ARLINGTON, Texas – For years, a date with Yovani Gallardo was a nightmare for the Diamondbacks. Over a stretch that lasted more than a half-decade, they lost eight consecutive games he started against them.
The Diamondbacks, of course, are a vastly different team than they were when they first saw him in 2007, Gallardo a vastly different pitcher, and facing him now constitutes something entirely different: a golden opportunity.
Paul Goldschmidt smashed a first-inning homer off Gallardo, lining his sixth pitch of the night into the left-field seats to put the Diamondbacks ahead. They scored again an inning later, and by the fourth, Gallardo was gone, and the Diamondbacks were on their way to a 6-4 victory at Globe Life Park.
BOX SCORE: Diamondbacks 6, Rangers 4
Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo talks about his offense’s ability to tack on runs and left-hander Patrick Corbin’s sharp night vs. Rangers.
It was a game that had a similar feel to their Sunday victory in Cincinnati. It wasn’t a must-win – those don’t really exist in August – but it seemed to carry extra weight.
They already had lost the opener of this brief stopover in Texas, their third defeat to a last-place team in the first four games of this trip. That already felt like more than enough losses for them to possibly regret come September.
Left-hander Patrick Corbin worked seven sharp innings. He rarely found himself in trouble, but when he did he managed to limit damage. The bullpen was effective, as well, with Andrew Chafin, Yoshihisa Hirano and Brad Boxberger getting the final six outs.
And the offense, after pouncing on Gallardo early, continued to tack on runs as the game progressed, something it has struggled to do for much of this season.
But it began with their work against Gallardo. One out into the game, Goldschmidt jumped ahead in the count 2-0, then got a perfectly hittable pitch, a 91 mph fastball over the inner-third of the plate. He clobbered it, and his 27th homer of the season gave the Diamondbacks a 1-0 lead.
In the second, a Ketel Marte double set up another run, and in the fourth, Daniel Descalso pulled an RBI double into right-center field, then scored on a wild pitch a few pitches later.
Diamondbacks lefty Patrick Corbin gave up three runs in seven innings against the Rangers on Tuesday night.
Alex Avila’s solo homer in the sixth gave the Diamondbacks a 5-1 lead, and after the Rangers scored twice off Corbin in bottom of the inning, Jon Jay put them back in front by three runs with a run-scoring single in the eighth.
“We’ve (tacked on runs) in spurts but not as consistently as I know these guys are capable of doing,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “When you just have a quality at-bat at the right time, it just sends a great signal, a great message. Adding on runs is the high side of that. It’s something we talk about. We’re very conscious about it.”
Said Corbin: “I think we’re the best team in baseball at scoring in the first inning. Especially on the road, when you get a couple runs there early and get the lead and then add on some runs, it’s huge. It gets a good feeling in the dugout there and we were able to do that today.”
Corbin had never faced the Rangers before, and their unfamiliarity could have worked in his favor early. He allowed a leadoff single to Shin-Soo Choo to open the first, then retired the next nine batters he faced. When the Rangers strung together hits in the sixth, Corbin kept things from spiraling, holding them to two runs and striking out slugger Joey Gallo to end the inning.
It was the second time Corbin struck out Gallo, and he also held another of the Rangers’ left-handed power hitters, Ronald Guzman, hitless in his three at-bats against him.
“I think I pitched them the best tonight,” Corbin said. “I made some quality sliders down and away, snuck some fastballs by them. They can do some damage if you make mistakes. I just tried to stay away from that.”
Reach Piecoro at (602) 444-8680 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @nickpiecoro.