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D-Backs 5, Brewers 1: Taking the Series in Style

TL;DR: Zac Gallen was brilliant, the bats found their legs late, and the D-Backs ran circles around (figuratively and literally) the Brewers for a series win.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Milwaukee Brewers
Even Pavin Smith got in on the running action.
Michael McLoone-USA TODAY Sports

After the latest late-inning meltdown for the Diamondback bullpen - and poorly timed defensive miscues - doomed another winnable game last night (recapped by Dano here), the D-Backs desperately needed a Zac Gallen gem. Thankfully, I can report that Gallen delivered one of his best performances of the year to-date, the offense came to life late, and Scott McGough put together an uneventful couple of innings to shut the door on the game and the series. It was a much-needed bounceback performance, especially as the team is in the middle of a hectic travel schedule on this road trip. They are headed to Washington D.C. for a makeup game before flying back across the country to face a scorching hot Giants team suddenly bearing down on them in the divisional race.

Even still, this game could have gone very differently. The D-Backs immediately threatened in the first inning off a pair of walks from Ketel Marte and Pavin Smith - one of four in the game - and a single from Christian Walker to load the bases with two outs. Unfortunately, Emmanuel Rivera became a bit too aggressive on a 2-0 count and bounced out to extinguish the two-out rally. Frustratingly, that would constitute the majority of the Arizona offense through the first five innings of this game as the D-Backs bats (the D-Bats...?) managed baserunners in the third, fourth, and fifth innings, but failed to find the big hit to scratch across a runner.

At least in part, that’s because of the smorgasbord of web gems the two teams put together in an absolute fielding clinic through most of the game. There was this excellent sliding grab from Corbin Carroll to end the first:

There was also this diving play from Brian Anderson that took away a hit, if not extra bases, from Christian Walker that opened the fourth:

In between the highlight reel defense from the two teams, Gallen was putting together an excellent performance as he leaned on his fastball across his seven innings pitched. He only allowed four total baserunners in his outing and mostly pitched to contact throughout, getting just four strikeouts in his NL-lead tying ninth win alongside teammate Merrill Kelly, Clayton Kershaw, and Marcus Stroman. Even the best have mistakes though and Gallen unfortunately put a fastball middle-middle against Raimel Tapia who promptly deposited it into the right field bleachers to give the Brewers the lead 1-0.

They would not enjoy their lead for long as Rivera delivered a single to center that Joey Wiemer kicked around to allow Smith to score after earning his second walk of the game. Intriguingly, if you watch closely at the end of this clip, you’ll notice that Elvis Peguero slams the baseball into the ground after the play in frustration and home plate umpire Derek Thomas immediately calls for time. This froze Rivera at second instead of allowing the play to develop since it was still a live ball. While it didn’t ultimately matter in the result of the game as Rivera would come in to score on newly-recalled Alek Thomas’ single in the very next at-bat to give the D-backs the lead for good 2-1, but Torey Lovullo immediately came out of the dugout to object.

Through this point of the game, the only major baserunning Arizona had put together was the solitary steal from Jake McCarthy in the fifth, but it’s as if the D-Backs rediscovered their ability to run starting in the seventh. Who made this discovery? Why, it’s none other than NL MVP candidate Corbin Carroll who otherwise had a quiet game and series (finishing 2-for-13 in the three-game set)! It felt a little like the, “Character forgets they’re good at something” to upstage another character trope as seen in Band of Brothers or Ted Lasso. After a walk, Carroll stole both second and third - including a double steal alongside Walker. Annoyingly, Rivera would again approach the plate with the bases loaded and two outs after Smith’s walk, but he would strike out to squander the opportunity to add on an insurance run.

Have no fear dear reader, they would not squander the next opportunity in the eighth as back-to-back doubles from Thomas and Gabriel Moreno scored the third D-Backs run before Geraldo Perdomo followed with a single up the middle to score Moreno and the fourth Arizona run. The offense would round out the scoring in the ninth as even Smith got in on the track meet with his first stolen base of the year ahead of Rivera serving a single into right to give us the 5-1 final score. Gallen yielded to Scott McGough who collected four strikeouts in his two innings of work and luckily kept the bullpen that much more rested.

You love to see that kind of taut performance from both teams.