SAN DIEGO - Top NL Cy Young Award contender Zac Gallen beat the San Diego Padres for the second straight start and Tommy Pham and Gabriel Moreno homered to give the Arizona Diamondbacks a 3-1 victory Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series between teams trying to keep their wild-card hopes from slipping away.
Each team had just three hits. The Diamondbacks won their third straight and the Padres lost for the eighth time in 11 games.
Gallen (13-5) held the Padres to one run and three hits in 6 1/3 innings while striking out three and walking one. The right-hander beat the Padres 3-0 in his previous start Saturday in Phoenix, throwing six innings of four-hit ball with eight strikeouts.
Rookie reliever Justin Martinez, pitching in just his fifth game, earned a four-out save, his first. He walked two in the ninth before punching out Jake Cronenworth to end it.
"A beautiful experience just to have the opportunity, right, and that it actually happened is a blessing," Martinez said through an interpreter.
Martinez was recalled from Triple-A Reno earlier in the day after a tough series at Colorado taxed the Diamondbacks’ bullpen.
"I’m really proud of him," manager Torey Lovullo said. "Look, he got on a plane this morning in Reno and got here very, very early and his world was probably spinning super fast. As thin as we were in the bullpen, he had no idea what were looking to do with him tonight and he stepped up and did it and it was fun for us to watch.
"That was a pretty intense atmosphere. Our dugout erupted after that final strike was called," Lovullo said. "We were all really excited for him. It was a good moment for this team. This team is playing good baseball. To be honest, we’re gassed. I know this group is very tired coming out of the altitude in Colorado. This was a fatigued team today that went out there and won a baseball game and that’s what I’m most proud of."
Arizona came into the night 1 1/2 games out of the third wild-card spot, while the Padres were 4 1/2 back. The Diamondbacks had been seven games above .500 on July 31 before losing nine straight games, including the opener of a three-game series against the Padres in Phoenix last weekend. They won the next two against the Padres and then took two of three at Colorado.
"We had taxed our bullpen pretty good the last couple of days so this was a game I knew I had to go as far as I possibly should," Gallen said. "I didn’t feel particularly sharp early. It was just trying to stay in counts, reduce some contact and get some outs."
The Padres took two of three against the AL-leading Baltimore Orioles earlier this week but have failed to play up to the expectations that come with having baseball’s third-highest payroll and making it to the NL Championship Series last fall.
Rich Hill (7-13), a 34-year-old lefty acquired from Pittsburgh at the trade deadline, lost his third straight start for the Padres. He retired the first 10 Diamondbacks batters before walking Corbin Carroll with one out in the fourth. Pham then drove the next pitch to center field, his 12th.
It was Pham’s fifth homer against the Padres in 15 games since the start of the 2022 season. He was with the Padres in 2020-21.
Moreno sent a drive into the home run porch in the right field corner leading off the fifth, his fourth.
Hill allowed three runs and two hits in five innings.
The Padres broke through against Gallen in the fifth. Cronenworth sent a drive to deep center that bounced off Alek Thomas’ glove as he and Pham, the left fielder, nearly collided. He scored on Trent Grisham’s single.
The top five in the Padres’ order went 0 for 17.
With Hurricane Hilary moving up Mexico’s Pacific coast, both teams are keeping an eye on the forecast for the weekend, particularly Sunday. "Sunday is the last time we’ll play the Padres, so I think right now it’s in Major League Baseball’s hands as far as what buttons we can push and what buttons we can’t push," Lovullo said. "We know the storm’s coming ... and there’s a chance we could get washed out. I think it’s 50-50 right now."
To make room for Martinez, the Diamondbacks optioned RHP Luis Frias to Reno.
Diamondbacks RHP Brandon Pfaadt (0-6, 6.91 ERA) and Padres RHP Seth Lugo (4-6, 4.16) are scheduled to start Friday night.