PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona’s starters have taken turns stringing together quality starts all season for one of baseball’s best rotations.
To say they’re feeding off each other might be a stretch. More like nobody wants to be the one who unravels the string.
Zac Gallen struck out seven in seven crisp innings, Jose Herrera hit a two-run double for his first big-league RBIs and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Colorado Rockies 4-0 on Sunday.
“You see a guy go out there pitching well, you want to do your part,” Gallen said. “You don’t want to be the weak link. It’s going through the whole clubhouse. The pitching staff, we’re trying to bring that edge, that tenacity.”
Ketel Marte had three hits to boost his average to .206 and the Diamondbacks took advantage of a few mistakes by Colorado’s Germán Márquez (0-3) to win for the ninth time in 12 games.
Gallen (2-0) allowed five hits and Arizona’s bullpen held a day after Mark Melancon gave up four runs in the ninth inning of a 4-1 loss.
“That’s how you follow a game plan, right?” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “You want your starting pitcher to attack, give you a chance to win the game by controlling their offensive potential.”
The Rockies failed to capitalize on an early opportunity against Gallen and finished with five hits to get shut out for the second time this season.
“I thought you know Germán pitched well enough to to win,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “You give up four runs in six innings — three earned runs — a lot of times you win games like that, but I think the story was their guy pitched better. He was outstanding.”
Gallen and fellow right-hander Merrill Kelly have anchored an Arizona starting rotation that had the majors’ second-best ERA at 2.33 entering Sunday’s game.
Gallen escaped runners on second and third with one out in the first inning and stranded two more runners in the fifth. He has allowed three earned runs and with 26 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings this season.
“I felt I kind of got sharper as the game went on,” Gallen said. “The curveball was OK early in the game, I just tried to make an adjustment throughout the game.”
Márquez has given up at least four runs in four straight starts. The right-hander was rocked for seven runs in 3 2/3 innings in his last start — a loss to Philadelphia — and the struggle continued in Arizona.
The Diamondbacks jumped on Márquez early, scoring three runs in the second inning on Jose Herrera’s two-run double and Nick Ahmed’s RBI single.
Márquez gave up another run in the fifth inning on a wild pickoff throw. He allowed four runs and six hits and struck out seven with four walks in six innings.
“I was a lot better in there than I’ve been, minimized (the damage) a little bit,” Márquez said.
Alek Thomas, Arizona’s No. 1 prospect, was brought up from Triple-A Reno and started in center field.
The 22-year-old from Chicago was a second-round pick (63rd overall) in the 2018 draft and was the Diamondbacks’ minor league player of the year in 2021. Thomas hit .277 with four homers and 14 RBIs in 24 games at Reno in 2022.
He doubled in the fifth inning for his first big league hit, scored on Márquez’s throwing error and finished 1 for 3.
“A double off the wall for your first major league hit, it’s a great moment, a great moment for his family,” Lovullo said. “Everybody who’s had the opportunity to get their first major league hit, it’s going to be a great day of celebration.”
Arizona also placed catcher Carson Kelly on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to May 5, with a left oblique strain.
Rockies: LHP Austin Gomber (2-2, 3.58 ERA) has three straight quality starts heading into Monday’s game at San Francisco. He’s allowed four earned runs and struck out 20 in that span.
Diamondbacks: FHP Humberto Castellanos (2-1, 4.12), Monday’s starter against Florida, has gone 2-1 with a 3.78 ERA in four starts after opening the season in the bullpen.
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