So it was fifth starter roulette again tonight for our Arizona Diamondbacks, and for good or ill we wound up with lefty Tyler Gilbert, he of last year’s flash-in-the-pan no-hitter, taking the mound for us, facing off against Giants lefty and familiar foe Alex Wood. I wasn’t expecting good things from Gilbert, honestly—after two decent starts in April, he was utterly wretched in a start in May, and another last month, and has been spending the in-between times hanging out in Reno.
And....actually, Gilbert wasn’t bad tonight, all things considered. He gave up a single to the first batter he faced to begin the game, and walked the first batter he faced in the top of the third, but thanks to some timely and mildly wacky double play action, he managed to get through three innings without allowing a run and having only faced the minimum nine batters. So that was nice.
Meanwhile, our offense was, as I at least have come to expect, disappointing. Jordan Luplow, Cooper Hummel, and Ketel Marte were at the top of tonight’s batting order, and Wood retired them disturbingly quickly, needing only six (!!!) pitches to record all three outs. Christian Walker lined a double down the left field line to start the bottom of the second, but was erased on a TOOTBLAN-like fielder’s choice one out later, as Carson Kelly grounded back to the mound and Wood caught Walker in between second and third. Kelly reached first, while Walker was caught in a run-down. Geraldo Perdomo led off the bottom of the third with the longest and best AB of the night to that point against Wood, seeing eight pitches and lined the last of those pitches into left for a single. He was erased one out later when Luplow grounded into an inning-ending double play, but at least he put up a good at bat. Perdomo’s actually been doing that a lot lately....his approach at the plate is really good, even if the results aren’t always what one would hope them to be. Anyway.
Gilbert came out to start the fourth with a perfectly reasonable 39 pitches thrown, and promptly got into trouble. A lot of trouble. The top three hitters in the Giants’ order hit successive singles to load the bases with nobody out. Somehow, Gilbert then struck out Evan Longoria on four pitches, making the trouble seem suddenly a bit more manageable. We’d already gotten a couple of double plays, so maybe one more? Nope, sadly. Joc Pederson lifted a fly ball to Hummel in left, bringing in a run with the sacrifice fly. And somewhat to my surprise, that was the end of Gilbert’s night, as Torey Lovullo pulled him for righthander Kenyan Middleton. Middleton walked the first batter he faced, loading the bases again, but caught Giants second baseman David Villar looking on a called third strike to end the frame. 1-0 San Francisco
We continued to do nothing against Alex Wood in the bottom of the fourth, though at least our hitters at bats were starting to get longer. Middleton pitched the fifth for us, and other than giving up a leadoff single to Giants’ shortstop Brandon Crawford, he had no trouble putting up a zero. We finally struck back in the bottom of the fifth, thanks to Carson Kelly hitting a one-out double into the gap in right. Alek Thomas got him to third with a grounder to short, and then Perdomo was up again. He worked the count full, then dropped a single into right that drove in Kelly:
Perdomo makes it a new game! pic.twitter.com/CYTvxjm3Jk— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) July 6, 2022
Two hits to the opposite field for us, and we were all knotted up. 1-1 TIE
And that’s how it stood until the top of the seventh. Noe Ramirez, last seen doing a faceplant off the mound at Coors Field and also losing the game for us on Sunday, struck out the middle of the Giants’ lineup in order, which was a nice sort of rebound. Apparently Torey wanted four outs from him, though, so he was out to begin the seventh as well, and promptly walked the first batter he faced, San Francisco DH Yerman Mercedes. He then struck out Villar, but a passed ball from Kelly on strike three of that AB advanced Mercedes into scoring position at second base. Caleb Smith took the ball and retired Crawford on one pitch to bring up the Giant’s nine-hole hitter (and, curiously, the only catcher on their entire roster today) Austin Wynns, who flared a shallow fly ball along the line in left that looked an awful lot like it was going to drop in foul territory. For good or ill, however, Cooper Hummel tried to make a sliding catch on the ball, only for it to land in his lap and roll away. The umps initially called it a foul ball, but the Giants challenged, and the call was overturned. Curiously, since it was initially called a foul ball but then changed to a hit, the placement of the baserunners was up to the umpires’ discretion, and after some delay, they put Wynns on first and gave Mercedes home plate. I didn’t know umpires, or the review officials in New York, could do that. It sucked. 2-1 San Francisco
Meanwhile, we were into the Giants’ bullpen now; Wood had exited after the fifth, some dude named Brebbia had pitched the sixth, and Kent Tekulve (or, if you prefer, Brad Ziegler) wannabe Tyler Rogers pitched the bottom of the seventh for the Bay City Rollers. Daulton Varsho pinch hit for Carson Kelly in the seventh, and sent a one-out opposite field double to the wall in left, but despite advancing to third on an Alek Thomas sacrifice fly to right, he was stranded when Perdomo couldn’t make the magic happen a third time.
