Arizona Diamondbacks Outslug Baltimore Orioles

Diamondbacks Orioles
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - JULY 24: Ketel Marte #4 of the Arizona Diamondbacks rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Baltimore Orioles during the sixth inning at Chase Field on July 24, 2019 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Diamondbacks 5, Orioles 2

PHOENIX, July 24 – Taylor Clarke threw six strong innings as the Arizona Diamondbacks, propelled by two home runs, defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 5-2, in an interleague matinee on Wednesday.

Orioles Bats Start Quietly, Diamondbacks Leave Runners Stranded

The Orioles did not get a hit off Clarke until the top of the third, when pitcher John Means hit a slow bouncer up the middle. Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed, moving to his left, made a nice play to get to the ball and fired a strong, accurate throw to first. Means, hustling the whole way, beat the throw by less than a step to notch his first major league hit. Clarke rendered it useless by striking out the next hitter, leadoff man and second baseman Jonathan Villar.

The Diamondbacks went down in order in the first but smacked a pair of two-out singles in the second. They failed to bring either around to score. Then, in the third, they notched a single and a walk with two outs but left them stranded again.

Bats Come Alive

The Orioles opened the scoring in the top of the fourth when center fielder Anthony Santander smacked a solo home run to left-center field. The Diamondbacks responded in the bottom of the inning by batting around. First, right fielder Adam Jones singled to left. After second baseman Wilmer Flores flied to left, shortstop Nick Ahmed walked. Then catcher Carson Kelly belted a homer to left, giving the Diamondbacks a three-run lead. Clarke followed with a single, rubbing salt into the wound. Then left fielder Tim Locastro walked, chasing Means from the game.

Reliever Gabriel Ynoa got out of the jam without anyone else scoring, but he made it interesting. Center fielder Ketel Marte grounded into a 5-6 force play at second, putting runners on the corners. Then third baseman Eduardo Escobar walked, bringing up first baseman Christian Walker – the ninth batter of the inning. When he grounded into a 6-4 force play, the inning ended.

Orioles, Diamondbacks Trade Runs

No more scoring occurred until the sixth, when Orioles right fielder Trey Mancini hit a two-out solo home run to left, making the score 3-2 in favor of the Diamondbacks. The next batter, Santander, doubled to put the tying run in scoring position, but Clarke struck out the next hitter, third baseman Renato Nunez, to end the threat and leave the game with a lead.

Diamondbacks Extend Lead

Marte hit a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth to extend the lead to 4-2. After a shutout inning of relief by Yoshihisa Hirano, the Diamondbacks sent seven men to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, scraping together a run. Flores led off with a single to left, then exited the game in favor of pinch runner Jerrod Dyson. Ahmed followed with a walk, advancing Dyson to second. A Kelly strikeout, a pitching change (lefty Richard Bleier), and a runner-advancing groundout to second later, Locastro batted with runners on second and third. He hit a swinging bunt between the plate and the mound. The runners stayed put, forcing the catcher to throw to first, but Locastro beat the throw, loading the bases. Marte then notched an easy RBI when he walked. Escobar then struck out, leaving the bases full. Despite the missed opportunity, the Diamondbacks still held a 5-2 lead.

Orioles Threaten in the Ninth

Closer Greg Holland took the mound in the ninth for the Diamondbacks. The first hitter to face him was Chance Sisco, who batted for shortstop Richie Martin. Holland threw five pitches: ball, foul, ball, ball, and ball four, putting Martin on first. Immediately the fans grew restless, getting horrific flashbacks to the game in Dodger Stadium a few weeks ago where he walked five straight batters in the bottom of the ninth to blow a one-run lead. Manager Torey Lovullo came to the mound with a trainer to make sure Holland was ok. Holland swore that he was, so Lovullo left him in the game. Pinch hitter Hanser Alberto then stepped to the plate, and Holland walked him on four pitches, drawing the boo birds. Lovullo pulled an irate Holland and brought in rookie Yoan Lopez.

Lopez shook off the two bad recent outings against the Milwaukee Brewers and performed brilliantly. Villar swung at Lopez’s first offering and flied to right. Next, Mancini also swung at the first pitch and flied to right, bringing up Santander with two out. The first pitch was a ball. Santander swung at the second pitch and hit a high pop foul to the left of home plate and about one third of the way toward third. Escobar settled under the ball and fell to the ground as he made the game-ending catch.

Clarke (3-3) earned the win, while Means (8-6) notched the loss. Hirano and Bradley each earned holds, while Lopez notched the first save of his career. The Orioles headed to Anaheim after the game, where they will open a four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night. The Diamondbacks have Thursday off for travel and will begin a four-game series in Miami against the last-place Marlins on Friday.

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