The retractable roof was opened in 100-plus degree heat after the third inning at Chase Field in Phoenix on Wednesday night, and not long after, the home team’s bats came alive in a big way.
Coincidence? A sign of better times ahead? One can only guess, but for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Wednesday’s 14-run outburst, which included 14 batters and nine runs in the fourth inning, got them out of a funk for a night.
Now they’ll look to keep the runs coming Thursday when they host the Houston Astros in the rubber match of their three-game series.
Down 4-0 with the roof closed, the Diamondbacks looked to be headed for a sixth loss in seven games and even further into last place in the National League West. But Kole Calhoun got the scoring started in the big inning with his first career inside-the-park home run — a two-run homer — and the rest was good times for the Diamondbacks in the 14-7 win.
“We needed that. It’s no secret that both sides of the ball, we’ve kind of been struggling,” Calhoun said. “To get this win, especially being down … we needed that as a team, and hopefully going forward this is the start of the momentum we needed.”
Manager Torey Lovullo said 14 runs is what his team’s offense is capable of. He was then asked if the roof will be open from the start for Thursday’s game.
“I’m not in control of that. But I tell you what, we’ll be ready to play baseball,” Lovullo said.
The Diamondbacks will have Zac Gallen (0-0, 2.70 ERA) on the mound to start Thursday’s game. Gallen is coming off a strong outing against the Los Angeles Dodgers in his last start, striking out nine in six innings and allowing just two runs on five hits.
No hitter on the Astros’ roster has ever faced Gallen, and in turn Gallen will be facing Houston for the first time in his career.
The Astros hit four home runs in Wednesday’s loss, and their offense remains robust despite the recent struggles of some of their stars. Houston’s 67 runs in 11 games leads the American League.
The Astros are also expected to welcome back Michael Brantley, their leading hitter with a .438 batting average, from a quad injury to play in Thursday’s game as the designated hitter. Brantley has missed the past two games.
The Astros adjusted their starting rotation Wednesday, with manager Dusty Baker opting for rookie right-hander Brandon Bielak (2-0, 1.69 ERA) to make his first big league start Thursday instead of veteran Zack Greinke.
That keeps Greinke from facing his former team; he was 55-29 with Arizona from 2016 to 2019. He’ll pitch against the Oakland A’s on Friday instead.
While the lineup is loaded with veterans, the pitching staff saw Carlos Sanabria make his major league debut in Wednesday’s rout. He’s the ninth Astros pitcher to make his debut this season.
Lance McCullers Jr., Wednesday’s starter, was battered for eight runs in 3 2/3 innings, but he said he didn’t come away completely discouraged.
“Not disappointed in how I felt or the way I was throwing it,” he said. “If I take that mentality into most of my games, I’m going to come out with some great outings.”
–Field Level Media