Caleb Smith pitched around two walks in the top of the eighth, but did his job and put up another zero. Former Diamondback Dominic Leone came out of the Giants’ pen to pitch the bottom of the eighth, and that’s pretty much when the wheels came off the San Francisco bus. Josh Rojas, pinch-hitting for starting third baseman Jake Hager, pulled off a bunt single to third with two strikes to lead off the frame. This was apparently only the second time since 2016 that a Diamondbacks position player had managed to successfully bunt for a base hit with two strikes, so that’s fun (h/t Jack Sommers). David Peralta, pinch-hitting for Luplow, struck out, and then Cooper Hummel singled to shallow right, advancing Rojas to second. Leone then walked Ketel Marte and Christian Walker, though he also sprinkled in two wild pitches that allowed Rojas to score the tying run and advanced Hummel to third.
That spate of messiness earned Leone the hook, and Giants’ closer Camilo Doval took the mound to stop this foolishness. He failed. Doval is a terrifying flamethrower of a pitcher who throws upwards of 100mph and is able to control it, but nevertheless, tonight, he failed. He tried to sneak a 98mph quick pitch past Buddy Kennedy at the top of the zone on the inside corner, but Kennedy made contact:
As it turned out, that would have been enough, but nah, we weren’t done. Varsho came to the plate, and did this to a 102-mph fastball:
VARSHO CLUTCH BIG FLY pic.twitter.com/ZSGsj1dqzq— Bally Sports Arizona (@BALLYSPORTSAZ) July 6, 2022
Splashdown in the pool, baby! 6-2 D-BACKS
Mark Melancon had been warming in the Diamondbacks bullpen to pitch a non-save top of the ninth, and lo and behold, that was the situation he found himself in, but in a good way. I have a feeling that Melancon feels far better about pitching when his team is ahead than when they’re tied. He sat down the bottom of the Giants’ lineup in order, and that’s yer ballgame!
Win Probability Added, courtesy of FanGraphs
Spam and Eggs: Josh Rojas (1 AB, 1 H, 1 R, +25.5% WPA), Daulton Varsho (2 AB, 2 H, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, +20.7% WPA)
Spam in my Inbox: Alek Thomas (4 AB, 0 H, -13.7% WPA)
Fun Facts from Jack
- This was our first series win versus San Francisco since May of 2019
- Our bullpen in this series: 91⁄3 IP, 4 H, 1 R
- San Francisco’s bullpen in this series: 6 IP, 10 H, 9 R
A reasonably lively Gameday Thread tonight, and a nice one for the second Tuesday in a row (and the second day in a row), as we all got a happy ending! At time of writing, we had 190 comments. Thanks to everyone who stopped by and hung around. Comment of the Game goes by popular acclaim to Snake_Bitten, remarking on the plethora of sometimes improbable double plays we saw turned in the first three innings:
For the second Wednesday in a row, we can get our brooms ready, as this victory and yesterday’s have secured us the series win. Let’s see if we can sweep Los Gigantes out of town tomorrow evening, as Merrill Kelly takes the mound against Alex Cobb. First pitch is once again at 6:40pm AZ time, just like today. Hope you can join us!
As always, thanks for reading, and as always, go Diamondbacks!