One can be forgiven for thinking here we go again as tonights game progressed through the first three innings. The much-maligned Diamondbacks offense has been at their worst early in games and tonight was no exception. Facing Padres ace Chris Paddack, they went hitless through the first three frame, with just two baserunners courtesy of a walk and an error. The D-backs have scored just 7 runs and hit .150 with 1 homer in innings 1-3 on the season, worst in the majors.
Meanwhile the Padres jumped out to a 1-0 lead on yet another leadoff homerun from Fernando Tatis Jr. off starter Merrill Kelly. Manny Machado followed with a one out double, but was stranded when Kelly induced two groundouts to end the first. After working a 1-2-3 second inning Kelly was in trouble again in the 3rd, surrendering a double to DH Greg Garcia and a base hit to Tatis. Garcia had to hold at 3rd however, failing to score on the hit. Kelly then got Trent Grisham swinging, and in what turned out to be a big momentum shift at that point of the game this happened:
Turn it!— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) August 9, 2020
Merrill Kelly gets the double play to escape the jam! pic.twitter.com/twByAauGWP
In the top of the 4th the DBacks scratched out a run. Starling Marte lead off with a double, moved to 3rd on a David Peralta groundout, and scored on a Stepen Vogt sac fly to right. It wasn’t a crooked number, but it was good execution and set the tone that DBacks were going to fight in this game.
Kelly was almost flawless through the middle innings, as he ran his streak of retired batters to 9 before giving up a one out single in the 6th to Grisham. But Machado promptly hit into a 6-4-3 double play, his second of the game, to end the inning.
There was a scary moment for Stephen Vogt in the bottom of the 5th with Austin Hedges batting. Vogt took a foul tip direct to the facemask and Hedges’ backswing also clipped Vogt in the back of the head. The trainer came out with Torey but Vogt thankfully stayed in the game. After the game Vogt said he never thought about coming out of the game, and being the back up it’s his day and he wasn’t going to come out.
In their half of the 6th, the Dbacks patient approach finally paid off. Having Driven Paddack’s pitch count into the 80’s, Starling Marte and Vogt both hit solo homers in the inning, chasing Paddack from the game. The two homers were mirror images of each other, a line drive to left for Starling and a line drive to right for Vogt. Marte has been everything we hoped for and more in this young season and it’s great to see his success.
Starling Marte's first homer as a Diamondback! ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/MaEr5HaDOB— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) August 9, 2020
Now it's Stephen Vogt's turn!— FOX Sports Arizona (@FOXSPORTSAZ) August 9, 2020
His first homer gives the Diamondbacks a 3-1 lead! pic.twitter.com/61S4JSQFYw
Tommy Pham reached base on a dribbler fielded by Vogt to start the 7th. Originally called out, the play was overturned on review. That ended Kelly’s night with only 84 pitches thrown. He left with an excellent line of 6 IP, 6 Hits, 1 run on the solo homer, 0 walks and 4 K’s.
Torey Lovullo turned to lefty Andrew Chafin to face Eric Hosmer. He got Hosmer to fly out, but then had to face the righty Wil Myers thanks to the 3 batter rule. Myers came in 5 for 6 with two homers against Chafin in his career. Not the ideal matchup. But Chafin came through, getting Myers looking on a fastball on the inside corner. He struck out pinch hitter Jurickson Profar to end the inning with a job well done.
After a quick 1-2-3 top half of the 8th on offense, reliever Hector Rondon came on for the Diamondbacks. He got two quick outs but made a mistake leaving a fastball up to Tatis, who once again hammered the ball out of the ballpark for his 7th homerun of the year. The guy is incredible. How many years are we going to have to face him? If the Padres were smart they would just lock him up for the next 12-13 years.
Grisham hit a rocket down the first base line but Christian Walker made a gold glove caliber snag to rescue Rondon and end the inning. The team has to be concerned with Rondon, who has been getting hit very hard so far.
The DBacks went 3 up three down again in their half of the 9th, including Jon Jay’s 3rd strikeout of the night to end the inning.
Archie Bradley came on to close it out. It was not the smoothest save, as he issued a one out walk to Tommy Pham, missing badly with the fastball. Eric Hosmer flew out to deep right, bringing up Wil Myers, who flew out to shallow left.
The good guys won. A great start from Kelly, good execution and some timely homers, good defense, and good bullpen work, save the Rondon fatty to Tatis. These are the games they have to to win, and they did it, improving their record to 6-9
They will go for the series victory tomorrow at 1:10 P.M. when Madison Bumgarner will face Dinelson Lamet.
Clutch WPA Performers:
Starling Marte +.20, Archie Bradley +.16, Merrill Kelly + .15, Andrew Chafin +.15
Need to pick it up:
Eduardo Escobar. -.08, Jon Jay -.08, Jake Lamb -.06, Nick Ahmed -.06
Roll Call: Surprised this was not a better attended game on the Pit. Saturday night, close well played game......but thanks to all that did come and discuss the game. Your WPA is + 1.00. :)
Clear cut victory for COTD tonight
It turned out to be a victory in every sense. ;)