Jake Lamb hit his first homerun since June 25th of last year, a two run shot that bounced off the yellow line and over the wall. It came on the 7th pitch of the at bat in the 6th inning with the game tied 1-1 and Adam Jones on first, giving the team a 3-1 lead. It may not have been a bomb, but it must have felt like a 500 footer to get that monkey off his back
Earlier in the game Jake had an 8 pitch walk in the 2nd that was key in setting up his timing. As Torey Lovullo said , “I could just tell after that at bat he was locked in ”
Jake also had a base hit off left handed reliever Jake McGee in the 7th, and earlier made a productive out in the 4th, flying out to deep right field to move up Adam Jones to 3rd. Jones later scored on a base hit by Robbie Ray. That RBI knock by Ray was the Dbacks first hit with a runner in scoring position after 8 previous fails.
Ray for his part piched a much better game than his line might suggest. He went 6 innings on 93 pitches, giving up one run on two hits, including a solo homer to Daniel Murphy in the 2nd inning. Ray walked five batters, one intentionally, and struck out eight. Seeing the five walks in the line might make someone feel , “oh, another Robbie Ray outing”. But it never actually felt like that. Other than the one intentional walk, he was squeezed on a good pitch on the corner that should have struck out Murphy. The other three walks were spread out and Robbie limited the damage and did so efficiently. In fact he threw first pitch strikes to 14 of the first 17 batters he faced.
He had one moment in the 5th where he was able to pick up his teammates. Ketel Marte sliced in front of Tim Locastro on what would have been a can of corn for the left fielder. But for some reason Marte chose that moment to go Kelly Leak and try to take the ball. He never got a glove on and it dropped in, being scored a double for Charlie Blackmon. But it was a clear misplay. Marte has not made many, but when he does, it seems like it’s always on balls in front of him.
Ray proceeded to strike out Trevor story, and after intentionally walking Nolan Arenado, got David Dahl to ground out to Nick Ahmed and end the Rockies threat and preserve the 1-1 tie that Lamb later broke.
Carson Kelly also had another RBI base hit, driving in Nick Ahmed who had singled after the Lamb homer.
There was some bullpen drama late in the game of course. After Andrew Chafin worked a lock down 7th, Yoan Lopez came in to work the 8th He put a 96 MPH fastball out over the plate at the top of the zone and Trevor Story blasted it 424 feet off the center field batter’s eye, making the score 4-2. He struck out Arenado and Dahl, and got Desmond to fly out to right to end the inning with no further damage.
In the 9th, beleaguered closer Greg Holland came in to get the save. As highlighted in the game preview, Holland had been having a lot of trouble with his slider lately, losing velocity and not throwing it for strikes. Torey said the coaches were working with him, but it seems the solution, at least for tonight, was to essentially eliminate the pitch as he only threw 2 of them among his 20 pitches thrown. 20 pitches you say ? Yes. Daniel Murphy singled to lead things off. But Raimel Tapia hit a ground ball down to Christian Walker who started a flawless 3-6-1 double play. Tony Wolters then followed with an 8 pitch at bat before roping a line drive to center field. Ryan McMahon then had a 7 pitch at bat with the tension mounting before finally striking out to end the game.
With the victory, the Diamondbacks even their record at 45-45, and with two games in hand are technically ahead of the Rockies for 2nd place in the NL West, and more importantly , just two games out of the wild card.
The Dbacks will go for the series sweep tomorrow at 1:10 P.M. Rookie left hander Alex Young will take the ball for the 2nd start of his career, going against German Marquez.
Positive WPA: Jake Lamb. +25.2%, Robbie Ray +22.7%, Greg Holland 7.3%
Negative WPA: Ketel Marte -9.7%, Eduardo Escobar -9.4%
Exercising editorial license I am awarding co winners for COTN to AZPerson and Michael McDermott for the following exchange, due to the importance of Ray’s clutch performance in the 5th: