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Jun 14, 2024 4:03 am

D-backs’ Christian Walker on roll ahead of White Sox series

christian walker

Christian Walker showed off his power by hitting two homers that traveled a combined 868 feet on Thursday.

The Arizona first baseman will look to provide more muscle on Friday when the Diamondbacks open a three-game series against the struggling Chicago White Sox in Phoenix.

Walker has hit three homers in the past two games, including two long blasts during an 11-1 rout of the visiting Los Angeles Angels on Thursday. His three-run homer in the first inning traveled 404 feet, and his solo shot in the third was a 464-foot missile.

The multi-homer game was the 11th of Walker’s career.

Walker, 33, has 15 homers in 69 games, which puts him halfway to his third straight 30-homer season. He also hit 29 in 2019 but has never been a National League All-Star.

“It’s just a pure swing,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said of Walker. “If I was going to teach someone a swing, I’d tell them to watch Christian Walker. It’s just a really nice, simple approach. There’s a high level of intensity, and there’s a high level of intelligence on every at-bat.”

Arizona’s Joc Pederson had five RBIs on Thursday, including a grand slam in the seventh inning. Pederson used one of Walker’s bats.

“We had three homers with the ‘Walk’ bat,” Pederson said with a chuckle.

Walker was highly impressed with Pederson’s 430-foot slam that cleared the pool beyond the right-center-field wall.

“That was an awesome swing,” Walker said. “I had a cool perspective from the on-deck circle. It was driven straight out from where I was standing. That sweeper came in and he did a great job staying back and coming through for us.”

Arizona scored 23 runs while taking two of three from the Angels. The Diamondbacks have won eight of their past 12 overall games as they enter the set against a Chicago club they typically dominate.

Arizona had won 10 consecutive meetings dating to 2014 before losing the finale of a three-game set to the White Sox last September.

This season, Chicago owns the worst record in the majors and sits 34 games below .500.

The White Sox won for just the third time in 21 games when it edged the host Seattle Mariners 3-2 in 10 innings on Thursday night. Chicago averted a four-game sweep thanks to Andrew Vaughn’s RBI groundout in the 10th.

Vaughn and Luis Robert Jr. hit solo homers, and Garrett Crochet dominated with 13 strikeouts in seven innings. The left-hander allowed one run on two hits and two walks.

Each of the final three games of the series was decided by one run.

“We actually played four really good baseball games here,” Chicago manager Pedro Grifol said. “It’s a shame we were 1-3, but we’re leaving here with a win.”

The White Sox will send Chris Flexen (2-5, 5.06 ERA) to the mound against Arizona’s Ryne Nelson (3-5, 5.96) in a battle of right-handers on Friday.

Flexen is winless over his past six outings, going 0-2 with a 6.04 ERA in that span. He received a no-decision against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday after allowing two runs and two hits over five innings.

Flexen, who turns 30 on July 1, is 1-2 with a 7.11 ERA in five career starts against Arizona.

Walker is 3-for-4 with a homer off Flexen, while Ketel Marte is hitless in 12 at-bats.

Nelson is 0-2 with a 5.82 ERA over his past three starts. He lost to the San Diego Padres on Saturday, when he was rocked for six runs (five earned) and six hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Nelson, 26, picked up a win in relief in his lone career appearance against the White Sox last September. He gave up just one hit over 4 2/3 shutout innings.

–Field Level Media

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