After no-hitter, D-backs turn to Zac Gallen in bid to sweep Padres

MLB

Right-hander Zac Gallen will have some tough acts to follow when the Arizona Diamondbacks host the San Diego Padres in the finale of a four-game series on Sunday afternoon in Phoenix.

The Diamondbacks matched their most one-sided win of the season in a 12-3 victory in the series opener on Thursday. The only other time Arizona won by as many as nine runs was 10-1 against the Padres on June 26, ending its 24-game road losing streak.

The Diamondbacks posted a 3-2 victory on a walk-off homer by Daulton Varsho on Friday night.

Most impressively, Tyler Gilbert threw a no-hitter in his first major-league start on Saturday night to lead Arizona to a 7-0 win. It was the first no-hitter by a Diamondbacks pitcher at Chase Field, and the fourth by an MLB pitcher making his first start.

Gilbert, 27, walked three and struck out five in pitching the third no-hitter in Diamondbacks history and the eighth in the majors this season. He joined the St. Louis Browns’ Bobo Holloman (1953), the Browns’ Theodore Breitenstein (1891) and the Cincinnati Reds’ Bumpus Jones (1892) as pitchers who threw a no-hitter in their first major-league start.

Gallen (1-6, 4.87 ERA) is hungry to show he can contribute as well.

The former third-round pick in the 2016 MLB Draft hasn’t put up the win-loss record most expected this season. Although Gallen is winless in his past 11 outings, he has given the Diamondbacks plenty of opportunities to emerge victorious.

Four times in his past 11 starts, Gallen has allowed two runs or less while pitching at least five innings.

“My job is to keep us in the game as long as possible,” he said. “Get as deep in the game as possible.”

Gallen came within one out of completing that scenario a fifth time when he went against the Padres the only time this season on June 27. He exited with two outs in the fifth inning and did not receive a decision in the 5-4 loss.

Gallen has displayed success and consistency before. He began his major-league career by going 23 consecutive starts without allowing more than three earned runs.

The Diamondbacks might need to rely on Gallen even more in the near future.

Arizona manager Torey Lovullo revealed after Saturday’s win that starter Merrill Kelly had tested positive for COVID-19. Kelly leads the Diamondbacks in wins (seven), strikeouts (118) and innings pitched (142 1/3).

Craig Stammen hopes to take advantage of another opportunity to start a game for the Padres.

Stammen (5-3, 3.31) was strictly a reliever his last five seasons with the Washington Nationals and first five with the Padres. He has made two starts this season, most recently on Tuesday against the visiting Miami Marlins.

That experience did not go well. Stammen allowed four runs and six hits in two innings but avoided a loss when San Diego rallied for a 6-5 win.

He came out of the bullpen in his past two appearances, including Friday night when he gave up the walk-off homer to Varsho. Stammen owns a 5-4 record with a 4.14 ERA in 41 career appearances (one start) against Arizona.

Stammen, 37, said before his last start that he doesn’t alter his style, regardless of his role.

“My main principles will stay the same,” he said. “I’ve learned to become a better pitcher as I moved to the bullpen and became older. I’m going to use some of that experience and try not to pitch like I did as a rookie.”

–Field Level Media

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