Neither starter had a great game Friday evening. It isn’t so much that either one of them was particularly bad, as much as it is a matter of both starters struggling to put up the mediocre numbers they eventually left the game with. For the Diamondbacks, that effort by Zac Gallen was still enough to provide the Snakes’ offense with an opportunity to win the game. Despite recent struggles with the lineup, the team proved up to the task. It should be noted that Virtual Torey Lovullo leaned heavily on a ‘B’- lineup for this game. He seemed to have pulled the right lever at the right time.
Arizona struck first in this game. With one away in the second inning, Kevin Cron crushed a solo-shot to straight away center field. Jake Lamb followed with a four-pitch walk. Stephen Vogt then doubled, bringing home a Lamb, who managed to score without even drawing a throw from the left fielder. Ben Gamel then singled to center. With two outs in the inning, Holt was running hard on contact and went first to third on the play.
The Diamondbacks added to their lead in the third. With one out, Ildemaro Vargas walked. With Ketel Marte batting, Vargas stole second. Marte then singled to put runners on the corners. Kole Calhoun was unable to bring Vargas home, flying out to shallow right. Kevin Cron then singled to left, which did bring Vargas home. The Diamondbacks added another single tally in the fourth. This came courtesy of a Vogt home run on the first pitch of the inning.
The Brewers responded in the fourth inning with a solo home run by Christian Yelich. Then they scored again in the fifth by piecing together hits and productive outs. Through five innings, Gallen allowed two runs on three hits, a walk, and a stolen base. The Brewers were making their few runners count, while Gallen was having trouble putting batters away with two strikes.
The game was mostly decided in the sixth inning. Jake Lamb walked again to start things off. Then, with one out, Lamb advanced to second on a single by Nick Ahmed. Gallen then sacrificed both runners over, bringing David Peralta to the plate. The Brewers wanted no part of facing Peralta in that situation, so they gave him the intentional walk, loading the bases for Vargas. Vargas then did what a batter is supposed to do when the opposition walks the batter in front of them on purpose. He made the Brewers pay. On the first pitch Vargas saw, he hit a line drive through the gap in left center which hit off the bottom of the wall, thanks to the 104.4 mph exit velocity. Lamb and Ahmed both scored easily. Peralta challenged the arm of Yelich after Yelich made a fine play on the carom. Peralta beat the throw while Vargas took the opportunity to move up to third on the throw home. Marte then singled past a diving Eric Sogard at third, bringing home Vargas.
After the Diamondbacks put up a four-spot in the top of the inning, Gallen went back out to the mound in the sixth, looking to stick a fork in the Brewers. After making quick work of Avisail Garcia with an easy fly to left, Gallen walked the next two batters, Yelich and Justin Smoak, on nine pitches. This brought Virtual Lovullo out from the dugout to make a pitching change. He turned the ball over to Junior Guerra to face Luis Urias. Guerra got ahead of Uria 0-2, but could not put him away. Instead, three pitches later, Urias hit a three-run bomb. Omar Narvaez then flew out to left. Guerra then walked Brock Holt. Ben Gamel then hit a single to center. With two outs, Holt was running hard on contact. He managed to go first to third on the play, sliding in safe ahead of Marte’s throw. Finally, Guerra got out of the inning by getting Keston Hiura to ground into a fielder’s choice.
Neither team scored the rest of the way. Although, the Brewers created a bit of excitement without a hit in a sloppy performance by the Snakes in the ninth. The inning started off with Holt reaching safely via Nick Ahmed committing his seventh error of the season when he was unable to make a clean transition from his glove (yeah right). A wild pitch and a productive groundout put Holt at third, even though the ball had yet to leave the infield. Kevin Ginkel did not allow any of this to rattle him though, He closed out the game and picked up the save.
Player of the game honors eventually went to Zac Gallen, more as a result from being the player who toughed things out the most in the game. The three hits and three walks allowed were not bad, but the Brewers made sure to take advantage of them. On nearly any other day though, Gallen’s final line looks much better. This was just a day of sequencing working against him.
The same two teams will be at it again tomorrow. Luke Weaver is expected to pitch for Arizona. Milwaukee is expected to counter with Brandon Woodruff.
At 22-16, the Diamondbacks have gained ground on the Giants, but remain in third place in the NL West.