PHOENIX -- It took him 55 days, but Taijuan Walker fought his way back into the win column for the D-backs on Saturday.Walker tossed 6 1/3 innings and held the Giants to four hits and one run in Arizona's 2-1 win over the Giants at Chase Field. That effort notched
PHOENIX -- It took him 55 days, but Taijuan Walker fought his way back into the win column for the D-backs on Saturday.
Walker tossed 6 1/3 innings and held the Giants to four hits and one run in Arizona's 2-1 win over the Giants at Chase Field. That effort notched the right-hander his first win since June 21 and pushed his record to 7-7 in 22 starts this year.
"Came out standing on his stuff," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. "I thought the first pitch of the game was an indication of how he was feeling and was still very aggressive throughout the entire night with his fastball, and it seemed like the secondary stuff was there in the zone when he needed it and just a quality effort."
• D-backs Players Weekend gear available at MLBShop.com
Walker, who wore the nickname "Tai-Weezy" on his jersey for Players Weekend, retired the first 11 batters he faced before Jarrett Parker smashed a solo homer in the fourth to knot the game at 1.
J.D. Martinez gave the D-backs a 2-1 lead later that inning with a homer of his own, and that was all the offense Walker needed. He worked his way out of a jam in the fifth when he struck out Ryder Jones and Madison Bumgarner to strand San Francisco runners on the corners. He fought out of another jam in the sixth when he punched out Buster Posey with a 95.8 mph fastball to strand a runner at third.
The four hits Walker surrendered were the fewest he has given up in a start since July 30, and Saturday marked the second straight start in which he walked just one batter.
"The team won, so my job is to go out there and give the team the best chance to win, and that's what we did tonight," Walker said. "Me and Chris [Iannetta] had a really good game plan going in; we attacked with the fastball and got a lot of ground balls and escaped some big jams."
Walker's win-loss record isn't indicative of how he has thrown this year. Coming into Saturday, Walker was 4-0 in games in which he received three or more runs of support from Arizona batters. He was also tied for the sixth-most unearned runs in the Majors with 11 entering the day.
In the 10 starts during his winless streak, Walker allowed more than three earned runs twice and threw at least five innings in each outing.
"In his starts, he does exactly what we want our starters to do -- pitch deep into the game and hand it off with a chance for us to win the game," Lovullo said. "He's done that, and he's been very unfortunate. He's had some bad luck; maybe a pitch or two hasn't gone his way where it's created a little bit of a backwards reaction, but he just keeps fighting on. It's a surprise, yes, because he's been throwing the ball very well and I think he deserved better fate in several of those starts."
Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix.