PHOENIX (AP) — The Diamondbacks did a little throwback to the 1980s on Monday night, swiping bags, bunting for singles and leaning on small ball to generate their offense.
Couple that approach with a dominant pitching performance by Zac Gallen and Arizona is pretty tough.
Gallen threw seven excellent innings, Ketel Marte had a crucial two-out, two-RBI single in the eighth and the Diamondbacks beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-0 in the opener of a four-game series.
“That's our style,” Diamondbacks third baseman Josh Rojas. "That's the way we have to play to win games. I don't think we're going to outslug people, that's not our game.
“We have a few select hitters in the lineup who can hit the two-run homer or three-run homer, but I think for the most part, the way we're going to win games is small ball, run the bases hard, take extra bases and chip away.”
Gallen (7-2) gave up just three hits and two walks while striking out eight. The seven innings matched a career high he’s reached 13 times in the big leagues. He threw just 89 pitches but manager Torey Lovullo opted to bring in All-Star lefty Joe Mantiply for the eighth.
The decision worked. Mantiply retired the Pirates in order in the eighth and Ian Kennedy handled the ninth for his seventh save.
Gallen said he had his full four-pitch arsenal working, which was a nice advantage.
“The goal of a pitcher is to try and make the strike zone as big as possible,” Gallen said. “It allows me to go to certain spots in different spots and be unpredictable.”
The D-backs scratched out a 1-0 lead in the sixth. Geraldo Perdomo reached on an error by Pittsburgh third baseman Michael Chavis before stealing second base. Rojas followed with a bunt single, putting runners at first and third with no outs.
Rookie Alek Thomas then grounded into a double play, but it still scored Perdomo.
The D-backs held that lead with some stellar defense. Rojas made a long throw from third base across the diamond to get the first out of the seventh, then right fielder Daulton Varsho got the second out by throwing out Bryan Reynolds, who was trying to go from first to third on a base hit.
Arizona earned a three-run lead in the eighth, loaded the bases with no outs. The next two batters couldn't extend the lead, grounding out weakly for force outs at home, but Marte came through, hitting a hard grounder through the right side to push the advantage to 3-0.
PIttsburgh's Tyler Beede delivered 3 2/3 scoreless innings in his second start of the season. The right-hander gave up two hits, walked one and struck out two. Manny Bañuelos (0-1) took the loss, giving up one unearned run over two innings of relief.
Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said the team had a couple rough moments on defense, but the real problem was a lineup that simply couldn't figure out a way to get to Gallen.
“Ultimately, we didn't score,” Shelton said. “Even if we lose that game 1-0, we still didn't score. And we didn't create a ton of opportunites to score.”
D-backs: Placed LHP Kyle Nelson (low back spasms) on the 15 day IL retroactive to Aug. 5. Called up RHP Edwin Uceta from Triple-A to take his spot on the roster.
The two teams play again on Tuesday night. D-backs LHP Tommy Henry (0-1, 7.20 ERA) will make his second big-league start. The Pirates will counter with RHP Zach Thompson (3-8, 5.15).
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports