Peacock's historic debut lifts D-backs in 13th

RHP picks up win and first MLB hit in extra-innings game on day of callup

April 7th, 2021

’s Major League debut was as unique as they come.

It would’ve been enough for Peacock to survive the trial by fire on the mound Tuesday night against the Rockies. Hours after being called up, the right-hander was inserted in the bottom of the 11th inning, tasked with keeping the D-backs in the game. He passed that test with flying colors, pitching three innings of high-leverage relief at the bandbox that is Coors Field.

But Peacock’s debut wasn’t confined to the mound. With the bullpen and bench depleted, Peacock found himself in the batter’s box when his turn in the lineup came around. Just like on the mound, when opportunity rang, Peacock answered.

In his first Major League at-bat, Peacock blooped a single into left field on the first pitch he saw. His knock wasn’t inconsequential, either, as it set the stage for Ketel Marte’s two-run double and the D-backs’ 13-inning, 10-8 win over the Rockies.

“It’s going to be something that we’re going to talk about for a long time,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said.

“I can’t stop smiling thinking about his night,” catcher Stephen Vogt said.

If the sum of Peacock’s debut sounds rare, well, that’s because it is. The last pitcher to debut in an extra-inning game and record a hit and pick up the win was Marino Pieretti with the 1945 Washington Senators.

Peacock didn’t log 12 innings on the mound like Pieretti did, but the 27-year-old rookie did have an opportunity to blaze around the bases. Along with his first big league hit, already a rarity for a bullpen arm, Peacock scored all the way from first on Marte’s double, showing off an impressive stride for a reliever to boot.

Not bad for a guy who left baseball nearly five years ago with a lingering arm problem and ended up working at his uncle’s sawmill.

“I hadn’t ran this much since preschool,” Peacock said. “I Forrest Gump’d around those bases. The helmet was a little big, so I’m sure that’s pretty funny.”

Of course, Peacock still had to close out the game following his 270-foot sprint, a mad dash that came in the Mile High city on a chilly night (first pitch was delayed 51 minutes by rain). He wasn’t perfect in his final inning after his trip around the bases, allowing an RBI double, but he managed to shut the door on the Rockies without much hassle.

“That just showed me a lot about him,” Vogt said. “Running that far for anybody, you’re going to be out of breath. It doesn’t matter how good of shape you’re in or what it is. Up here, it’s tough to catch your breath after doing that.

“For him, with two outs to go downstairs, get his composure, get his breath back and to go out and compete the way he did that final inning, it truly just shows you a lot about who he is and the competitor that he is.”

Peacock’s debut is an early candidate for best introduction by a rookie this season, but fun and quirks aside, his three-inning stint served the dual purpose of saving Arizona’s bullpen for the rest of the series. Before Peacock entered the game, Lovullo deployed Alex Young, Stefan Crichton, Taylor Clarke, Chris Devenski and Yoan López. Peacock was called up from the taxi squad earlier in the day, when Joakim Soria was placed on the injured list with a strained calf.

“He deserved everything that he got today,” Lovullo said. “He’s been waiting for this opportunity for his whole career, and the way he went out there and attacked and made pitches, kept balls on the infield when he needed to, it was an unbelievable night for Matt. I know that he’s gonna have many more really solid nights for us.”

Peacock’s debut fit right in with the adventure that was the D-backs' first soirée at Coors Field this season. The game featured four ties, five lead changes, 15 pitchers and seven home runs — three of which came from Ryan McMahon.

Lost in the shuffle was Luke Weaver’s first start of the season. He allowed three home runs, a career first, but held the Rockies to four total baserunners, yielded no walks and retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced, including six consecutive batters to end his outing. Weaver, like Peacock, even provided some additional fuel for the anti-DH crowd, knocking in a run with a single.

Along with Peacock, shortstop Geraldo Perdomo, Arizona’s No. 3 prospect per MLB Pipeline, logged his first Major League hit as well.

“These are those type of games that you’re looking for,” Lovullo said. “Today’s win told me a lot about this team.”

Injury updates
• Starter Zac Gallen (forearm) is scheduled to throw 70-80 pitches on Wednesday. On Monday, Gallen threw a complete bullpen session with several curveballs, the pitch that had led to his discomfort.

• Shortstop Nick Ahmed (knee) was cleared to hit in the batting cage and resume baseball activities.

• Outfielder Kole Calhoun (right knee surgery) is scheduled to play three to five full-speed innings of defense in his rehab work.