PHOENIX — — Manager Torey Lovullo admitted the Arizona Diamondbacks might have had a little hangover on Wednesday following a frustrating one-run loss.
Sending Zac Gallen to the mound cleared those bad feelings up in a hurry.
Gallen struck out 12 over 6 1/3 innings and stretched his scoreless streak to 28 innings, leading the Diamondbacks over the Kansas City Royals 2-0.
“It’s always nice knowing Zac is stepping on the mound for us,” Lovullo said. “He sets an unbelieveable tone for us, goes 6 1/3, no runs, allows us to get ahead and stay ahead.”
Arizona took two of three games from the Royals and finished a 3-4 homestand.
Gallen (4-1) gave up four hits and walked none. He struck out six straight batters in the fourth and fifth innings, one shy of the franchise record accomplished by Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling, both in 2001.
The right-hander — who finished fifth in the NL Cy Young Award voting last season — hasn’t given up a run since April 4 against San Diego. He’s no stranger to long scoreless streaks as the D-backs just celebrated his 44 1/3 inning scoreless streak from 2022 with a bobblehead giveaway last weekend.
“Would you believe me if I said I didn’t feel great?” Gallen said. “You know the cliché saying — you have your best stuff maybe five times (in a season), so the other 20 times, you’ve got to make it up.”
Even without his best stuff, Gallen’s only minor trouble came in the first inning when Vinnie Pasquantino and MJ Melendez singled with one out. Gallen struck out Edward Olivares and Michael Massey to end the threat.
Miguel Castro handled the eighth and Andrew Chafin threw the ninth for his fourth save in five chances. The first two Royals batters reached base on Chafin, but the lefty retired the next three, including Freddy Fermin on a strikeout to end the game.
Arizona has pitched four shutouts. Kansas City has been blanked six times.
Royals manager Matt Quatraro said Gallen’s ability to throw four pitches for strikes in any count makes him a tough matchup. Pasquantino said Gallen “does what a lot of people try to do and he does it really well.”
“He’s playing chess and he’s really good at it,” Pasquantino said. “He’s setting you up, not just for the next pitch, but for the following pitch after that. He’s moving your eyes around and he did a really nice job today.”
The D-backs didn’t do much on offense, but with Gallen on the mound, didn’t need much. Evan Longoria put Arizona ahead in the fourth on a broken-bat single into left field that scored Emmanuel Rivera.
Rivera, recalled Tuesday from Triple-A, had an RBI single in the fifth.
Ryan Yarbrough (0-3) gave up one run over four innings as Kansas City fell to 6-19.
Diamondbacks: Four-time All-Star Madison Bumgarner cleared waivers and was released. The left-hander was designated for assignment last week after starting the season with an 0-3 record and 10.26 ERA.
Royals: Start a four-game series at Minnesota on Thursday. Kansas City will start RHP Zack Greinke (0-3, 4.61 ERA) in the opening game while Minnesota counters with RHP Tyler Mahle (1-2, 3.32 ERA).
Diamondbacks: Open a three-game series at Colorado on Friday. Arizona will start RHP Merrill Kelly (1-3, 3.42 ERA) against Colorado LHP Kyle Freeland (2-2, 4.28 ERA).
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