With most Phoenix/Arizona fans looking for solace as the Suns' legendary playoff run came to a brutal end, the Arizona Diamondbacks are finally rounding into form and welcoming all fans looking to escape. Just don’t look at their overall record.
Madison Bumgarner was making his second start since the long 6-week break from shoulder inflammation. His first start against the Cubs was great, and tonight was more of the same. The strikeouts weren’t there today like they were last Friday, as the Pirates got a lot of bat on the ball, but outside of the 4th and an error, MadBum did his job.
The 2nd inning saw the Pirates strike first, albeit by unconventional means. Gregory Polanco hit a single and stole second, and after the second out, Jared Oliva singled to right scoring Polanco for the first run of the game, 1-0.
The D-backs responded with a run of their own, getting a leadoff single from Pavin Smith, and after two groundouts moved Smith to 3rd, Bryan Holiday singled to center, tying things up at 1. The D-backs took their first lead of the game in the 3rd, much like Polanco, Rojas singled and stole 2nd, but Peralta doubled to right scoring Rojas and giving the D-backs a 2-1 lead.
But much like the D-backs in the 3rd, the teams traded blows in the 4th. Two singles sandwiched an out to put a runner in scoring position as Oliva stepped into the box.
Woof. What might’ve been an inning-ending double play from Escobar, turned into a two-run fielding error from Escobar. It wasn’t a terribly difficult play to make, but a grounder with lots of top-spin tends to do some tricky stuff if you play back on it. Fortunately for Escobar, the team responded right back.
Daulton Varsho and Nick Ahmed hit back to back doubles to get the first run back, and the bases became loaded after a HBP and walk to Bumgarner. A ground ball from Rojas led Ahmed to being out at home, but Kole Calhoun walked with the bases loaded to get the second run and take the lead right back 4-3. You might be wondering how the team escaped with only the 2 runs with the bases loaded, well weak grounders from Escobar and Peralta caused that.
The 5th was Bumgarner’s final inning, despite the clean inning. A one-out double from Bryan Reynolds looked like trouble, but he was caught stealing 3rd, and a fly out to Varsho ended the inning and day for Madison. He left with 79 pitches, 5 innings and 1 earned run (3 allowed). The Pirates definitely squared him up on this day, but overall you can’t ask for more from a reclamation project at this point.
The bullpens were relatively quiet for the most part, Tyler Clippard pitched a scoreless inning in his first appearance coming off the injured list, and while Joe Mantiply ran into trouble with three straight singles to open the 7th, Brett de Geus did his best to close the door. After a walk to start his outing, he got a ground ball double play to escape further damage and keep things tied at 4-4.
Luckily for him, the offense came ready to go as Smith and Varsho hit back-to-back homers to give us our final score 6-4.
But after that single run, the bullpen was perfect, with Noe Ramirez and Joakim Soria combining for 6-straight outs and the series sweep.
Big WPA winners were Pavin Smith, whose reached base safely 3 times including the tiebreaking homer equated to a .242 WPA. Nick Ahmed followed close behind, as he alos reached base safely three separate times for a .229 WPA. Here’s hoping his hot streak continues to the trade deadline.
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A decently lively GameThread, thanks for stopping by for the series sweep clinching game! The D-backs head to the Windy City for a 3-game series with the Cubs.