A pattern of relentlessness surfaced in the opening games of the Arizona Diamondbacks season.
After the Arizona Diamondbacks opening day dramatic win, shortstop Chris Owings told Venom Strikes, that “this team will not quit.” Two games after Owings’ walk-off single, the Diamondbacks displayed the same resiliency which characterized their opening day triumph.
In gaining an 8-6 victory over the San Francisco Giants before 14,675 in Chase Field Wednesday night, the Diamondbacks showed the kind of character which manager Torey Lovullo told Venom Strikes is destined for championship teams.
Down by three midway through Wednesday’s game, the Diamondbacks took a page from that opening day win and rallied to deadlock matters. As was the case in the opener, there were two outs in their half of the fifth inning when the Diamondbacks affixed their blinders.
Aided by an error from first baseman Brandon Belt, which allowed two key runs in the fifth, the Diamondbacks then managed to tie on a RBI double from Yasmany Tomas in that frame. Later, the Diamondbacks picked up a pair of runs in each the sixth and seventh to move to 2-1 on the season. This is the first time in five years that Arizona captured two of their first three games.
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Afterward, Lovullo told Venom Strikes he has been able to detect one important characteristic.
"This team has shown a great relentlessness. I’ve seen only three games so far and I’m impressed by their communication. It’s the way they communicate among one another which is so encouraging. For me, that’s a very powerful moment among the players."
The essence of communication is one Lovullo’s strong building blocks. That was evident in the Giants’ eighth inning Wednesday night. With the Diamondbacks up by three, the Giants had the bases loaded and two outs. Lovullo went to the mound, pulled reliever Andrew Chafin and brought in Tom Wilhelmsen.
As soon as Wilhelmsen arrived at the mound, Lovullo left. At that point, the four infielders, catcher Chris Iannetta and Wilhelmsen were left alone to plot out the situation. After the players had concluded their meeting on the mound, Wilhelmsen induced outfielder Chris Marrero to fly to center and end the threat.
That prompted outfielder A. J. Pollock, with a 3-for-5 night and now batting .500 (7-for-14) to tell Venom Strikes of a changed disposition in the clubhouse.
"There’s an open-door policy here, but players are communicating among ourselves. We’re feeding off each other and guys are sharing with each other. That’s pretty unique around here. We just have to keep battling, keep scratching. There’s a lot of confidence right now."
Moving into elite company
During Wednesday’s game, Paul Goldschmidt stole the 100th base of his major-league career. He became one of five first basemen in baseball history with 100 home runs and 100 stolen bases. The others are Jeff Bagwell, Andres Galarraga, Derrek Lee and Dan Driessen.
The announced crowd of 14,675 was the second smallest home gathering in franchise history. The smallest crowd was 14,110 last July 5 against the San Diego Padres.
The smallest crowd in franchise history was 4,340 at Montreal on May 1, 2001.
The Giants series concludes Thursday night. That’s when lefty Robbie Ray (5-12, 4.90 ERA for 32 starts) takes on right-hander Jeff Samardzija (12-11, 3.81 ERA in 32 starts).
Then, the American League champion Cleveland Indians move in for the weekend. In the opener Friday night, look for right-hander Shelby Miller to make his initial start of the season for Arizona. He will draw righty Josh Tomlin as his mound opponent. On Saturday, Zack Greinke faces Trevor Bauer. In the finale Sunday, Patrick Corbin takes on former Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber.