Luke Weaver did his best Robbie Ray impression on Sunday. The right-hander pitched six full innings, striking out seven Cubs but also walking four of them. However, he didn’t allow those walks to become much of an issue, scattering a measly three hits across those innings, resulting in only one run for the visiting Cubs.
A two-out double by Wilson Contreras was the only time the Cubs managed to get a runner beyond first through the first five innings of play. In fact, it was the only hit, to go along with two walks, that Weaver allowed through the front five. Then, in the sixth inning, the Cubs got a one-out double off the bat of Kris Bryant. Anthony Rizzo drew a walk on five pitches. This walk was more a case of a pitch around than anything else, though it seemed odd that Weaver chose not to attack Rizzo, having mostly coasted to this point in the game. Javier Baez then singled to center. Bryant scored, easily beating the thrown home from Locastro. Wilson Contreras then flew out to right. Jason Heyward followed with a walk which loaded the bases. Weaver responded to the pressure by striking out David Bote when Bote chased a fastball up in the zone. That brought an end to the Cubs half of the sixth and also to Weaver’s day. The sixth inning was the only inning in which he was not in dominating command of the game, allowing two of his three hits and two of his walks in that inning. As pointed out, one of those walks seemed almost like an unintentional intentional walk. Weaver left the game having thrown 101 pitches and holding tight to a one run lead.
As for the Diamondbacks, they were unable to get much of anything going until the fifth inning. Carson Kelly was first to bat for Arizona in the fifth. With the count 0-1, Kelly hit a solo shot 376 feet to left. Two outs later, Tim Locastro reached via walk. He advanced to second on a single to center by David Peralta. After falling behind 2-1 to Ketel Marte, Tyler Chatwood intentionally walked Marte to load the bases. This brought up Eduardo Escoabr with a chance to bust the game wide open. Escobar resonded with a swinging bunt which Chatwood fielded. Chatwood’s throw to Rizzo was shielded by Escbar as he hustled down the line. Rizzo misjudged the thrown and had it hit off his glove. Escobar was safe and Locastro scored on the play. Christian Walker then grounded into a 6-4 fielder’s choice to end the inning.
The Diamondbacks finally put the game away in the sixth inning. Kole Calhoun started things off by singling past Rizzo at first. On a 1-0 pitch to Carson Kelly, Contreras misplayed a curve and Calhoun took second on the passed ball. The Cubs elected to intentionally walk Kelly at that point, bringing up Nick Ahmed. The Cubs called upon Dillon Maples to come in and pitch. With the count 0-1, Maples found Contreras’ five-hole with a curve ball, allowing Clahoun and Kelly to each move up 90 feet. Ahmed was then given the free pass to first, creating a double play situation by loading the bases. At this point, the Snakes still only led by one run. Jake Lamb came to the plate, pinch-hitting for Weaver. He grounded a ball up the middle which almost went into center field. A slick play by Baez not only kept the ball on the infield, but managed to get Lamb at first base. Tim Locastro then did a Locastro thing and took a HBP on the very next pitch, once again loading the bases. David Peralta then smashed a groundball double at 108.1 mph past a diving Rizzo. The ball found its way to the right field corner, scoring Ahmed and Calhoun. Marte struck out swinging. Escobar singled to center. On the play, Peralta made for home but was gunned down on a nice play by center fielder Hernan Perez to end the inning.
The diamondbacks relief trio of Merrill Kelly, Junior Guerra, and Alex Young managed to hold the Cubs scoreless through the final three frames. The Diamondbacks threatened to score again in both the seventh and eighth innings, but could not push any further runners across.
Final Score: CHC 1 - AZ 6
The player of the game was easily Luke Weaver. His dominance of the Cubs’ lineup put the Diamondbacks in a position to win, even before the Cubs’ forgot how to pitch and catch. The Diamondbacks are off tomorrow. Their next game will be Monday in Washington to face the Nationals. Mike Leake (4-2, 4.11) will face off against Stephen Strasburg (1-0, 0.82)
The Diamondbacks are now 19-15 on the season, third place in the NL West.