Today was a rare pizza experience at the ballgame. Pizza while watching a game on the telly? All the time. But pizza at the game? Almost never. It’s a good thing this game started off with little to speak about since my toppings tried to slide out when I folded my slice over, making a mes that distracted me from catching some of the finer details.
It always feels odd to me when a game has a rare 5:10 start. It’s too late to be an afternoon matinee, but it is too early to be an evening game. But, that’s the start time we got for the face-off between Zac Gallen and Mike Foltynewicz. Both pitchers brought their A-game today, resulting in a “brisk” game that would have made Rob Manfred happy.
Both teams went three, up three down.
ATL 0 - AZ 0
Atlanta failed to get a base runner for a second inning.
A oair of two-out singles by Kole Calhoun and Carson Kelly provided a bit of action, but the inning ended when Ahmed grounded into a fielder’s choice at short to end the inning.
ATL 0 - AZ 0
Adieny Hechavarria slapped a one-out single to give Atlanta their first base runner of the evening. That brought up Folty, who sacrificed him over to second. Ender Inciarte then continued to be a thorn in Arizona’s side, drawing a walk. That brought up Ozzie Albies, who flew out to right field to end the top of the third.
Zac Gallen led off the Arizona half of the third by weakly grounding out. This was followed by Starling Marte stroking a double to the gap in right center. This brought up David Peralta. Peralta swatted a 1-0 pitch into the right field corner for a triple, bringing home Marte. This brought up the other Marte, Ketel. He drew a seven-pitch walk, but that was the last of the excitement for Arizona in the inning.
ATL 0 - AZ 1
Gallen took the mound with some swagger. He was in a groove. Atlanta once again went down in order.
With one out in the inning, Carson Kelly tattooed a 1-2 pitch from Foltynewicz, hitting an exit velocity of 106.8 mph. Unfortunately, it was on a line and slammed off the back wall in center. Kelly was in safe at second with a double. Ahmed followed this up with a soft, low liner to left for a single. Kelly never slowed down as he rounded third and he beat Ozuna’s throw home by a good 10 feet. Unfortunately, Ahmed did not take second on the throw home. This brought up Gallen. Once again, Gallen topped a weak grounder on the infield, this one rolling slowly towards third. Camargo, with plenty of time to get Gallen at first threw the ball away. The error allowed Ahmed to take third on the play. With runners on the corners and speed at third, Virtual Lovullo put the contact play on. So, even though Starling Marte smacked a ground ball to third, Ahmed was almost home before Camargo even fielded the ball. This left him with only one play, getting Marte at first. Peralta ended the inning by popping out to Freeman at first.
ATL 0 - AZ 3
Gallen was really starting to feel it, and it showed. That’s right, another three up, three down inning for the Braves.
Not to let the Braves feel lonely, the Diamondbacks went in order as well.
ATL 0 - AZ 3
It should have been another 1-2-3 inning for Gallen, but a rare throwing error by Ahmed allowed Ender Inciarte (really, Inciarte again?) to reach safely. No worries though. Gallen picked him up by getting the next two.
Kalhoun managed a base on balls, but he was erased by Kelly grounding into a double play. Ahmed then singled, clearing the pitcher, Gallen, who was allowed to hit for himself. He struck out
ATL 0 - AZ 3
Two quick outs by the Braves brought up Marcel Ozuna. Ozuna proceeded to, somehow, split the gap in left center despite the hit being something of a soft liner. Still, it managed to reach the warning track, allowing Ozuna to cruise into second. Tyler Flowers followed and was plunked by Gallen, putting runners on first and second. That brought up Hechavarria, who grounded out to Marte at second to take us into the stretch.
Beer. I need more beer before they close up the stands.
Beer in hand, I got back to my seat just in time to see Folty walking off the mound, having needed only seven pitches to retire the Diamondbacks in order.
ATL 0 - AZ 3
Virtual Lovullo sent Gallen back out for the eighth inning. Austin Riley led things off, pinch-hitting for Foltynewicz. Gallen promptly struck him out. That brought up
Ty Cobb Ender Inciarte. With the count 0-1, Inciarte deposited the ball in the pool area, some 407 feet away. That brought an end to Zac Gallen’s night. Andrew Chafin came on (again) and made quick work of Albies and Freeman.
Chris Martin took the mound in relief for Atlanta. He promptly walked the first batter he faced, Eduardo Escobar. A single by Christian Walke sent Escobar to second. Calhoun then flew out to right center, deep enough that Escobar was able to tag up, taking third. Carson Kelly then singled, scoring Calhoun while Dave McKay’s coaching continued to pay off, with Walker taking third on the play despite there being no throw home. That brought an end to Martin’s night as the Braves turned the ball over to A.J. Minter. Nick Ahmed was next up. He got good wood on the pitch and hit it on a line, but unfortunately it was right at Albies at second, hanging Kelly out to dry for an easy 4-3 double play to end the inning.
ATL 4 - AZ 1
Virtual Lovullo made the intersting choice to send Chafin back out to pitch the ninth. The decision worked out just fine though, as once again Atlanta went down in order to end the game.
Final score: ATL 1 - AZ 4
The player of the game was Zac Gallen, who seemed to be in complete control from the very beginning. It would have been nice to see if he could close out his final inning, but I fully agree with pulling him when Virtual Lovullo did.