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Jun 30, 2024 8:48 am

D-backs aim for series win over A’s, break-even homestand

ketel marte

The Arizona Diamondbacks will get a chance to salvage their homestand when they go for a second consecutive win over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday in Phoenix.

A slumping club that hasn’t scored more than six runs in a game since June 16, the Diamondbacks didn’t make much out of 12 hits Saturday. But three runs turned out to be plenty to avenge a 9-4 loss on Friday and draw even in the three-game set.

Arizona opened its six-game homestand with two losses in three games against the Minnesota Twins and aim to end it at .500.

That record this week belies the production of star second baseman Ketel Marte, who drove in the first run in Saturday’s 3-0 victory as part of a three-hit day.

Marte has gone 9-for-18 on the homestand with three doubles, two home runs, five runs and six RBIs. He has two of the club’s three homers over the past five games.

Saturday’s double and two singles came on “Marte Party” weekend, during which the Diamondbacks hope fans will vote for him to start at second base for the National League in the upcoming All-Star Game. Marte and the San Diego Padres’ Luis Arraez are the finalists.

Marte’s five hits in the two games against the A’s have raised his average to .290 as he hopes to earn a nod many thought he deserved a year ago but didn’t get.

“I think he’s been very motivated on a different level from the first day of spring training,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “Last year at the break, he had numbers that would have indicated some consideration, but he didn’t get it, and I think it really bothered him. And I know he’s very motivated to change that.”

Marte will take his hacks Sunday against someone he’s never faced before: A’s right-hander Luis Medina (1-3, 5.63 ERA). Medina lasted just three innings, giving up four runs, in his most recent outing, a 5-1 road loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Monday.

In his only previous appearance against Arizona, Medina made his third major league start last May at home against the Diamondbacks in a 5-3 loss. He served up home runs to Christian Walker and Corbin Carroll but allowed just one other hit in six innings.

Marte didn’t start that game, coming on late as a pinch hitter and defensive replacement. He wound up going 2-for-2, collecting both hits after Medina had exited the contest.

In a duel of second-year big-leaguers, Medina is scheduled to be opposed by Diamondbacks right-hander Brandon Pfaadt (3-6, 4.45). Pfaadt has pitched at least five full innings in all 16 of his starts this season and enters Sunday’s game having completed at least six innings in each of his past three outings.

He has never faced the A’s, who have dropped four of five entering the final game of their six-game road trip.

The week has been a good one for new Oakland third baseman Armando Alvarez, a 29-year-old who celebrated his first big-league promotion with six hits in his first three starts before going 0-for-3 on Saturday.

Alvarez is expected to get his first of what could be many home starts when the A’s head back to Oakland to host the Angels on Tuesday.

“I’m just grateful and humble for the opportunity,” Alvarez said. “You play every day hoping this day would come.”

–Field Level Media

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