An injured Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen, left, walks off the field past Diamondbacks third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera, right, during the third inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Friday, July 2, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
PHOENIX — It’s no secret Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen has had a difficult time staying healthy this season.
Projected as a potential Opening Day starter, Gallen missed the beginning of the year after suffering a hairline stress fracture in his right forearm. He missed more than a month before getting the green light to rejoin the team in April.
Fast forward to a month later and the starting pitcher would be placed on the injured list yet again, this time with a UCL sprain. He would miss another month of baseball before returning to action on June 17, making three starts with little to no qualms.
But following Friday night’s early exit in a 11-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants, it appears Gallen has been bit yet again by the injury bug.
Gallen’s start against the Giants was cut to just 2.0 innings with what the team is diagnosing as right hamstring tightness.
“He’s gonna get some imaging tomorrow,” manager Torey Lovullo said after the game. “We’re gonna keep our fingers crossed for the best possible news. I’ve said that to you guys probably 25 times this year and we’re going to continue to hope for the best.”
The pitcher clearly didn’t seem right from the start, allowing two walks to the first three batters he faced. Despite the early baserunners, Gallen was able to get out of the inning unscathed.
The same couldn’t be said for the second. Allowing another leadoff walk to begin the frame, Gallen quickly found himself with a no-out, bases-loaded situation following back-to-back singles.
The Giants would capitalize on the scenario, with LaMonte Wade Jr. giving San Francisco an early 1-0 lead thanks to a sac fly. Brandon Crawford would add to the visitors’ score with an RBI single.
Things continued to take a turn in the third inning.
After allowing back-to-back hits to begin the frame, one of which being a first-pitch home run from Alex Dickerson, Gallen came off the mound gingerly following a 2-2 offering to Wilmer Flores.
Gallen was immediately checked out by head athletic trainer Ryan DiPanfilo and manager Torey Lovullo before heading to the dugout.
“When I got out there I let the smoke clear a little bit, let the discussion happen between the pitcher and the training staff,” Lovullo said. “By the time I got up there I got some information that it was his hamstring and not his ankle. We thought he might have tripped. … At that point it was a no-brainer for me that he needed to be removed from the game.”
The starter, who hasn’t picked up a win since April 25, went just two innings, allowing three earned runs off of five hits and three walks. He also struck out three and is now 1-4 on the season with the Friday’s loss.
In Gallen’s place was pitcher Matt Peacock.
Peacock didn’t fare much better. After tossing two innings of scoreless ball, the pitcher was dinged with two runs in the fifth inning thanks to a pair of Giants doubles and a single. He would pitch one more inning before he was relieved by Joe Mantiply in the seventh.
Peacock allowed two earned runs on four hits over 4.0 innings pitched. He also notched a strikeout and a wild pitch.
As for the other side of the baseball, D-backs third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera accounted for the team’s first runs of the night.
Facing a 3-0 deficit, and having just watched its starting pitcher exit the game due to injury, Arizona came out swinging in the fourth inning. Nick Ahmed kicked things off with a leadoff single before Eduardo Escobar followed suit with a one-bagger of his own. Christian Walker loaded up the bases a batter later after being hit by an Alex Wood slider, making way for Cabrera.
With one swing of the bat, Cabrera trimmed the Giants’ lead to just one run, bringing in both Ahmed and Escobar with a two-run single. Arizona’s run total in the frame would stop there, though, as two strikeouts from Pavin Smith and Nick Heath and a Peacock force out brought the inning to a close.
The Giants would waste little time regaining a three-run lead, answering back with two more in the fifth.
A two-run home run from LaMonte Wade Jr. after a questionable defensive play from Arizona in the eighth inning would add two more runs to San Francisco’s tally.
“We’re so much better than what we did tonight,” Lovullo said of the team’s defensive miscues. “We need to tighten that up. We need to figure out what’s going on.
“They’re identifiable things and that is not Arizona Diamondback baseball. It was embarrassing, a couple plays were embarrassing tonight and we got to be better.”
The D-backs didn’t go away quietly, responding with a pair of dingers of their own in the bottom of the inning.
It all started with Escobar, who led things off with a solo shot to right field. The homer marked his 500th career RBI. Pavin Smith would get in on the action soon after with a two-out moonshot.
Unfortunately for Arizona, that would spell the end of its offense Friday night, with the D-backs failing to muster a ninth-inning comeback.
The Giants, on the other hand, would add four more insurance runs in the ninth off of a
The D-backs are now 22-24 when scoring at least four runs.
Arizona will look to get back into the win column Saturday in Game 3 of the series.
Tune to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station at 7:10 p.m. for all the action.