The Diamondbacks opened up the series with a record-setting blowout, setting the Giants franchise record with runs scored by a visiting team with 18 runs. With a chance to win the series, the Dbacks faced their 4th straight left-handed starting pitcher in Andrew Suarez. Opposing him was Dbacks pitching prospect Taylor Clarke, making just his second career MLB start.
The game got off to a terrific start as Ketel Marte found triple’s alley on the game’s second pitch. Ildemaro Vargas once again got the first Dbacks run across, but on a 3-hopper that Giants 3B Pablo Sandoval whiffed on. Vargas would move up to 2nd on a wild pitch before Adam Jones swinging bunt single to 3B put runners on the corners with 1 out for Kevin Cron, who was making his first MLB start. Cron made a bid to drive in both runners, smashing a ball towards triple’s alley, but a fantastic catch by Giants RF Kevin Pillar denied Cron of a 2-run triple and Jones was doubled off first for the inning’s final out. Vargas was able to step on home plate before Jones was doubled off, so the run counted to give the Dbacks an early 2-0 lead.
Clarke faced the minimum in the first, pitching around a Steven Duggar bunt single by picking him off first before the next pitch, needing only 6 pitches to do so. Tim Locastro hit a 1-out double in the top of the second, but the Dbacks were unable to do anything with it but were able to clear the pitcher’s spot in the order. Clarke would allow 2 singles with 1 out before pitching around Crawford with 2 outs to bring up the Giants pitcher to the plate. Suarez hit a soft one-hopper to shortstop, which Nick Ahmed had a bit of trouble fielding, and hustled up the line to force a poor throw from the reigning Gold Glover that Cron could not dig out for the Giants’ first run. Clarke was able to the next hitter on a deep fly ball to center to preserve the 2-1 lead.
The Dbacks would blow things open in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings, scoring 3, 1, and 4 runs respectively. Marte answered the Giants run by hitting an absolute missile (113.9 MPH exit velocity, 17 deg launch angle) into the left field stands. Vargas followed up with an opposite field single before Eduardo Escobar ripped one down the 3B line for a double. 3rd base coach Tony Perezchica had an aggressive send of Vargas around 3rd and opted to challenge 3-time Gold Glover Brandon Crawford. The gamble would pay off as Crawford’s throw tailed up the line and deflected off of Vargas, which allowed Escobar to take 3rd on the play. Adam Jones would hit a sac fly to deep right-center to build up a 5-1 lead. With a bigger lead, Clarke pitched around a leadoff double by Duggar who did not advance any further in the inning.
The Dbacks had a chance to pretty much end the game in the 4th, getting runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. The bad news for the Dbacks was Taylor Clarke was the hitter although he put up a solid AB and hit a soft liner to Sandoval. The Giants elected to free pass Marte after he crushed 2 balls against Suarez to load the bases. Vargas tried to hit one through the 5-6 hole, but Brandon Crawford was able to knock the ball down and somehow get the lead-footed Alex Avila out at 3rd. Escobar would ground out to end the inning with a missed opportunity. Fortunately, Clarke was able to pitch a 1-2-3 inning against the bottom of the Giants order.
As lucky as Suarez was to escape the 4th inning, he was not so lucky in the 5th. Adam Jones ambushed a get-me-over curve and nearly hit it out to left, settling for a double high off the wall. Cron would jump on the next pitch for his first MLB hit with a double down the LF line to score Jones. After Ahmed worked a walk, Locastro hit his second double of the game to score Cron and ended Suarez’s day after 4+ innings. The Giants brought in Sam Dyson to finish the inning and was greeted with a hard hit ground ball off Avila’s bat that Giants 1B Brandon Belt could not handle to make it 10-1. That would be it for the Dbacks in terms of scoring, although Cron would make a bid for his first career home run in the 6th when he smashed a ball to deep center field. Despite an exit velocity of 106.5 MPH and 34 deg launch angle, which would be a home run in pretty much any other ballpark, the ball died at the wall for a 413-foot out.
Clarke would cruise through the 6th, but ran into trouble in the 7th as he hit the first batter of the inning on an 0-2 count and ran out of gas with a 1-out walk to Stephen Vogt. That prompted Torey Lovullo to bring in Chafin to get the final two outs of the inning. Chafin would get Joe Panik to hit a ground ball to short, but the double play developed too slowly to get Panik at 1st. Chafin would struggle against the right-handed hitters of the Giants lineup, walking pinch hitters Tyler Austin and Evan Longoria while being nowhere close to the strike zone to make it 10-2. Sandoval would bloop a single in right-center to score 2 runs and end Clarke’s night with 3 runs on 6 hits in 6 1⁄3 innings with 3 walks and 4 strikeouts. Chafin was able to get Belt to ground out to 2B to prevent the Giants from getting any closer. Archie Bradley would pitch a 1-2-3 8th inning with a strikeout paired with a couple loud outs and Greg Holland, who was just getting some non-save work after going nearly a week without pitching, would allow 2 hits before striking out Sandoval for the final out of the game.
The Dbacks have now won two straight games and have outscored the Giants 28-6 after scoring just 12 runs in their previous 5 games going into the series. Tomorrow they will go for the sweep with Luke Weaver opposing Giants rookie Shaun Anderson, who is making just his 3rd MLB start.
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The Main Attraction: Ketel Marte, +20.0%
Show Stoppers: Ildemaro Vargas +9.0%, 3B Eduardo Escobar +7.4%, Tim Locastro +7.3%
Has-Been: Nick Ahmed, -1.4%
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