D-backs turn to ace Zac Gallen in opener vs. improving Marlins

The defending National League champion Arizona Diamondbacks hit the 50-game mark with a record of just 24-26.

But manager Torey Lovullo is hopeful the team’s first road series win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in six years will be the spark his team needs heading into the opener of a three-game home series with the Miami Marlins on Friday in Phoenix.

The Diamondbacks took two of three games from the National League West-leading Dodgers, including a 6-0 victory in Wednesday night’s rubber game.

“These are the series wins you can take some momentum, for sure,” said first baseman Christian Walker, who homered for the second straight game, after Arizona’s first series win at Dodger Stadium since April 13-15, 2018.

“We’ve been hoping for something like this,” Lovullo added. “We’ve been playing better baseball over the past two or three weeks. So we have to continue marching on, but I think this is a good push for us for sure.”

Arizona right-hander Zac Gallen (5-3, 3.02 ERA) will oppose Miami left-hander Braxton Garrett (0-0, 10.24) in the opener.

It will be Gallen’s fourth career appearance against Miami, the team he broke into the majors with in 2019. He is 3-0 with a stellar 1.35 ERA in his first three starts against the Marlins.

Garrett, who began the season on the 15-day injured list with a shoulder injury, has allowed 11 earned runs in 9 2/3 innings. He is 0-1 with a 4.09 ERA in two career starts against the Diamondbacks, including 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in one start at Chase Field.

Arizona second baseman Ketel Marte has a 21-game hitting streak, tied for the fourth-longest in Diamondbacks history with Danny Bautista, who hit in 21 straight in 2004. Marte, who singled and homered off the left field foul pole in Wednesday’s win, is three games behind Tony Womack (24, 2000) and five games behind Paul Goldschmidt, who had a 26-game run in 2013-14. The team record is 30, set by Luis Gonzalez in 1999.

Corbin Carroll had a two-run triple off starter Tyler Glasnow and Walker homered in the sixth off reliever Elieser Hernandez for Arizona, which also got five innings of shutout relief from Ryne Nelson.

“We did a lot right,” Lovullo said. “We executed. We were focused. And that’s why we won games.”

Miami, which lost its first nine games en route to a dreadful 6-24 start, is 7-3 in its last 10 games and has won three consecutive series against the Detroit Tigers, New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers.

The Marlins come in off a 1-0 victory over the Brewers on Wednesday that saw Jazz Chisholm Jr. lead off the bottom of the first with his seventh homer and Jesus Luzardo scatter three singles over eight impressive innings, retiring 16 in a row at one point.

Despite their poor start, the Marlins believe they can rally to make the playoffs.

“We all knew we were going to get into it eventually,” Chisholm said. “We started the same way we started last year after the All-Star break (with a long losing streak). So we’re not surprised right now that we’re winning. We just know that we’re a good team.”

–Field Level Media