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Diamondbacks 7, San Diego 6: It Doesn’t Have to Be Pretty

Zac Gallen melted down in the fifth, but we somehow managed to scratch out an ugly walk-off win.

San Diego Padres v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Here’s the tl;dr, courtesy of Oldenschoole:

Full disclosure: I actually stopped watching the game after the sixth inning, and started to write up this recap. I only got as far as the title and the tag line (“Total Eclipse of the Start” and “Every now and then Zac falls apart,” respectively). I kept an eye on the MLB Gameday, and also on the SnakePit Gameday Thread, but I figured I’d just get ahead of it a bit. But no, the Diamondbacks, with some serious help from questionable decisions from whoever makes San Diego’s decisions on pitching changes and whatnot, managed to climb back into this one in the third act. I honestly figured it would be just like the last two weeks, when our Tuesday night games wound up going to extras, and our bullpen melted down like they often seem to do, and I figured we would be done in once again by the dreaded Manfred Man.

Happily, my pessimism was misplaced tonight. I dunno....third time’s the charm, maybe?


Let’s just speed through the first big chunk of the game, because there’s nothing much to tell. Zac Gallen and Sean Manaea (and his exuberant hair) faced off again tonight, in basically a replay of last Tuesday’s game. And like last Tuesday’s game, it looked like it was going to be another pitchers’ duel, with the Diamondbacks offense able to do nothing meaningful against Manaea and Gallen being his mostly effective and efficient self. This was how it went, for the first four innings.

Each starter put up zeroes through the first four innings. Gallen surrendered a one-out single in the second, and a two-out single in the fourth, but had no trouble pitching around that minimal traffic. Through four innings, he threw only 59 pitches. Manaea, meanwhile, continued to own our lineup, though we did hang some admirably long ABs against him. Through four innings, we only managed a walk and an infield hit, but Jordan Luplow hung a seven-pitch AB on Manaea to lead off the game, Ketel Marte drew a seven-pitch walk later in the inning, Buddy Kennedy saw eight pitches in his first AB of the night, and Josh Rojas recorded the final out of the Diamondbacks third by striking out swinging at the end of a twelve-pitch battle. Manaea, through four, was already at 73 pitches, and it seemed plausible that he’d be gone long before Zac Gallen had to exit the game.

But, yeah, not so much, as it turned out. The wheels basically popped off the Gallen Milk Express Bus as soon as the fifth inning rolled around. Gallen wound up surrendering six runs in the inning, after letting the four batters at the bottom of the Padres’ lineup reach before finally recording his first out. San Diego DH Luke Voit singled to center on the first pitch he saw, and three pitches later Nomar Mazara, the stand-in for Wil Myers while he’s on the Padres’ IL, launched a ball over the fence in right. A double followed, and a bunt single after that, and then a groundout to first that scored a run. Gallen then issued two walks, loading the bases, before surrendering a bases-clearing double to right to Jorge Alfaro, whose name you might recall from last Tuesday’s recap. Gallen did manage to record the final two outs, but the Padres had put a severely crooked number on the board, and basically ending his night by sending his pitch count from 59 to 94 in the span of one long, painful inning. 6-0 San Diego

Meanwhile, our offense continued to do nothing in the fifth or the sixth. Jake Hager reached for the second time in the ball game, drawing an eight-pitch walk to lead off the bottom of the sixth, but TOOTBLANned himself into getting picked off first for the final out of the inning. Manaea was still in the game, though he was up at 98 pitches now.

Caleb Smith took the ball from Gallen to pitch the sixth (and the seventh, and the eighth, as it turned out), and did a nice job sitting down the bottom of the Padres’ lineup in order. And here’s where it gets kinda weird.

Sean Manaea has thrown more than 100 pitches on several occasions, as the inimitable Jack Sommers noted in the Gameday Thread. In fact, he’s done it three times this season, with his highest pitch count before tonight clocking in at 110 pitches, per Jack. He was at 98 pitches after six innings of work, and to be fair he’d only given up one hit and a couple of walks, and that hit hadn’t even left the infield. Nevertheless, 98 pitches is getting up there. Nevertheless, Padres manager and former Diamondbacks skipper Bob Melvin sent Manaea out for the seventh, with a remarkably long leash.

