The Diamondbacks played their best game of the year so far, defeating the Reds and improving their record to 3-6.
Tim Locastro had 4 hits and set a major league record stolen base record. Riley Smith got the start, allowing just 2 runs in 6 efficient innings. Asdrubal Cabrera homered and drew two walks, Stephen Vogt had a big two out hit in a 5 run 5th. Eduardo Escobar homered for the 3rd straight game.
The game started with a very efficient first inning from Smith, retiring the side in order on 12 piches. Locastro reached base on a single leading off the bottom half but got picked off for his 3rd out on base this season. His night would improve markedly however.
The Reds plated two runs off Smith in 2nd. Eugenio Suarez walked to lead off the inning and Mike Moustakas doubled into the right field corner. Nick Senzel singled home Suarez but was also picked off first. Jonathan India singled to drive in Moustakas and the Reds had a 2-0 lead.
Prior to this game the D-backs had been outscored 28-4 in the first four innings of their games and it looked like we were headed for more of the same. In fact the D-backs stranded two runners in both the 2nd and 3rd inning. But Asdrubal Cabrera got them on the board in the 4th with this:
Meanwhile Smith had a bounce back 3rd inning, retiring the side on 7 pitches
Locastro singled again in the 3rd, this time on an infield hit to the hole between 3rd and short, beating the throw. He recorded 31.1 ft. per second on the play, even better than his average from last year.
Smith worked around baserunners in both the 4th and 5th, but continued pounding the strike zone and didn’t allow any to score.
A small but important thing occurred in the bottom of the 4th with two outs . Stephen Vogt, batting in the 8th spot in the order drew a walk, allowing Smith to come to the plate and turn over the lineup. I made a note at the time just in case it came into play in the 5th.
Right on cue Locastro lead off the 5th with a line single into center. One out later Christian Walker hit a ball to the hole between short and 3rd and Suarez tried to get Locastro at 2nd but he was called safe. As Hacks accurately observed :
Earlier in the game, Locastro beat out a hit for himself. Just then, he beat out a single for Walker
That ended Reds starter Jeff Hoffman’s night with 2 on and one out. The Reds brought in lefty reliever Cionel Perez to face David Peralta. Freight Train hit a high chopper to India at 2nd that allowed Walker to just beat the toss to second on the fielders choice attempt, loading the bases for Cabrera. Cabrera drew a 4 pitch walk, (his 8th of the year) bringing home Locastro and tying the game up at 2-2
Eduardo Escobar followed with a sharply hit grounder up the middle. India back handed the ball and tried the shovel pass but wasn’t able to make the play. Walker scored giving the D-backs a 3-2 lead. Ahmed popped out with the bases still loaded. But Stephen Vogt had a long grinding at bat, fouling off pitch after pitch before hitting single into centerfield, clearing the bases:
The 5 run inning gave the D-backs a 6-2 lead and allowed Riley Smith to stay in the game for one more inning. He gave up two more hits, but stranded those as well. His final line was
6 IP, 82 Pitches, 2 ER, 8 hits, 1 Walk, 2 K’s, He induced 8 groundouts and a double play
Locastro had another infield hit in 6th, his 4th of the game. He then stole 2nd, his 28th consecutive stolen base to start a career. This broke Tim Raines record. After the game it was revealed that Cooperstown had called to ask for the spikes that he wore tonight. Said Locastro:
“That is confirmed. I’m giving them to him. I actually paid to get them painted and I wore them for two games but I mean, it’s all worth it.”
“Obviously you always want to get into Cooperstown. That’s what you dream about as a kid — winning the World Series and getting into Cooperstown. So, having my cleats there, that’s unfathomable to me.”
He mentioned last off season a lot of people started mentioning it and then after he tied it he started thinking about it a little too much and was trying to force things on the bases a little. He’s happy that he can calm down a little bit more and help the team going forward.
After the game manager Torey Lovullo was asked who Locastro reminded him of as a player. After thinking about it a bit, he came up with Deion Sanders.
“Somebody who I always admired was Deion Sanders who just had this electricity to him whenever he got going. I think he and Timmy fall in the same category for me. They’re just wiry and fast . You can’t quite feel the impact of their speed unless you are standing right next to them, it’s very impressive.”
I thought that was a really interesting comparison.
Tim advanced to 3rd on a wild pitch and scored on a Christian Walker sac fly. This is exactly the type of game you hope to get from him when leading off.
Eduardo Escobar homered in the 7th, the 3rd straight game he’s done that, making the score 8-2.
The Reds got one back in the 8th on a homer by Eugenio Suarez off of reliever Taylor Clarke. to get to the final score of 8-3. Clarke actually looked good in his two innings despite that. Already leading the team with a 73% strike percentage, he was undeterred and poured in the strikes with his mid 90’s fastball and slider. He threw 20 of 28 pitches for strikes. The homer and a double by Naquin were on pitches down and on the black.
Yoan Lopez finished off a scoreless 9th despite allowing a leadoff double.
In all it was just what the team needed. Good pitching, good defense, timely hitting and some power.
Torey Lovullo audio
Asdrubal Cabrera +28%, Euduardo Escobar +17%, Tim Locastro and Christian Walker +8%
Recently returned Kole Calhoun and Nick Ahmed brought up the rear with -11% and -7% WPA, but their presence and defense were felt regardless
A lightly attended game thread tonight
AzDbackfanInDc, Diamondhacks, GuruB, Jack Sommers, Jim McLennan, Keegan Thompson, Makakilo, Michael McDermott, QCCardsFan, Schilling2001, Snake_Bitten, edbigghead, gzimmerm, makattack71, redsedona, since_98
COTD to gzimmerm for a quality story