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Jun 7, 2024 8:27 am

Ketel Marte bids to power D-backs past Padres again

Ketel Marte

Ketel Marte knows his importance to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“When I play (well), we are going to win a lot of games,” he said.

Marte played well on Thursday night in San Diego, where the Diamondbacks opened a four-game series with the Padres by taking a 4-3 win. Marte snapped a tie with a two-out RBI single in the seventh inning for Arizona, which will vie for its sixth win in seven outings on Friday in the second contest of the four-game series.

Marte enters the contest hitting .279 with 12 homers and 33 RBIs, numbers that over a full season would place him in the range of his 2023 performance. He batted .276 with 25 homers and 82 RBIs last season.

Marte started the season in fine form, rattling off a 21-game hitting streak that’s tied for the longest in MLB this year. But he carried an 0-for-22 skid into last weekend’s series at the New York Mets before figuring things out.

“It’s a long season and I never give up,” he said. “I’m the guy that works hard every day, no matter what happens. Right now, I’m just trying to help my team. I know that they need me out there.”

The Diamondbacks need everyone they can get with a bad run of injuries to the starting rotation. Lefty Blake Walston was the latest to get bitten as he landed on the injured list Thursday, canceling out his scheduled start for Sunday.

Arizona will hope for length out of right-hander Brandon Pfaadt (2-4, 4.32 ERA) on Friday night. He’s coming off a no-decision Sunday during his team’s 5-4 win over the Mets, lasting six innings and allowing four runs off five hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.

Pfaadt is 0-1 with a 2.89 ERA in three career starts against San Diego. That includes coming out on the short end of a 13-1 decision on May 4 when he permitted five runs (three earned) on 10 hits in six innings.

The pitcher who got the win that night, right-hander Michael King, will try to stop the Padres’ five-game losing streak on Friday. King (4-4, 3.82) received a no-decision on Sunday in a 4-3 loss at Kansas City despite working seven innings and yielding just one run on four hits and two walks while striking out four.

King’s six shutout innings last month in Phoenix, which saw him scatter six hits and strike out three without issuing a walk, marked his first career outing against the Diamondbacks.

While Arizona’s trending in the right direction, the same can’t be said for San Diego. Its five straight losses all have come by one or two runs, and offense has been a problem. The Padres have scored just 11 runs in that span, surrendering 17.

After Wednesday night’s 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, the Padres spoke like a team that knows it can’t afford to continue to drop games against beatable teams. But again on Thursday night, they couldn’t do anything about it.

In the past three weeks, the Padres have been swept by the Angels and Colorado Rockies, who are a combined 32 games below .500.

“I can’t ignore it,” manager Mike Shildt said of his club’s record against teams below .500. “I won’t ignore and I won’t excuse it … I don’t want to make it a thing. But trust me, I think about it. It’s something we’re aware of.”

–Field Level Media

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