Diamondbacks 6, Giants 5
Ketel Marte went 4-for-5 with a home run, two RBI, and a run scored, and rookie Daulton Varsho added two RBI of his own as the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated the San Francisco Giants, 6-5, Friday night at Oracle Park. The victory snapped a five-game losing streak.
Marte, the center fielder, opened the scoring in the top of the first after leadoff man Tim Locastro lined to right. He smoked the first pitch into the left field corner but foul. The next pitch ended up deep in the left-field seats for a solo homer. In the bottom of the inning, the Giants tied the game. A one-out single by left fielder Alex Dickerson and a two-out double to right by first baseman Brandon Belt tied the game.
The scoring resumed in the top of the third when Varsho led off with a hard single back up the middle. Locastro bunted him to second, nearly beating the throw to first, and Marte plated Varsho with a double. The Giants responded again in the bottom of the inning when Dickerson led off with a double and later scored on a two-out single by second baseman Donovan Solano.
Diamondbacks Retake Lead
In the top of the fourth, the Diamondbacks scored two. Consecutive singles by shortstop Nick Ahmed and designated hitter Josh Rojas to start the inning, coupled with center fielder Mauricio Dubon’s late throw to third, put two runners in scoring position. After second baseman Andy Young struck out, Varsho drove a single to right that scored both.
True to form, the Giants scored in their half of the inning, although they only scored one this time. It came when catcher Joey Bart led off with a single and Dubon doubled him home. These two plays combined to chase Diamondbacks starting pitcher Taylor Clarke from the game. Reliever Travis Bergen, who came over in the Robbie Ray trade, walked the first batter he faced. However, the next hitter grounded into a double play, wiping that runner out. The hitter after that fanned, retiring the side with the Diamondbacks holding a 4-3 lead.
Diamondbacks Extend Lead, Giants Chip Away
The score became 6-3 in the top of the fifth. First baseman Christian Walker drew a leadoff walk from new pitcher Sam Coonrod and advanced to third when third baseman Eduardo Escobar followed with a double. A sacrifice fly by right fielder Kole Calhoun and a single to left by Ahmed drove in the two runs. The Giants narrowed the gap to 6-4 in the bottom of the inning when a two-out single by shortstop Brandon Crawford scored Wilmer Flores from second.
Neither team scored in the sixth, but in the bottom of the seventh, Belt hit a leadoff home run off new pitcher Hector Rondón, who has had a gopherball problem all season. (He has allowed 3.5 home runs per nine innings.) Rondón settled down and retired the next three hitters in order, sending the 6-5 game into the eighth.
Crucial Double Play
The bottom of the eighth saw new pitcher Stefan Crichton run into trouble, but a tremendous defensive play saved the day for the Diamondbacks. Bart led off with a single, and when Dubon followed with one of his own, pinch-runner Steven Duggar advanced to second. Crichton plunked the next batter, right fielder Mike Yastrzemski, to load the bases.
What followed was one of the key plays of the game. Dickerson hit a fly to right that Calhoun caught. The gold-glover fired a rifle shot to home, forcing Duggar to stay at third. Dubon, thinking that Duggar was going to run home, broke from second and stumbled while trying to turn around and return. Walker, the cut-off man, alertly cut Calhoun’s throw and fired to second, where Ahmed tagged the retreating Dubon for a 9-3-6 double play. Third baseman Evan Longoria ended the inning with a grounder to third.
Diamondbacks Slam Door on Giants
Neither team scored in the ninth, with Kevin Ginkel earning his first save of the season for the Diamondbacks. The double play in the eighth was one that the struggling Diamondbacks desperately needed. When a team is on a long losing streak, plays that border on lucky seem to always go against said team. The Diamondbacks saw two plays like that in Los Angeles earlier in the road trip. This one, however, was one that saw the Diamondbacks benefit. “We’ve been a little bit snakebit and haven’t had a bunch of opportunities,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “But I feel strongly that we create those opportunities and we create the good or the bad that pop out of those…. Kole Calhoun threw a strike to Christian Walker, who threw a strike to Nick Ahmed, who was covering the base perfectly. …everybody was where they were supposed to be.”
With starter Taylor Clarke not pitching the requisite five innings, Bergen (1-0) earned the win in relief. Giants starter Tyler Anderson (1-3) took the loss. The series resumes Saturday evening with Madison Bumgarner (0-3, 9.35 ERA) facing his former team for the first time. Former Diamondback Trevor Cahill (0-0, 2.51 ERA) will start for the Giants.
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