Another Tyler Gilbert start you say? Sign me up! It would be foolish to expect another no hitter, but the D’backs would need the southpaw to get the team back on the right track to avoid a series sweep. However, through three innings he was even better than a no hitter. Dare I say, perfect? That’s right. Gilbert retired the first nine Pittsburgh Pirates he faced in order needing only twenty six pitches to do so.
First time through the Pirates order he was cruising leaving fans hoping for magic again, and he was earning outs every which way with three strikeouts, three ground outs, and three fly outs.
Unfortunately, the perfect game bid was broken up with one out in the bottom of the fourth, and Gilbert had to put in far more effort from that point forward. Ke’Bryan Hayes jumped on a first pitch cutter down the heart of the plate for a double off of the right field wall. Hayes advanced to third on a passed ball by Daulton Varsho behind the plate. Bryan Reynolds hit a harmless tapper in front of Varsho at home plate. Varsho, seeing that Hayes had advanced slightly too far at third base, threw to third instead of first. The only problem was that his throw was slightly off line pulling Drew Ellis off the bag resulting in no out on the play. It may have been a better decision to look Hayes back to the bag and get the sure out at first base, but what do I know. With runners on first and third with one out, Reynolds stole second base, and Yoshi Tsutsugo walked to load the bases. Jacob Stallings hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Hayes and give Pittsburgh the first run of the game. Pavin Smith’s throw to home from right field was close because Hayes was further off the bag again, had to run back to tag up, yet still made it home despite a strong throw.
Gilbert followed his twenty four pitch fourth with a thirty pitch fifth inning. Two thirds of his pitches on the evening were in those two innings alone despite the dominance through the first three. Gregor Polanco began the fifth with a leadoff double to right field. Colin Moran drew a one out walk following a strikeout. Michael Chavis, just acquired from the Boston Red Sox at the trade deadline, singled home Polanco to put the Pirates up 2-to-0. Gilbert walked the bases loaded with two outs, but escaped further damage by getting Tsutsugo to fly out. With that came the end of his outing and a final line of two earned runs on three hits, three walks, and four strikeouts on eighty pitches.
Meanwhile, the Arizona offense could not break through until Pittsburgh starter Bryse Wilson was chased from the game. Through the first five innings the had only four baserunners on two walks and two singles. Pittsburgh lifted Wilson after only seventy four pitches by pinch hitting for him in the bottom of the fifth. Nick Mears came in from the bullpen, but he and former D’back Anthony Banda could not maintain the lead. Mears faced only the minimum three batters surrendering a solo home run to Pavin Smith and a walk to Christian Walker, his third in three at bats. Banda got the second out of the inning on the first batter he faced bringing up the lefty on lefty matchup against David Peralta. David singled to right field, and had it been fielded cleanly would have kept Christian at second base. However, the ball rolled under Polanco’s glove allowing Walker to score to tie the game at two.
Arizona’s bullpen took over in the sixth and held Pittsburgh scoreless over the remainder of the game. Banda stayed in for the seventh inning. Carson Kelly hit a one out pinch hit home run that inning putting Arizona up by one run. They added to their lead in the top of the eighth against Kyle Keller. Pavin walked to start the frame, and Josh VanMeter advanced him to second with a one out single. Once again it was David Peralta providing the offense with a two run double that split the left field gap for a 5-to-2 lead that would be the final result.
Taylor Clarke and Tyler Clippard did not pitch a clean eighth or ninth, respectively, unlike their teammate J.B. Wendelken who got three outs on seven pitches in the seventh inning. Clarke surrendered two back to back one out singles, and had to hand it off to Joe Mantiply to complete the eighth. Clippard at least finished the ninth on his own although he did give up a leadoff double.
With the victory, Arizona is 2-4 on this ten game road trip that concludes with four in the city of brotherly love against the Philadelphia Phillies who were just swept at Chase Field not too long ago. If you’re interested, the Baltimore Orioles snapped their nineteen game losing streak with a victory against Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels, so no ground gained(?) in the race(?) for the 2022 first round draft pick.
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Although there were no Sedona Red comments, not entirely surprising given the lack of participants and activity, I’m gonna go with the above for CoTD. I mean usually my eyes are bleeding without wielding a knife while watching the D’backs this season. But I must say that I would not mind seeing a few more Tyler Gilbert starts. See you next week, friends.