3 takeaways from D-backs' opening win 

July 20th, 2021

PHOENIX -- The D-backs smacked three home runs and got an outstanding pithing performance from as they beat the Pirates, 4-2, on Monday night at Chase Field.

Here are three things to know about the game:

1. Smith was outstanding
The last time Smith took the mound was just before the All-Star break and it didn't go well for him as he allowed nine runs in just over an inning at Dodger Stadium.

Monday, was a different story as he used his changeup to befuddle the Pirates hitters through the first six innings of the game. It wasn't until the seventh when Pittsburgh was able to put anything together against him, but both of the runs came after he had departed with two outs and runners at first and second.

"I had a lot of time in between my outings to think about that last one," Smith said. "And I mean people tell you to forget about it, but I'm the type of person that doesn't forget. I kind of let it burn inside and fuel me to do better. Because that was embarrassing. Nobody wants to go out there and give it up like that. Nobody wants to get embarrassed like that. So I just throw it into the fire and let it drive me."

2. The D-backs' starting rotation is coming together

The rotation was decimated by injuries in the season's first half with every pitcher in the expected rotation, except for Merrill Kelly, spending time on the injured list, or in Smith's case, the bullpen.

Starting with Madison Bumgarner on Friday and followed by Zac Gallen the next day, the D-backs starters are coming back from the injured list. Taylor Widener, who missed a good chunk of the first half, will start Tuesday night's game vs. the Pirates.

In these last four games, Arizona's starters have compiled a 2.73 ERA and that's a big reason the D-backs are 2-2 in those games. They should have been 3-1, but the bullpen gave up the game for Gallen.

"Fantastic job," manager Torey Lovullo said. "I mean, it was a great mixture of pitches. Quick early outs. It's consistent with what we've been getting over the past several starts from our starters."

3. There was some drama in the D-backs dugout
It was anything but a quiet night in the Arizona dugout with David Peralta and Eduardo Escobar exchanging words at one point, Smith showing a little too much frustration after being taken out and for good measure a bat flew into the dugout.

The Peralta-Escobar exchange happened after the bottom of the third inning. Escobar was on third during that inning when Peralta hit a smash up the middle that struck Pirates starter Chase DeJong in the leg. Escobar did not score from third on the play.

At the end of the inning, Escobar called Peralta, who was heading out to his position, to come back in the dugout and the two exchanged some words.

Peralta said it was a misunderstanding with Escobar thinking that Peralta's frustration was about him not scoring on the play. Peralta, however, said he was frustrated that the ball hit the pitcher and he was out at first instead of getting a base hit on the play.

As for Smith, he never wants to come out of a game and Lovullo had no problem with him arguing to stay in. The manager was less pleased with Smith throwing a water bottle and yelling as reliever Brett de Geus allowed two of his runners to score.

"I probably could have handled that better," Smith said. "My intentions are never to show a manager up, or show anybody up, especially Torey. He's a great person and even a better manager. I just let my emotions get the better of me and I need to keep that in check."