Ketel Marte led off the bottom of the seventh with a single to left. Christian Walker then walked on five pitches, bringing Manaea’s pitch count to 108. Buddy Kennedy then doubled to left, plating Marte and Walker:

Carson Kelly then doubled to left, plating Kennedy. Daulton Varsho made a productive first out of the inning with a grounder to first that advanced Kelly to third. Alek Thomas made another productive out, grounding to second and allowing Kelly to score. Jake Hager than singled to left, which finally (!) earned Manaea the hook, with his pitch count now at 112 pitches. Luis Garcia, he of the 100+ mph sinkerballs, came on and retired pinch-hitter David Peralta on one pitch, but all of a sudden it was a game again. 6-4 San Diego

Caleb Smith, meanwhile, did what he continues to do best, which is to pitch long relief, and put up a third zero to keep the game close. With Urias back on the mound for San Diego, Josh Rojas led off the bottom of the eighth with a single to left, which was actually the only hit we’d manage to put up in the inning. Turns out it didn’t matter. Urias then proceeded to walk Marte and Christian Walker in rapid succession, loading the bases with nobody out. And yet he remained on the mound for another batter, Buddy Kennedy. Urias, who had completely lost control of his pitches (if not his velocity) drilled Kennedy in the arm with a 103mph “sinkerball,” and finally got yanked, with one run already across and still no outs in the inning, for San Diego’s closer, Taylor Rogers. Rogers immediately plunked Carson Kelly with a slider that grazed Kelly’s foot, but brought in the tying run. And yes, there is Twitter video clip of this “offense highlight,” I kid you not. Here it is. You’re welcome.

We failed to do any more after that, though, sadly, as Rogers got out of further trouble with a somewhat weird 4-2-6 double play, and struck out Alek Thomas, but we were going to the ninth and it was, as they say, a whole new ballgame. 6-6 TIE

Much to the chagrin of many of us in the Gameday Thread, Mark Melancon took the ball from Smith for the top of the ninth, but despite a giving up a leadoff walk and then uncorking a wild pitch that advanced the runner to second, put up a zero of his own. Good job, Mark!

And that brings us to the bottom of the ninth, with Taylor Rogers out for his second inning of work. He struck out Jake Hager and David Peralta to start things off, so it was looking increasingly like we would be going to extras, Happily, however, Josh Rojas hit a single to right, and Ketel Marte followed with a single to shallow center that only allowed Rojas to advance to second base. That ultimately didn’t matter, though, as Christian Walker hit a slow grounder to first that Eric Hosmer, the Padres’ first baseman, had to come in to make a play on. Hosmer fell down a little, and with two outs he elected to throw to second base to try to force Marte there. Marte, however, beat the throw and gently collided with the fielder, knocking the ball loose. Rojas, who had been streaking toward third as soon as the ball was in play, scored without a throw, giving Christian Walker his first-ever walkoff honors for his....fielder’s choice?

Whatever. It wasn’t pretty in just about any aspect, but hey, a win is a win. We’ll take it. 7-6 D-BACKS FINAL

Win Probability Added, courtesy of FanGraphs

Striker the Samoyed: Christian Walker (3 AB, 0 H, 2 BB, 1 RBI, +51.8% WPA)
WInston the Bulldog: Buddy Kennedy (3 AB, 1 H, 1 R, 3 RBI, +21.5% WPA), Carson Kelly (3 AB, 1 H, 1 HBP, 2 RBI, +21.2% WPA)
Hollywood the Maltese: Daulton Varsho (4 AB, 0 R, 0 H, 0 RBI, -31.4% WPA), Zac Gallen (5 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 1 HR, 6 ER, -23.5% WPA)

It was actually a pretty desultory and demoralized Gameday Thread for most of the game, understandably, but it did pick up there at the end, to the point where there are now 210 (!!!) comments in it at time of writing. Only one has gone Sedona Red, and despite the possible appearance that I’m sucking up to management, I’ve got to grant the CotG to our Fearless Leader, who indulged in some gleeful schadenfreude in reaction to the Padres’ SBNation blog trolling us last week:

So join us tomorrow, and bring your tiny whiskbrooms, as we see if we can’t manage a sweep of this tiny two-game series with the Padres. It’s a day game, with first pitch scheduled for 12:40pm AZ time. Madison Bumgarner takes the hill for us, the slow and ponderous Mike Clevinger pitches for San Diego. Hope you can join us!

As always, thanks for reading, and as always, go Diamondbacks!