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Arizona Diamondbacks 2, Toronto Blue Jays 5: Predatory Birds

The Arizona Diamondbacks have dropped two in a row following the Midsummer Classic and in so doing have lost their grip on the National League West lead.

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at Toronto Blue Jays Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Diamondbacks have had some difficulty finding their footing in the first two games following the All Star Break. As a result, they have seen their lead on the National League West vanish having been passed by the Los Angeles Dodgers. They’re still a healthy 11 games above .500 and this is by no reason time to sound the alarm bells, but if want to keep they’re playoff hopes alive they will need to find that momentum they had in the first half once again.

Today they turned to their ace and National League All Star starting pitcher Zac Gallen in attempt to even the series against the Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto bumped Chris Bassitt up a day due to an injury in their rotation. Gallen had difficulty with his pitchcom device in the early innings leading to a handful of delays. He began the bottom of the first with a pair of strikeouts to George Springer and Bo Bichette, but then proceeded to walk the next two batters before finally getting out of the inning with a groundout. He would not be so fortunate in the second inning. A pair of singles from Whit Merrifield and Alejandro Kirk combined with an errant throw from Jake McCarthy put runners on second and third with one out. Both of those men were driven in on a bases loaded single from George Springer giving Toronto the first lead of the game. Gallen prevented further damage with a timely double play.

Arizona responded with two runs of their own in the fourth inning on a close play at first that drew a challenge from Toronto. With two outs in the inning, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. singled and Emmanuel Rivera doubled to put runners on second and third. That brought the speedy outfielder Jake McCarthy to the plate who hit a ground to the right side of the infield that would have resulted in an out for just about anyone else on the team besides perhaps Corbin Carroll. McCarthy was able to beat the throw to the bag and River, who never stopped running hard the entire way, was able to score from second.

Toronto immediately reclaimed the lead in the bottom half of the fourth with a leadoff home run from Whit Merrifield. Gallen’s day came to an end after five innings having thrown 94 pitches allowing six hits and three earned runs with three walks and five strikeouts. The Diamondbacks’ offense never mustered much of a comeback offensively following the two run fourth while Toronto added two more in the eighth to secure a 5-2 victory.

7/15/23: D’backs (2) @ Blue Jays (5)