D-backs’ Zac Gallen bats, Martinez gets 1st save vs. Padres

The Arizona Diamondbacks turned to 22-year-old Justin Martinez fresh off a Triple-A recall for a four-hit shutout Thursday night against the top of the San Diego Padres lineup.

Martinez, filling a taxed bullpen, struck out Jake Cronenworth looking for a splitter to collect his first MLB save in his fifth career appearance, sealing a 3-1 win at Petco Park.

Zac Gallen battled through 6.1 one-run innings despite facing consistent hard contact to keep Arizona in position to win, and a pair of long balls from Tommy Pham and Gabriel Moreno was all it took.

The D-backs (62-60) have won three straight and five of their last six, three of which came against San Diego (58-64).

“It was a very intense atmosphere. Our boat just blew up after the last strike was called,” manager Torey Lovullo said after the game.

“We were all very excited for (Martinez). It was a good time for this team. This team plays good baseball. To be honest, we are gassed. I know this team is very tired coming off the altitude in Colorado. This was a tired team today that went out there and won a baseball game and that’s what I’m most proud of.”

Gallen cruised to 34 pitches through three innings, but the Padres made him work in the fourth and fifth innings with 50 pitches, 29 in the fifth.

A miscommunication and near collision between Pham and Alek Thomas in left center allowed Cronenworth to advance to second and lead off the fifth with a double. Trent Grisham brought in the runner with a single to right.

Gallen kept the Padres right there and went six 97-pitch innings. Manager Torey Lovullo sent Gallen back for the seventh, figuring Arizona used seven pitchers Wednesday after a bullpen game Tuesday against the Colorado Rockies and needed a stretch from its opener.

Xander Bogaerts led off with a line drive to right to Nick Ahmed and Lovullo pulled Gallen at 100 pitches. He finished the night with 6.1 innings pitched, one run, three hits, one walk and three strikeouts.

San Diego’s average exit velocity against him was 97.3 mph, and Gallen threw just three swings and misses. Regardless, it was his sixth straight outing of at least six innings and the Diamondbacks had a lead at the end of his start.

“We had taxed our bullpen pretty well the last two days, so this was a game I knew I had to go as far as I could,” Gallen said. “I didn’t feel particularly sharp early on. He was just trying to stay in counts, cut down on some contact and get some outs.”

Arizona took the lead in the fourth inning as Pham took a deep fly ball from Padres starter Rich Hill 430 feet into left-center for a two-run shot. It was his second homer as a D-back and 12th of the year. Pham has five hits and eight runs in his last six games and is riding an eight-game hitting streak.

Moreno gave the D-backs some insurance with an opposite-field solo home run inside the foul pole in the fifth inning. It was Moreno’s first home run since July 14, before he missed three weeks on the injured list with left shoulder inflammation. Thursday was his third start back.

At that point in the game, the two homers were the only hits from the D-backs and it remained that way until Ahmed hit a double down the right field line to lead off the eighth inning. Both teams had just three hits all night.

Kyle Nelson got the first out of the bullpen for Arizona and went four outs on three hits after replacing Zac Gallen.

Martinez — brought up from Triple-A Reno before the game with Luis Frias optioned — hit a looking Ha-Seong Kim with a 102 mph heater to end the eighth inning.

He homered in the ninth and walked Fernando Tatis Jr. on four pitches to start the frame, prompting pitching coach Brent Strom to come out for a visit. Juan Soto was grounded into a homer’s choice on a terrific play by second baseman Geraldo Perdomo, and Manny Machado struck out to follow.

After a second walk, Martinez fell behind 2-1 against Kronenworth after a pair of calls. He battled back to end the game after a pair of 102 mph heaters set up the splitter.

Martinez threw 29 pitches and only 15 hits, but he came through in the clutch for the D-backs who were trying to get their relievers back on track for the big weekend.

“A beautiful experience just to have the opportunity, right, and that it actually happened is a blessing,” Martinez said through an interpreter.

Closer Paul Sewald has picked up saves in four of the last five games and has been unavailable.

Martinez has eight career saves in the minor leagues and another three in the Arizona Fall League. He has been called up three times this season. The righty didn’t even stand before getting a pick-off in his first out, and allowed seven earned runs in 3.1 innings in his second taste of the majors.

“I’m really proud of him,” Lovullo said. “Look, he got on a plane this morning in Reno and he got here very, very early and his world was probably turning very quickly. As thin as we were in the bullpen, he had no idea what he wanted to do with it tonight and he went up and did it and it was fun for us to see.”

Wildcard match update

There were only six games on the MLB slate Thursday, and the D-backs gained some ground in the National League Wild Card race.

Arizona finished the night one game behind the Chicago Cubs for third place and 2.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants for second place.

Storm Watch

With Hurricane Hillary moving up the Pacific coast of Mexico, both teams are watching the forecast for the weekend, particularly Sunday.

“Sunday is the last time we’re going to play the Padres, so I think right now it’s in the hands of Major League Baseball as to what buttons we can push and what buttons we can’t push,” Lovullo said. “We know the storm is coming… and there’s a chance we’ll get washed away. I think it’s 50-50 at the moment.”

What’s next?

Game two of the four-game series begins Friday at 6:40 p.m. in San Diego.

Brandon Pfaadt will start for Arizona after striking out a career-high eight hitters against the Padres on Sunday. San Diego will send veteran right-hander Seth Lugo to the mound. Lugo allowed two runs in five innings Sunday at Chase Field in a 5-4 Diamondbacks win.

Merrill Kelly will match up against Yu Darvish on Saturday.

Watch the first game Friday night on 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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