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Diamondbacks Ride Brandon Pfaadt’s Excellent Start to Defeat Reds

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Brandon Pfaadt pitches against the Cincinnati Reds at Chase Field on May 15, 2024.
May 15, 2024; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon Pfaadt (32) throws in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Pfaadt’s outstanding start set the tone for an impressive Diamondbacks win over the Cincinnati Reds. A strong day from Pfaadt, the bullpen, and a couple of clutch hits in the eighth inning was enough for the team to walk away with a 2-1 win to take the series.

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“It was all built off really good pitching and around what Brandon Pfaadt did today,” said Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo. “It’s just the way you want to draw it up and win a baseball game, and win a series, which was really important for us.”

Pfaadt was excellent in the early going, retiring 14 of the first 15 batters he faced with seven strikeouts in 4 2/3 no-hit innings. The only baserunner through that point was a four-pitch walk to Jacob Hurtubise. However, he made a mistake with the sweeper to Santiago Espinal, who crushed out a home run to left to tie the game. That proved to be the only real mistake Pfaadt made on the day, as he tied his career-high in innings with seven and struck out nine Reds. He recorded his fourth straight quality start and fifth of the 2024 season.

“I turned to Dan [Carlson] in about the third inning and I said he’s got no-hit stuff,” said Lovullo. “I just liked the way the sinker was working. He was blending it with his four-seam and the sweeper, he had a quality changeup. He got into a great rhythm.”

Run support has been an issue when Brandon Pfaadt records a quality start, as he’s never left the game with a lead in any of his five quality starts and gotten no more than two runs of support. However, the team found a way to earn the win despite that to improve their record to 2-3 when Pfaadt records a quality start.

It looked promising early on, as Ketel Marte ripped a single up the middle to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. However, the next batter bounced into a double play to set the tone for the day offensively. Christian Walker provided the team’s only run of the day with a solo home run to lead off the second inning.

From that point forward, Reds left-hander Andrew Abbott shut down the Diamondbacks’ offense. Arizona only managed two hits and two walks against Abbott, who pitched seven strong innings with five strikeouts.

After the pitcher’s duel between Brandon Pfaadt and Andrew Abbott ended in a stalemate, the Diamondbacks took the lead in the bottom of the eighth. Pavin Smith came off the bench as a pinch hitter and smoked a double to right to put the go-ahead run on base. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. capitalized on the opportunity, slicing a ball down the right field line for an RBI double to take a 2-1 lead.

Armed with a one-run lead in the top of the ninth, Paul Sewald retired the side in order to record his second save of the season. It capped off a strong day for the bullpen, with Ryan Thompson and Sewald allowing just a single in two scoreless innings.

The Diamondbacks return to Chase Field on Friday to take on a resurgent Detroit Tigers team. They’ll face a tough customer in that game, as left-hander and American League Cy Young Award contender Tarik Skubal (5-0, 2.32 ERA) takes the mound for Detroit. Arizona will counter with struggling right-hander Ryne Nelson (2-2, 5.33 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 PM MST.

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Michael McDermott covers the Arizona Diamondbacks and Arizona Cardinals for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @MichaelMcDMLB

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