The 31-year-old Bumgarner (4-2) is starting to become the pitcher the Diamondbacks envisioned when they signed the four-time All-Star to an $85 million, five-year deal prior to the 2020 season.
“He’s on an unbelievable run,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “And he deserves it.”
Against the Marlins, Bumgarner was completely in control, giving up only four hits that all came in different innings. He needed just 84 pitches to get through his outing and even added a sacrifice fly at the plate for his first RBI of the season.
Bumgarner pitched seven hitless innings for a complete game that doesn’t count as a no-hitter in the finale of a doubleheader against Atlanta on April 25 and is in the midst of a terrific five-game stretch that includes just three earned runs allowed over 30 innings.
“There’s a lot more conviction in my pitches,” Bumgarner said.
MadBum’s about-face has been a welcome change after a terrible 2020. The left-hander slogged through his worst season, finishing 1-4 with a 6.48 ERA. Even more alarming, his fastball rarely broke 90 mph and it was fair to wonder if the Diamondbacks had a made a huge mistake giving him a big contract.
Bumgarner said he changed a few things five starts ago in Washington but didn’t want to talk about them because he didn’t want to “throw anybody under the bus.” He said he went back to a familiar approach that’s helped his results.
These days, it appears he has plenty left in the tank. His fastball was routinely in the 92-93 mph range against the Marlins and he struck out a season-high nine.
“I feel confident throwing the ball to all four corners, four quadrants,” Bumgarner said. “That’s what I try to do and then expand off of that.”
The Diamondbacks broke the game open in the fifth when they sent 11 batters to the plate, scored five runs and pushed to a 6-0 lead. That chased starter Pablo López (0-3), who gave up six earned runs over 4 1/3 innings.
“He was on a pretty good roll and then (Arizona) did a nice job of forcing him up in the strike zone,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “Didn’t chase. Got some good pitches to hit.”
Bumgarner narrowly missed a three-run homer, settling for a sacrifice fly on a ball that carried to the left-field warning track. The big blow came when David Peralta hit a two-run double to right field. Pavin Smith and Eduardo Escobar also had RBI singles.
Nick Ahmed smacked a solo homer into the left-field bullpen to give the Diamondbacks a 1-0 lead in the second. The shortstop has slowly performed better after starting the season in a 3-for-41 (.073) slump. The homer pushed his average above .200 for the first time in about a month.
The Marlins cut Arizona’s lead to 6-3 in the eighth by scoring three runs off reliever Kevin Ginkel. Jesús Aguilar hit a two-run homer during the rally, which ended when Chris Devenski struck out Brian Anderson.
Arizona piled on five more in the ninth, including Cabrera’s three-run homer, and finished with 15 hits.
Marlins: C Jorge Alfaro (hamstring) and INF Jazz Chisholm (hamstring) are both starting a rehab assignment with the team’s Triple-A team in Jacksonville, Florida. … RHP Elieser Hernandez (biceps inflammation) threw a bullpen. Mattingly said Hernandez would probably need a few rehab starts before returning.
Diamondbacks: OF Ketel Marte (hamstring) came to Chase Field and went through a workout, including batting practice, fielding practice and running drills. Marte said he feels close to 100% and could play in games within a week. Lovullo didn’t commit to a timetable but said Marte looked “fantastic.” … RHP Taylor Widener (groin) threw a bullpen Monday and Lovullo said Widener was feeling good. The manager said Widener would throw a simulated game Thursday of around 50-55 pitches. … 1B Christian Walker (oblique) left the game late after aggravating the same injury that put him on the injured list earlier this year.
COME AND GET IT
There was a mobile medical trailer outside Chase Field by the ticket windows offering COVID-19 vaccinations to the public.
The four-game series continues Wednesday when Arizona sends RHP Zac Gallen (1-1, 3.04 ERA) to the mound. The Marlins hadn’t decided on their starter and will likely go with a combo effort from several pitchers.