PHOENIX -- Taijuan Walker limited the Braves to one earned run in six innings in the D-backs' 8-3 loss at Chase Field on Tuesday. But his pitching line wasn't the reason he received the lineup card and a game ball after the outing.In the fifth inning, Walker blasted a 455-foot
PHOENIX -- Taijuan Walker limited the Braves to one earned run in six innings in the D-backs' 8-3 loss at Chase Field on Tuesday. But his pitching line wasn't the reason he received the lineup card and a game ball after the outing.
In the fifth inning, Walker blasted a 455-foot homer that landed halfway up the left-field bleachers.
It was Walker's first career home run, which left his bat with an exit velocity of 109.9 mph, per Statcast™, the hardest-hit homer by a pitcher other than San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner since Statcast™ was introduced in 2015. Bumgarner has hit four home runs that ranged from 109.4-112.5 mph over the last three years.
Walker raised his career batting average to .195 after his two-hit game. He also had an infield single in the second. Walker entered with just one extra-base hit in 30 previous career at-bats.
"It was awesome -- 0-2 and I was expecting a slider," Walker said, "but I got a fastball, so I just put a good swing on it."
The Braves smashed four homers, three of which came after Walker exited. None of them went as far, or had a greater exit velocity, than Walker's shot.
Just as he has been for the past two months, Walker was steady on the mound. He held Atlanta to three hits and one walk. The lone earned run he allowed came on a Matt Kemp solo shot in the sixth.
Walker has allowed three or fewer earned runs in 11 of his last 12 starts, lowering his ERA to 3.47.
"He's had some really good outings since he came off the DL with the blister issue," manager Torey Lovullo said. "It's been a very lively fastball with an extra gear on it. What he was not doing was throwing all of his pitches while he was going backward with that little nicked up finger. So he had a couple of starts where he was trying to protect himself, and he was still getting by on just a couple of quality pitches, and now, you're throwing a pitch in there that's been very effective in the changeup."
Jarrid Denney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Phoenix.