PHOENIX — Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo has said that part of what makes a great pitcher is having a solid outing when the ball isn’t quite going where you want it to.
D-backs (30-35) ace Zac Gallen was a bit too literal with that example on Wednesday afternoon against the Cincinnati Reds (23-40). After Gallen hit four of the first eight batters he faced and one of his two runs sacrificed came because of his own throwing error, he retired 16 straight Reds batters in a 7-4 win.
The box score for Gallen looked pretty great: Two earned runs, two hits, no walks and five strikeouts in 7.0 innings. Plus the, you know, the franchise-record four HBPs.
Gallen correctly stated afterward that all four instances were not wild throws where he was missing his spots by a couple feet. It was just a few inches here and there, which was enough to hit the batters, including one to Joey Votto that was close to a strike and Gallen claimed was indeed one.
“Once he locked it in, he got real good,” Lovullo said of Gallen. “I was talking to him throughout the course of the outing and he’s like, ‘I’m going seven today.’ Basically, get out of my way. And I said, ‘Alright, show me you can do it’ and he went out there and executed a great gameplan.”
Gallen’s two hit batters in the first inning didn’t result in runs but the pair the following inning did.
The right-hander began the second inning with a hit by pitch before a single put runners on the corners. From there, a wild pickoff throw to first by Gallen scored the hit Nick Senzel. In that same at-bat, Gallen struck the Reds’ T.J. Friedl with a cutter and a throwing error by shortstop Geraldo Perdomo to home plate on a double let the second run cross.
Perdomo made up for in the bottom half when he crushed a first-pitch fastball from Reds starter Luis Castillo 408 feet to right field for a two-run homer that was preceded by an RBI double for Alek Thomas.
It seemed like Gallen was crumbling, but for the time being, it was a 3-2 Arizona lead.
And it picked a good moment to have it, because after that, almost all matters of offense ceased to exist.
Nine of the next 10 half-innings saw three straight outs. The ol’ 1-2-3.
Gallen, in particular, had only two of his 16 straight outs come after more than five pitches in the at-bat.
Offense was back on the menu once Gallen and Castillo exited in the eighth inning.
Reds third baseman Brandon Drury hit a solo homer off Arizona reliever Noe Ramirez to tie the game, Drury’s fourth already this season against his former team.
For the second straight time in the game, though, the D-backs answered with runs in the bottom half of the inning.
Back-to-back singles for Josh Rojas and Marte led it off and David Peralta’s single to right gave Rojas just enough time to score the go-ahead run on the head-first slide (while he ran through a stop sign).
David Peralta brings in Josh Rojas to re-take the lead! pic.twitter.com/Vgout0LxIj
— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) June 15, 2022
After a double steal put Marte on third and Peralta on second, a poorly hit grounder to second by Pavin Smith with the infield in seemingly would result in the inning’s second out. But Marte did a great job leading way off third and getting a great jump when the ball came off the bat, and it also helped that Cincinnati’s Jonathan India bobbled the ball and botched the throw.
On that jump, Marte felt something in his right hamstring and came out for the final inning. Lovullo said it was a precautionary move and Marte could have played.
Reds reliever Art Warren was pulled at that point, and after one D-backs out, Perdomo’s sharply-hit single up the middle off Cincinnati’s Reiver Sanmartin scored Peralta. The righty’s balk with Herrera at the plate the next at-bat brought home Smith and gave Arizona its fourth run of the inning credited to Warren.
D-backs closer Mark Melancon gave up a run in the ninth inning but was able to finish it and the game.