The Arizona Diamondbacks completed their first undefeated homestand in almost three years with Tuesday afternoon’s 10-1 defeat of the Oakland Athletics, and they hope to take the momentum of a six-game winning streak on the road to Oakland for two games starting Wednesday night.
Ever since he made an error Monday night that allowed the A’s to score the tying run in the eighth inning, Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed scored the winning run in that game, hit a three-run home run and drove in five runs. The latter two achievements happened Tuesday.
Some timely hitting and solid starting pitching of late have helped Arizona gain ground on the second spot in the National League West.
“I felt like we would hit our stride and start clicking at some point,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “We just had to be patient as a coaching staff and keep talking to the guys about good habits that they were showing us, and good things were going to come.”
Lovullo stressed the importance of not taking anything for granted, even though his team is 10-3 since a 3-8 start to the season.
“We’ve got to keep the hammer down and keep doing what we’re doing, and going out with the expectation that we’re going to win baseball games by being good smart hitters each and every at-bat,” Lovullo said.
One positive sign was the five innings turned in by starting pitcher Luke Weaver, who hadn’t escaped the fourth inning until Tuesday. A big lead helped, but Weaver struck out six and allowed only one run on three hits.
Now Arizona sends its most effective starting pitcher this season, right-hander Merrill Kelly, to the mound to face the A’s in Oakland on Wednesday.
Kelly (3-1, 1.71 ERA) has gone 7-2 with a 1.97 ERA in his last nine starts dating back to 2019 and has not allowed a run in 11 innings. He will be making his first career start against the A’s.
Oakland dropped two straight in Phoenix, and the Diamondbacks got the attention of the A’s, who still lead the American League West.
“They’ve played us pretty well for these last two games,” A’s outfielder Stephen Piscotty said. “You can tell that they’ve got a lot of young talent. They’ve got a good lineup one through nine, and it seemed like they weren’t giving away many at-bats.”
The A’s are 9-3 at home this season and will start back-to-back left-handers against Arizona on Wednesday and Thursday. It’s Jesus Luzardo up first.
Luzardo (1-0, 4.79 ERA) is set to make just his fourth career start, and the left-hander will look to atone for allowing six runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings against the San Francisco Giants in his most recent outing.
Luzardo, just 22 years old, has 20 strikeouts and nine walks in 20 2/3 innings of this season.
–Field Level Media