Gallen Terrific as Diamondbacks Blank Marlins, Avoid Sweep

Zac Gallen pitches in the Diamondbacks win over the Marlins.
(Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Diamondbacks 5, Marlins 0

MIAMI, Apr. 16 — Zac Gallen did not allow a baserunner until the fifth inning, allowing no runs on two hits and striking out seven to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5–0 victory over the Miami Marlins in front of 15,314 Sunday afternoon. Corbin Carroll went 2-fo-4 with a homer, a double, two runs scored, and two RBI in the victory. Pavin Smith also went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI for the Diamondbacks. The victory avoided a three-game sweep at the hands of the Marlins.

Third baseman Josh Rojas led off the game with a fly to left before second baseman Geraldo Perdomo struck out. Designated hitter Pavin Smith doubled to the right-field corner, giving first baseman Christian Walker a two-out RBI opportunity, but he struck out to retire the side. Gallen countered with a 1–2–3 bottom of the first. Center fielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. struck out, as did first baseman Garrett Cooper. Second baseman Luis Arraez, who entered the game batting .511, flied to left, ending the inning.

Diamondbacks Take Early Lead as Gallen Stifles Marlins

The Diamondbacks got on the board in the second aided by the LoanDepot Park lights. Left fielder Corbin Carroll led off with a double, as Marlins left fielder Bryan De La Cruz dropped the line drive upon losing it in the lights. (Note: The scorer initially ruled it an error but later changed it to a double.) Carroll advanced to third on a tagup when right fielder Jake McCarthy, up next, flied to deep left. Shortstop Nick Ahmed struck out, bringing up center fielder Alek Thomas. Thomas did not let Carroll go to waste, singling up the middle to give the Diamondbacks a 1–0 lead. As catcher Jose Herrera batted, Sandy Alcantara caught Thomas leaning and picked him off for the third out.

Gallen pitched another 1–2–3 inning in the bottom of the second. Designated hitter Jorge Soler grounded to third, as did De La Cruz, before right fielder Avisail Garcia flied to center.

Both pitchers had perfect innings in the third. Alcantara pitched around a one-out single by Walker in the fourth, striking out Carroll and McCarthy to render it moot. Gallen kept his perfect streak going in the bottom of the fourth, as Chisholm struck out looking, Cooper lined to right, and Arraez grounded to second.

Mistakes Blow Game Open

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Alcantara pitched another 1–2–3 inning in the top of the fifth. After Gallen got Soler on a leadoff fly to center in the bottom half, De La Cruz singled to center, giving the Marlins their first baserunner. Garcia was hit on the hand, advancing De La Cruz to second. But the Marlins did not capitalize, as Segura lined to center and Stallings struck out swinging at a pitch in the dirt, Herrera throwing to first to finish the out.

The Diamondbacks extended their lead in the top of the sixth. Rojas led off with a grounder to first. Cooper flipped to Alcantara, who dropped the toss. This allowed Rojas to reach second. Perdomo sacrificed him to third, bringing up Smith with one out. His sharp single to right plated Rojas and made the score 2–0. It became 3–0 when Walker drove Smith in with a double to the gap in right-center. Carroll made it 5–0 with a towering homer to the right of dead center. The scoring stopped there, as McCarthy struck out before Ahmed flied to shallow center on a sinking liner.

Gallen added an exclamation point to the lead with a shutdown inning in the bottom of the sixth. After Berti grounded to the pitcher, Chisholm flied to deep center, with Thomas falling as he made the catch. Cooper struck out looking to end the inning.

Diamondbacks Pitch around Threat, Finish Marlins Off

After rookie and major league debutant George Soriano pitched a 1–2–3 top of the seventh, Gallen returned to the mound. Entering the inning with 84 pitches, it was certain to be his last inning. Arraez grounded to first with the pitcher covering before Soler belted a double to the wall in left-center. De La Cruz, up next, struck out looking. That ended Gallen’s day, as Kevin Ginkel took over in relief. Garcia, the first to face Ginkel, left injured after swinging at a 1–1 pitch that hit his right wrist. The Marlins announced after the game that Garcia suffered a contusion and x-rays were negative. Pinch-hitter Jesus Sanchez inherited the 1–2 count and struck out, although Garcia was charged with the strikeout. This ended the seventh with the Diamondbacks leading, 5–0.

