So far this season, the Arizona Diamondbacks enjoy the distinction of the only team in Major League baseball not shut out.
This may imply some kind of offensive machine, but the reality shows the opposite. The Diamondbacks seemed challenged to score runs, and that trend continued Friday night in Chase Field.
That’s when the Diamondbacks broke out the lumber and put together a five run, seventh to defeat the San Diego Padres 5-2 before 24,043.
The five runs represented a bonanza because the Diamondbacks managed to score four or more runs just twice in their previous 15 games before Friday. In the process, they snapped a two game losing streak, and maintained a tie of first place of the National League West Division with Colorado.
“You don’t expect to be hot all season,” said centerfielder A. J. Pollock, who contributed with a 3-for-4 night. “We’re a team of situational hitters and we keep battling.”
The real beneficiary was right-hander Brandon McCarthy. The 6-7 native of Glendale, Calif. turned in his third straight quality start, improved to 2-1 and lowered his ERA to 4.36. Compare that to a 7.48 ERA after five starts and his win Friday night against the Padres was his 10th start of the season.
The offense gave McCarthy his biggest run support in his last four starts. In previous two starts before Friday, the offense has generated a combined three on his behalf.
On May 12, he left after eight innings against the Phillies with a 2-0 lead. Reliever Heath Bell blew that save opportunity, and the Diamondbacks eventually lost in 10 innings.
On McCarthy’s next start, he recorded a 1-0 complete game win over the Marlins and Friday night against the Padres, he delivered strong seven innings. In the process, the Diamondbacks rallied for that five spot in the seventh and relievers David Hernandez and Bell preserved the win.
“You try and throw as many strikes as you can, and give your team a chance to win,” McCarthy said. “While the last few starts have been okay, they were not dissimilar to previous starts. From an offensive standpoint, we have so many situational hitters and when we turn the lineup over, we always have a chance to do something.”
By allowing a run the second, McCarthy ended his scoreless streak at 18 inning, fourth best in franchise history.
Down 1-0 into the seventh, the five run spot was started by a double from catcher Miguel Montero down the right field and Martin Prado followed with a game-tying double.
From there, pinch hitter Wil Neives crack a double to the base of the left field fence to score Prado for the go-ahead run and later in the frame, Paul Goldschmidt’s two-run double provided a comfortable margin.
Though hitting .191 through Friday night’s game, manager Kirk Gibson said Montero is swinging a better bat these days.
“(Montero) is staying on the ball and had some very good batting practice sessions (on the recent road trip to Miami and Denver),” Gibson pointed out. “He’s more relaxed, and that’s been the difference.”
The Padres remain in Chase Field to close out this three game set.
On Saturday, Wade Miley (3-3, 3.67 ERA) takes on lefty Andrew Cashner (3-2, 3.02) at 7:10 p.m. On Sunday afternoon, Patrick Corbin takes his sizzling 1.44 ERA and unbeaten 7-0 mark against right-hander Jason Marquis (6-2, 3.27).
Then, the Texas Rangers move in for a day-night doubleheader on Memorial Day.
Scheduled in the 12:40 afternoon start, Ian Kennedy (2-3. 4.70) is slated against right-hander Yu Darvish (7-2, 2.84). In the night-cap, Trevor Cahill (3-5, 2.81) takes on either Martin Perez or Ross Wolf, both rookies. As of Friday, Texas manager Ron Washington told mlb.com he is undecided.