You wouldn’t surprise anyone if you didn’t watch tonights game, what with the 1st round of the NFL Draft underway, so maybe that helped the D-backs tonight compared to last night’s disaster. Or maybe it was because they were facing the Padres. Yeah it’s probably the latter.
After a late-innings disaster the game before brought the season series with the Padres to even at 3-3, the D-backs needed to take advantage, and Taijuan Walker responded in form. Pitching efficiently and effectively, Walker tied his career high with 11 strikeouts through 8 innings, walking none and giving up just 2 runs on 4 hits. His pitch count was decently high after the 8 innings, so Fernando Rodney started warming up in the bullpen, raising the heart rates of thousands across the state. Thankfully, the D-backs put the save out of reach with an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th, giving us anyone but Rodney in relief. J.J Hoover came on and gave us the uneventful 1-2-3 9th inning to close out the game and win.
Things didn’t start well of course, with the Padres getting a quick run on a Wil Myers double and Yangervis Solarte single to push the Padres up 1-0. Walker was masterful the rest of the way, giving up a double and home run to save the bullpen. He mixed a mid-90’s fastball and sharp curveball to keep the Padres’ hitters guessing all night long. Taijuan had a strikeout every inning except the 5th, but kept his best for last, striking out the side in the 8th on 12 pitches, 11 of them fastballs. That’s pretty good.
The offense started slow against Jered Weaver, which makes sense I guess. But once Chris Owings stepped in in the 3rd inning, the game immediately shifted. 1 pitch, tie game 1-1.
The 4th was the straw that broke Weaver’s back. Paul Goldschmidt led off with a walk and steal, and after a Lamb ground out that push Goldy to 3rd, Yasmany Tomas smashed an 84 mph “fastball” to center field for his 5th homer of the year. Owings stepped up again, and repeated his 1st at-bat, driving a changeup DEEP down the line for his 2nd homer of the game, giving the D-backs a 4-1 lead. One they wouldn’t relinquish.
Goldschmidt got inning started in the 6th, going the opposite field for a leadoff single. Lamb grounded out, pushing Goldy to 2nd and Tomas doubled into the left field alley for the 5th run of the day.
Walker made his only mistake of the game in the top half of the 7th, hanging a 2 strike curveball to Ryan Schimpf to push the game into scary territory 5-2. But he settled down the rest of the way, getting Cordoba to ground out weakly and striking out the side in the 8th.
Luckily for our hearts’ sakes, the Padres gifted the D-backs a run with two wild pitches in the 8th to score Lamb after he singled, pushing us out of save territory 6-2.
J.J Hoover came on in quiet relief, getting 3 groundouts to close out the game and give the D-backs a 3-1 series win. Onto the GameGraphs.
MLB Draft - Taijuan Walker (+26.8%)
NBA Draft - Chris Owings (+19.8%)
NFL Draft - A.J Pollock (-6.9%)
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D-backs start a critical home series with the Rockies. A series win will separate themselves early in the NL West race. First pitch is at 6:40pm. Stop on by.