Gallen's scoreless streak ends as 7th longest in history

Right-hander passes Brandon Webb for D-backs' franchise mark

September 12th, 2022

DENVER -- Coors Field tried to take center stage in the D-backs' 12-6 win on Sunday, attempting to steal the spotlight from and reestablish itself as the place where pitching records go to die.

Gallen had not allowed a run since allowing three in six innings in a 6-3 win in Cleveland on Aug. 2, spanning parts of eight games and 44 1/3 innings. The streak came to an end on C.J. Cron's RBI single in the bottom of the fourth.

However, it couldn’t dim Gallen’s moment, as he set Arizona’s franchise record and finished with the seventh-longest scoreless innings streak in AL/NL history, surpassing Brandon Webb for both.

“It's bittersweet, because coming into it, the franchise record was the one that I was most concerned about, really,” Gallen said. “Orel [Hershiser’s] 59 was another stratosphere for me. I just tried not to really concern myself with that one -- that was looking too far ahead. But I knew that the franchise record was within reach, so my job was just to throw up a scoreless first.”

Gallen retired the first nine batters he faced Sunday before Ryan McMahon singled to short to open the fourth. Yonathan Daza followed with a single to right to put men on first and second with nobody out and the heart of the order coming up. Cron then hit a sharp single to right to plate McMahon and break the streak. Rockies rookie Elehuris Montero added a two-run double to make it a 4-3 game through four.

“I'm glad it's over in the sense that it's a relief,” Gallen said. “I'm not going to have to worry about trying to be so perfect out there. But at the same time, it’s one of those things that you may never get a shot at again. Ultimately, it was a good run.”

In the first inning, Gallen passed Webb’s 2007 D-backs record, then he extended it another two innings.

“The way [Webb] finished, with three complete-game shutouts, you may never see that done again,” Gallen said. “He's been super encouraging. It's just awesome to be mentioned in the same conversations with a legend in the franchise.”

Gallen is being mentioned in other conversations as well after putting together a 10-game roll in which he went 8-0 with a 0.97 ERA. He’s 12-2 with a 2.50 ERA for the season, and he’s generating talk about the National League Cy Young Award.

“He should be in that conversation,” said manager Torey Lovullo. “Whether it's a lot of wins or not, it's about the guy that goes out there and piles up the innings and keeps teams in games, and Zac has done a very good job of that. You're looking at 40-plus innings of scoreless baseball. That puts him in the conversation.”

Sunday’s game was the second time Gallen has faced the Rockies during his streak, and they’re the only team he’s faced twice. He earned a win in Colorado on Aug. 13, throwing seven innings of three-hit ball in Arizona’s 6-0 win. He went six innings and allowed three runs on four hits while striking out 11 and walking none in the series finale.

He started feeling the pressure when the franchise record hit radar screens about the time the D-backs played in Kansas City three starts earlier on Aug. 24, and he was able to distract himself with the focus needed to take on playoff contenders.

“It kind of came in waves,” Gallen said. “The starts against Philly and Milwaukee, I was more concerned about the lineups, so that kind of took my focus [off the pressure]. Pitching in Colorado is never easy, so for me, I was able to take my attention away from the whole thing and just be like, ‘Hey, it's Colorado, it is what is.’”

In AL/NL history, Gallen's scoreless-innings streak trails only Hershiser (59), Don Drysdale (58), Bob Gibson (47), Zack Greinke (45 2/3), Carl Hubbell (45 1/3) and Sal Maglie (45).

Gallen’s streak of six straight starts of six or more scoreless innings also came to an end, leaving him tied for the AL/NL record with Drysdale (1968), Hershiser (‘88) and Greinke (2015), all three of whom accomplished their feat with the Dodgers.

“It's been pretty amazing,” Lovullo said of watching Gallen throughout the streak. “The work ethic, his ability to go out there and study what he needs to do. He hasn't wavered. I walked by him today when we were having breakfast, and he had his head down watching video, trying to dig into some numbers and different things.

"It's been a lot of hard work that's resulted in some amazing accomplishments, and he should be very proud of what he's done.”