Diamondbacks top Phils, gain ground in wild-card race
PHOENIX (AP) — Zac Gallen would have liked to pitch longer in Wednesday’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies. But the Arizona Diamondbacks‘ right-hander was on a pitch count, so he made the most of the time he had.
Gallen threw five scoreless innings and helped himself with a run-scoring sacrifice bunt in his Arizona debut, leading the Diamondbacks to a 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
“I don’t get necessarily nervous when I pitch,” Gallen said when asked about his debut with a new team in a new ballpark. “When you pitch, you’re kind of in control most of the game. Was definitely a little amped up to get out there and make a good first impression, but it was nice.”
Gallen (2-3) allowed just one hit with three walks and six strikeouts, lowering his earned run average to 2.40. The 24-year-old who came over in a trade with the Miami Marlins on July 31 also picked up his first career RBI in the fourth inning thanks to Nick Ahmed’s base running.
Ahmed was halfway down the third base line when Gallen bunted to third, and the Phillies’ Scott Kingery opted to throw to first base for the out. Ahmed took off as soon as the ball was thrown and scored easily, giving the Diamondbacks a 4-0 lead.
“I wish it would have been a cooler RBI, but it helped us get a win, so it’s fine by me,” Gallen said.
The Phillies were held to five hits, including Bryce Harper’s solo home run in the ninth inning, and have lost three of four. Harper’s third home run in 18 games was his 20th of the season.
“Certainly we’re a much better offensive club than what we’re showing,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “I think we can do a better job across the board than we did tonight, for sure.”
Losing pitcher Jason Vargas (6-6) was charged with four runs on four hits in five innings. He hit two batters and walked three.
“Are we still in the second wild card?” Harper said when asked to assess the state of the Phillies. “I’ll take it. If the season ends today then we’re in the playoffs. Just got to keep going, keep working.”
Ahmed scored on a Jean Segura throwing error and Jarrod Dyson raced home on Marte’s two-out single in the eighth.
Marte reached base four times, had two hits and stole a base, and is batting .471 (41-for-87) in his last 23 home games. A night after committing three errors, the Diamondbacks turned three double plays.
Arizona moved to 1 ½ games out of the second wild-card spot in the National League.
“I don’t believe the sky is falling on us,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “The energy that I’m feeling, the focus that I’ve seen over the last 24 hours, the ability to turn around some tough games and shower them off and get ready the next day, those are some good ingredients right now.”
HOLLAND DESIGNATED FOR ASSIGNMENT
Relief pitcher Greg Holland, a three-time All-Star who led the National League in saves in 2017 with 41, was designated for assignment Wednesday by the Diamondbacks.
Holland has 17 saves in 22 chances, but saw his ERA climb from 2.33 at the end of June to its current number.
The 33-year-right-hander has allowed at least one earned run in seven of his last 13 appearances. He lost his closer’s job after a blown save on July 26 and is the second D-backs reliever to be designated for assignment this week after Zack Godley on Aug. 5.
Godley was claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays.
“It was the command, not being able to land big pitches or get big outs at times,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said before Wednesday’s game. “We took the role away from him, we thought it would take some pressure off him but it didn’t get better.”
Phillies: Kapler said OF Jay Bruce is very close to being activated. Bruce has been out three weeks with an oblique strain.
Diamondbacks: Utility player Blake Swihart was reinstated from the 60-day injured list with the Holland move. Swihart missed more than two months after being placed on the injured list with a strained right oblique June 1.
Phillies: RHP Aaron Nola (10-2, 3.60 ERA) goes for the Phillies in the opener of a four-game series with the San Francisco Giants on Thursday. Giants star Madison Bumgarner is listed as his counterpart.
Diamondbacks: After an off day Thursday, LHP Robbie Ray (10-7, 4.03) is set to face the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at Dodger Stadium.
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