PHOENIX, Ariz. — Arizona Diamondbacks emerging ace Zac Gallen got knocked around early for the first time in his MLB career in the team’s 7-3 loss to the Seattle Mariners at Chase Field on Saturday night.
Gallen, who hadn’t allowed an extra-base hit in the first inning in any of his starts this season, saw the wheels fall off early in this one.
“I thought that he was effective with certain pitches at certain times, but the Mariners laid off some quality pitches,” said manager Torey Lovullo after the game. “We typically get a little bit of swing and a little bit of in-play activity, but that wasn’t the case.
“So, they had a good game plan, and we’ll go back to the drawing board with Zac to continue to allow him to improve in certain areas.”
Gallen gave up a solo home run to the second batter of the game, designated hitter Ty France, his second big knock in consecutive nights against the D-backs. With two outs, he then walked third baseman Kyle Seager and gave up an RBI double to outfielder Jose Marmolejos that put Seattle up 2-0.
But Gallen still wasn’t out of the first inning. He walked first baseman Evan White, followed by another double off the bat of catcher Luis Torrens that scored both base runners and put the Mariners up by four after one.
The Milkman’s struggles continued in the second inning after he allowed a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases with only one out. He then walked Seager for the second time in the game, which brought in outfielder Phillip Ervin for the Mariner’s fifth run of the game.
“I just wasn’t executing really was what it came to,” said Gallen postgame. “I think it just came down to my delivery mechanically. I was just rushing a little bit and was unable to execute those pitches when I wanted to.
“I really wasn’t necessarily displeased in the first inning about my stuff. Some of those pitches weren’t located well, they put some good swings on them, they got the ball in the gaps and stuff like that happens sometimes.”
The D-backs’ offense was unable to recover from the deficit. Mariners pitcher Justin Sheffield made quick work of Arizona’s hitters and efficiently maneuvered through the first few innings of his outing by primarily using a sinker that kept the ball on the ground.
D-backs rookie Wyatt Mathieson was able to get the first two RBI of his career with a double off Sheffield with the bases loaded in the fourth inning with one out, but that was all the team could muster up against the Mariners starter.
Sheffield went seven innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits. He also had seven strikeouts with three walks.
Meanwhile, Gallen’s line wasn’t as tidy. He did settle in and give the team three more innings, but he allowed two more earned runs in the fifth inning on a Marmolejos home run before his night was over.
Gallen lasted five innings, allowing seven earned runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and five walks in the worst outing of his MLB career.
“I think today was a total outlier,” added Lovullo on Gallen. “I know that he did give up the four runs, but let’s focus on what he did for the first five and a third innings in San Francisco. He was practically unhittable.
“This one was a little uncharacteristic. I think there were some misfires early, and then he really had trouble getting those gears started.”
On the plus side, D-backs’ rookie Pavin Smith, who was drafted No. 7 overall in the 2017 MLB Draft, got his first career start and first hit in the ninth inning.
The D-backs will go for the series win against the Mariners on Sunday.
Luke Weaver will take the hill for Arizona and make his first career start against Seattle. He has a 1-6 record this season with a 7.12 ERA and 41 strikeouts in nine starts. Weaver has also posted a 4.30 ERA in his last five starts, which is a reversal from his 11.85 ERA after his first four starts of the year.
First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m., with pregame coverage starting 40 minutes earlier on ESPN 620 AM.