.”
Arizona gave Gallen some run support early that helped his historic cause. Ketel Marte got on base with a ground-rule double and was driven in by a Starling Marte RBI single in the first inning.
The D-backs then added to their lead in the third when Carson Kelly kicked things off with a double, followed by a Tim Locastro single and Ketel getting hit by a pitch to load the bases. Christian Walker added a run with a sac fly RBI that scored Kelly and David Peralta made it a three-run game with an RBI double that brought in Locastro.
Gallen cruised through most of his outing. He got into a few jams in the first inning and again in the seventh, but he was able to pitch his way out of the few times he was in danger. In the sixth inning, Evan Longoria struck with a solo home run for the Giants’ only run off Gallen.
He was brilliant in his history-making start and has been the crown jewel of this starting rotation despite his record not reflecting that success.
Unfortunately, while the Milkman has delivered this season, his team hasn’t. In his six previous starts, Gallen is 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA in 36 innings pitched with 42 strikeouts, 12 walks, and an opponent batting average of .202.
This record also put him in rare company, as he is only one of two pitchers in MLB history to have a 2.25 ERA or lower in six starts with a 0-0 record. The other player was Cal Eldred of the Milwaukee Brewers in 1998 per Elias Sports Bureau.
“For me, it’s the location of those pitches that are in the zone, that’s the bottom line,” said Lovullo when asked what he thought was adding to Gallen’s success. “I think he is pounding the strike zone with consistency and repeatability, and I think that’s the key factor for his success.”
The D-backs added another four runs in the bottom of the fifth, which would probably upset Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward. Ketel was 2-for-3 with two runs scored with a HBP while Starling went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles.
The win ends the D-backs 8-game slide that dates back to their two-game sweep at home against the Oakland Athletics. They are currently in last place in the NL West with a 14-19 record.
Arizona will go for the series win in game two with Luke Weaver on the mound going up against former D-back Trevor Cahill. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. with pregame coverage beginning 40 minutes earlier on Arizona Sports.
Weaver has been inconsistent in his second season for the D-backs, but he comes into this start with a 2.53 ERA, an opponent batting average of .205, and 11 strikeouts in his last two starts. He is 1-4 with a 7.77 ERA on the season.