Soriano pitched two more innings of scoreless relief for the Marlins, with a leadoff single in the eighth by Perdomo as the only baserunner. Ginkel and Nelson pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth, respectively, to seal the victory for the Diamondbacks.

Postgame Reflections

“These are the ones we’re always looking for,” a smiling manager Torey Lovullo declared. “It comes on the heels of two tough losses. Yesterday was extremely tough on us. Knowing that we were turning around and getting Alcantara this morning didn’t make it any easier. That’s why I’m so proud of these guys. We fought, we had the right starting pitcher set the tone for us…. We just scratched across a run and obviously had the big inning. It was a really fun game to be a part of. There’s a lot of energy. Our guys were locked in, and it was a big win.”

Gallen felt good out of the gate. “I knew I was on a roll,” he said. “Everything was kind of coming out pretty good. Felt like I had good command of everything for the most part. Probably best command I had of the change-up since I can remember. So I was just trying to make pitches. I knew it was gonna be a close game with Sandy on the mound, so I did my best to keep us in it and give us a shot to win.”

Gallen’s plan Sunday was to “get ahead, stay ahead, and try to make my pitch,” he explained. “It’s my plan most of the time.” He added that there wasn’t anything “super crazy” in the gameplan. It was simply to “read swings, read the flow of the game, see what’s working, and go with that.”

Josh Rojas

“(Gallen) threw an outstanding game,” Rojas said. “It would have been pretty tough for us to walk out of here with a loss after the day he gave us. Just trying to put good at-bats together. I snuck on base there with an error, and then (Perdomo) moved me over. Then Pavin really got the rally going there with with a hard-hit ball in the gap.

“We were fighting to get (Alcantara) over the plate. Did a pretty good job handling his changeup. He banged it there for a while, wasn’t throwing it. Then he tried to come back out with it, and people started hammering it. So it was a pretty good gameplan today.”

When asked if he felt the sixth-inning Alcantara error bothered the Miami hurler, Rojas said, “I assume so. You never want to let the leadoff guy on right there, especially on an error. I can’t tell you how he handled it, but I’m sure he wasn’t very happy about it. Especially for me to come around and score.”

Quick Hits

This was the first time in Gallen’s career that he had four straight perfect innings to start a game. … Chisholm and Gallen were famously traded for each other July 31, 2019. Between that day and their first meeting, Chisholm had been vocal about wanting to face Gallen. So far, Chisholm is 0-for-6 against Gallen with two strikeouts. … Gallen ran his scoreless inning streak to 14 2/3 with his performance Sunday. He set the Diamondbacks franchise record in 2022 with 44 1/3 scoreless innings between August 2 and September 11. … Sunday’s game marked the first time the Diamondbacks shut out the Marlins since June 28, 2018, a 4–0 final in Miami. The Diamondbacks have not shut the Marlins out in Phoenix since June 12, 2016.

Looking Ahead

Gallen (2–1, 3.33 ERA) earned the win, while Alcantara (1–2, 5.84 ERA) took the loss. The Diamondbacks (9–7) maintained their hold on first place in the NL West. They now hold sole possession after the Chicago Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 3–2, to knock the Dodgers to 8–8.

The Diamondbacks continue their road trip Monday with a three-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals (7–9, fourth in NL Central, 4.0 games out of first). Right-hander Merrill Kelly (0–2, 2.93 ERA) will start for the Diamondbacks against Cardinals righty Jack Flaherty (1–1, 1.76 ERA). First pitch will be at 6:45 pm Central/4:45 pm Arizona Time.

The Marlins (8–8, third in NL East, 4.0 games out of first) continue their homestand Monday with a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants. Lefty Jesus Luzardo (2–0, 1.93 ERA) will take the hill for the Marlins. The Giants have righty Logan Webb (0–3, 4.76 ERA) as their listed starter, although that might change with their Sunday game at the Detroit Tigers being rained out. Regardless, first pitch in Miami Monday night will be at 6:40 Eastern/3:40 Pacific.

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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