One more game, that’s all the Diamondbacks need to survive before getting to the break, giving the beleaguered pitching staff some much needed time off. Today, the injury bug bit Madison Bumgarner. The left-handed veteran tossed 3 1⁄3 scoreless innings, inducing plenty of groundballs and mostly making things look easy. Then on a 2-0 pitch to Luis Robert, Bumgarner landed awkwardly and was forced to leave the game. Robert flew out to Brandon Marsh in center. Braxton Garrett came on in relief and provided six more outs of scoreless baseball.
Alas, Kevin Ginkel did not have his stopper stuff today. Instead of making the White Sox look silly and inching the Diamondbacks an inning or so closer to victory, Ginkel had a rare slip. In the sixth inning, he gave up a single and a balk before Yasmani Grandal took him deep to right center for two runs. Ginkel also walked the first Chicago batter of the seventh inning, pinch-hitter Starling Marte, who later came around to score against James Sherfy.
Looking to give Will Smith the evening off, Vitual Lovullo then turned to Steve Cishek to face his former team. Instead of making a statement about how they would miss him, he demonstrated just why Chicago was eager to trade him. Things started out well enough. Cishek came into the game with Robert standing on first and no one out. Cishek induced a grounball double play to short and then recorded a strikeout to give the Diamondbacks a nice, tidy eighth inning. Then Cishek returned to the mound for the ninth. He started by hitting Leury Garcia with the first pitch. Jose Abreu followed with a single. Then Cishek managed a strikeout and a fly-out to center. The fly-out was a bit dicey for a moment, but Marsh made the catch on the warning track. That brought up Yoan Moncada. Moncada sent Cishek’s offering on a ride that probably required a passport, crushing a three-run home run home run both high and deep - 459 feet deep. That forced Virtual Lovullo to make one final call to the bullpen, calling in Archie Bradley to get the final out.
On the offensive side of things, the Diamondbacks found a bit more consistency. The Diamondbacks scored two in each of the first, third, fourth, and sixth innings. They also scored a single run in the fifth, though that run wound up costing them. After slapping a double, Yairo Munoz moved up to third on a long single by Jake Lamb that should probably have scored him. Munoz finally did score what eventually turned out to be the winning run on a double by Nick Ahmed (Ahmed’s 26th pre-break double). Once he crossed the plate, Munoz headed for the trainer’s room. In the postgame interview, Virtual Lovullo confirmed that Munoz sprained his ankle sliding into second when he hit his double.
Final Score: AZ 9 - CHW 6
The player of the game was Christian Walker. The first baseman had what has become an uncommonly good day at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a home run and a double. The double was part of Arizona’s two-run sixth which gave them some insurance to survive the eventual poor Cishek performance.
The Diamondbacks go for the sweep tomorrow, looking to go into the break on a winning note. It looks to be a battle of lefties as Robbie Ray will take the mound for Arizona, while Chicago will counter with Gio Gonzalez.