The Arizona Diamondbacks aren’t part of the National League playoff chase but that isn’t going to stop manager Torey Lovullo from enjoying a well-played ballgame.
The Diamondbacks were solid in all areas in the opener of the two-game slate with Texas and look to complete a sweep of the Rangers on Wednesday night in Phoenix.
Carson Kelly had the big hit with a three-run homer in Tuesday’s 7-0 victory, while left-hander Caleb Smith (four innings) and right-hander Riley Smith (five innings) combined on a six-hit shutout. It was the first time Texas has been blanked all season.
Caleb Smith walked the first three batters of the game before extinguishing the threat and the Diamondbacks (21-34) eventually pulled away for their fourth victory in the past seven games.
“It was a complete game,” Lovullo said afterward. “We did several things right. It started with Caleb in the first inning. He had trouble finding his rhythm, threw a couple pitches that got him locked back in and got the pop-up and the strikeouts.
“Offensively, I thought we (had) some nice approaches. Obviously, Carson with the big blow that broke the game open. … It was a really nice effort.”
It wasn’t a good feeling for the Rangers (19-36), who lost for the fifth time in the last six games. Texas also dropped to 6-23 on the road.
The Rangers committed three errors and were hitless in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position.
“Any time you give extra outs to any major league team, you’re flirting with disaster,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “It wasn’t a great game overall.
“From an offensive standpoint, the first three batters walk. You have bases loaded and nobody out and think you have a chance to really do some damage there and unfortunately we didn’t get it done and that kind of set the tone for the rest of the game.”
Eli White went 3-for-4 with a stolen base and Sam Huff went 2-for-4 for the Rangers. The rest of the lineup was 1-for-24.
The contest reflected the type of season it has been for Texas, which has lost 27 of 36 games following a 10-9 start.
“I don’t want to deal with the lows but we are going to have to deal with that at times,” Woodward said. “… When we are down 7-0, I don’t see anybody hanging their heads. There are times you will have games like today even if you don’t have a young team.”
David Peralta (3-for-4, one RBI) and Eduardo Escobar (2-for-4) joined Kelly in fueling the Diamondbacks’ 11-hit attack.
Going 1-for-4 on Tuesday was Ketel Marte, who was activated from the injured list prior to the game. Marte had been sidelined for 12 days with a left wrist injury.
Lovullo was pleased to have the chance to write the 2019 All-Star’s name on the lineup card. With the Diamondbacks playing for nothing, Marte easily could have called it a season.
“You know I think he took the challenge personally, that he wanted to get back out and help us win baseball games,” Lovullo said. “So it speaks volumes about his character. Obviously, we know where we are in the standings, but it didn’t bother him, he wanted to show his teammates that he wanted to come and fight with them.”
Lovullo said that Marte (.289, two homers, 14 RBIs) will be in the lineup again on Wednesday.
Arizona left-hander Alex Young (2-4, 5.44 ERA) looks to bounce back from a rough effort in his turn.
Young, 27, allowed six runs and eight hits over 2 2/3 innings while losing to the Los Angeles Angels last Thursday. He has dropped four of his last five decisions.
Young won his lone career outing against Texas when he gave up one run and three hits over 5 1/3 innings on July 16, 2019. Joey Gallo homered for the run off him.
Rangers rookie left-hander Wes Benjamin (1-1, 4.41) is making his first career start and seventh overall appearance.
Benjamin, 27, was the second Texas pitcher in each of his past two appearances, winning the first on Sept. 12 against the Oakland Athletics and losing to the Los Angeles Angels Friday. He gave up two runs in four innings in both outings.
–Field Level Media