Diamondbacks can't capitalize on big rally, lose to Mets in 10

Ketel Marte pursed his lips, holding his bat out from his stomach and turning clockwise, slowly, away from home plate and back to the Diamondbacks dugout. He didn’t want to believe it, not when Seth Lugo’s 1-2 curveball appeared to miss the strike zone by a solid inch or two, but his strikeout put the Diamondbacks’ comeback on the brink of being extinguished.

Two batters later, when Christian Walker popped out to shallow centerfield, that became the fate of Arizona’s night, as it lost, 6-5, to the Mets in 10 innings, falling to 5-9 on the season.

For two weeks, these losses followed a template. The Diamondbacks would get good starting pitching, decent bullpen work and abysmal offense. Through 11 games, their team batting average sat at .156, even as players and coaches alike extolled the quality of their bats, promising that hits and runs would soon follow.


They have now, over the past three days. Arizona has averaged 6.7 runs and 9.0 hits per game since Wednesday, up from 2.0 and 4.8, respectively, in its 3-8 start.

“Those little things, we've done well over the past couple games, where we have executed and scored some runners from third base with less than two outs by having a good approach,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.

Unlike in two wins to close a four-game set in Washington, though, the Diamondbacks’ offensive improvement wasn’t enough Friday night.

Early on, right-hander Zac Gallen continued the most promising trend of the Diamondbacks' young season — entering Friday, its starting pitchers had the third-best ERA of any group in baseball. Gallen commanded his fastball well, using the pitch to strike out four consecutive batters across the first and second innings before getting Robinson Cano with a curveball in the dirt to make it five strikeouts through two.

He ultimately struck out seven in five innings of two-hit ball, only allowing one run on a bloop single.

“I get ahead of hitters (when I command my fastball),” Gallen said. “So I'm in attack mode. I can go to any pitch from there. It allows me to tunnel. Off of that pitch, I can go a bunch of different avenues. Just being ahead and then it just gives me the ability to stay unpredictable.”

Gallen, though, is still building up his pitch limit after the abbreviated spring training. On Friday, the Diamondbacks set his limit at 85 pitches, meaning he likely wouldn’t have been able to get through the sixth.

“In a perfect world, … we would've sent him back out there but I didn't want to leave him out there with a potential of not finishing an inning,” Lovullo said.

So instead, Lovullo turned to his bullpen, which promptly enabled New York to blow a 1-1 game open with four runs across the next two innings.

That, though, wasn’t the end of Arizona’s night, standing in stark contrast to its anemic offensive effort that marred the first two weeks. Outfielder Daulton Varsho knocked in a run with a sac fly in the seventh and Christian Walker redeemed a critical sixth-inning strikeout with a two-run eighth inning homer into the left-field bullpen.

That set the stage for Varsho, who came to the plate with two outs in the ninth against right-hander Edwin Diaz.

Diaz left a slider over the middle of the plate and Varsho turned on it, sending a fly ball deep into right field. When Mets’ right fielder Starling Marte leapt at the fence, Varsho thought he had come up inches short. Then, just as his disappointment started to set in, the Chase Field home run music played and Varsho, rounding second base, realized he had tied the game.

“Starling's a really good athlete and I've seen him do it many times before so I thought he did catch it,” Varsho said.

That was as good as Arizona’s night got.

The Mets scored their 10th inning ‘ghost runner’ when a groundout moved Jeff McNeil to third and an infield hit from Marte, overturned by video review, plated him with two outs. The Diamondbacks’ chances of repeating that feat took a blow when left fielder Cooper Hummel struck out on five pitches, failing to advance Jake McCarthy. That one at-bat decreased Arizona’s win probability by 16.1%, their worst offensive plate appearance of the night.

“I felt like there were some scratch runs that we could've had a little bit better approach,” Lovullo said. “.. We could've executed a little bit better in the bottom of the 10th inning by getting the runner over to third base.”

Then, a batter later, came Marte’s controversial strikeout looking, which left Lovullo picking his words carefully postgame.

“Very,” Lovullo said simply when asked about his frustration. “I'm not in the mood to get fined by MLB.”

Theo Mackie covers Arizona high school sports and Phoenix Rising FC. He can be reached by email at and on Twitter @theo_mackie.

Subscribe to today.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Diamondbacks can't capitalize on big rally, lose to Mets in 10