PHOENIX (AP) — Christian Walker has hit nearly 100 homers in his big-league career, so he knows a well-struck baseball when he feels it.
The 459-foot moonshot he launched into the second deck at Chase Field ranks right up there with his best.
Walker hit his sixth homer in the past eight games, Zac Gallen threw seven quality innings and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Miami Marlins 5-2 on Monday night.
Walker needs three more homers to get to 100, which might not be a big milestone to some. But for the 32-year-old first baseman, who didn’t really get established in his big leagues until he was in his late 20s, it’s a sign that his hard work continues to pay off.
“To be honest, the numbers are cool, but as long as I’m showing up and contributing to the offense, wherever the totals fall, they fall,” Walker said. “Just to show up, feel competitive and be a part of his lineup is exciting.”
The Diamondbacks finished with 13 hits and improved to 20-15 this season. They’ve won four of their last five.
Walker got the scoring started on Monday in the fourth with a double into the left-center gap off Miami starter Braxton Garrett, scoring Emmanuel Rivera. Arizona’s cleanup hitter followed that up with his majestic homer off in the sixth that landed in the upper deck to push the D-backs ahead 2-1.
Walker’s blast came off his bat at 114.1 mph, which is the hardest hit ball at Chase Field this season. It was his ninth homer of the season after he hit a career-high 36 homers in 2022.
Arizona scored two more times in the sixth on RBI singles from Gabriel Moreno and Ketel Marte to take a 4-1 lead. Moreno had a three-hit night, including a double.
That was more than enough for Gallen (5-1), who cruised through Miami’s order, giving up just one run on five hits while striking out seven.
Gallen played for the Marlins before getting traded to the D-backs in 2019.
“My defense played really well back there behind me,” Gallen said. “They bailed me out a couple times. Just tried to make pitches. The bullpen was a little zapped the past couple days, so I just tried to get as deep in the game as possible.”
The Marlins were coming off a 5-4 win over the Cubs on Sunday that lasted 14 innings and taxed the team’s bullpen. It was the longest game in the big leagues this season.
Garrett (1-2) pitched well until getting roughed up in the sixth. The lefty threw 5 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on six hits while striking out six.
“I thought he did enough to win the game,” Marlins manager Skip Schumaker said. “He pitched really well. We needed someone to get into the sixth today and he did exactly what we needed him to do. We just ran into Gallen. That was kind of the story tonight.”
The Marlins have lost six of their past seven and fell to 17-19.
SEGURA GETS TOSSED
Marlins third baseman Jean Segura was ejected in the sixth inning after taking a called third strike. It was his third strikeout of the game in three at-bats and came in a crucial situation with runners on first and second with two outs.
The pitch Segura was angry about was a fastball that appeared slightly low and inside, but home plate umpire Mark Ripperger thought it nicked the corner. Segura angrily threw his helmet and bat to the ground and yelled as Ripperger responded with the quick ejection.