Diamondbacks rally too late, get swept by Giants
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Arizona manager Kirk Gibson is trying to keep a positive spin on things, even as the Diamondbacks are falling further out of contention in the NL West.
It’s not easy.
After three consecutive one-run losses extended their losing streak to four, Gibson admitted he’s as frustrated as anyone trying to pull the Diamondbacks out of their tailspin.
“I feel like we got outplayed this series, I got outmanaged and they swept us,” Gibson said following Arizona’s 3-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Thursday. “I know it’s discouraging. We’ve just got to pick ourselves up. Everybody’s playing hard, probably pressing a little bit. We’ve got to find a way to relax and get back to playing.”
Not much went right for the Diamondbacks in this three-game series against the defending World Series champions. Arizona scored only five times and failed to score at all against San Francisco’s bullpen.
Not even a late rally could end the Diamondbacks’ slump.
“The only positive is we had a chance to win all three games, especially at the end today,” said right-hander Daniel Hudson, who pitched 6 2-3 innings. “It’s one of those things where we’ve got to push through it because it’s got to swing our way sooner or later.”
Arizona didn’t have much of a chance against San Francisco starter Matt Cain, who had his best outing in nearly a month. Cain (3-2) scattered seven hits over 7 2-3 innings in his first win since April 15.
The San Francisco right-hander also survived a scary moment in the seventh when he appeared to get hit on his pitching hand on a ball thrown by Hudson (3-5).
Cain, who was trying to put down a sacrifice bunt, grabbed his hand and immediately dropped to his knees as manager Bruce Bochy and trainer Dave Groeschner rushed out from the dugout.
Plate umpire Bill Miller ruled the ball hit Cain’s bat and was a foul. After getting checked out, Cain stayed in the game and got the bunt down, moving Eli Whiteside from second to third. Andres Torres followed with a double and Aubrey Huff’s RBI single made it 3-0.
“Matty’s so tough,” Bochy said. “He could have come out of that game but he wanted to stay in. He just kept going out there throwing up zeros.”
Nate Schierholtz added three hits and made an outstanding defensive play, and Whiteside doubled twice to help the Giants go 6-0 at home. They swept Colorado and then Arizona to extend their season-high winning streak to six games.
Gerardo Parra, Xavier Nady and Justin Upton had two hits apiece for Arizona.
The Diamondbacks scored twice in the eighth and had the tying run at third with one out in the ninth before Javier Lopez recorded his first save in nearly five years.
Hudson had five strikeouts and three walks and lost for the first time since April 21.
“Huddy threw the ball well,” Gibson said. “We scored five runs in the series in three games, so essentially he’s trying to shut them down. But overall he threw a great game for us. You’ve got to give the Giants some credit, they got some big hits in this series.”
Schierholtz, making his 10th start of the season, made big plays in the field and at the plate to give the Giants an early boost. He singled in Cody Ross in the second, then threw out Parra at second base after he singled off the wall in right the next inning.
Schierholtz, who grounded out with the bases loaded in the third, also beat out an infield single in the sixth but was stranded at third base.
The Giants tacked on two more and Cain made it stand up with his best outing in nearly a month. He left after giving up back-to-back singles with two outs in the eighth.
Reliever Jeremy Affeldt got Stephen Drew to hit a sharp grounder to first but the ball glanced off Huff’s glove for a hit. Parra easily scored from third to end the shutout bid.
Upton followed with an RBI single off Ramon Ramirez to cut the gap to 3-2 but Ramirez got Russell Branyan to ground out wit the tying run at second.
Ryan Roberts singled leading off the ninth for Arizona and took third on Chris Young’s pinch-hit single. Lopez, working in the closer role while Brian Wilson rested after pitching in five straight games, struck out Kelly Johnson then got Parra on a swinging strikeout to end the game. It was Lopez’s first save since Sept. 12, 2006.
NOTES: Parra’s error on Torres’ fly ball in the third was his first of the season. … Upton leads Arizona with 10 multi-hit games this season. … IF Stephen Drew, who had two hits and an RBI, is batting .385 with runners in scoring position this season.