Giants 4, Diamondbacks 2
On August 18, the Arizona Diamondbacks were 13-11 after a 10-1 blowout victory over the Oakland Athletics. They were in playoff position, and a blowout victory over one of the best teams in the American League made the season-opening struggles appear to be behind them for good. Since then, the Diamondbacks have gone 2-15. Sunday afternoon was the 15th of those 15 losses, and it saw the San Francisco Giants rally from a 2-0 deficit to win, 4-2.
The Diamondbacks started the game with a bang, as center fielder Tim Locastro led the game off with a home run to left-center. Designated hitter Kole Calhoun – riding a 0-for-22 cold streak – followed with a single to right. He advanced to third when left fielder David Peralta, up next, singled to center. After third baseman Eduardo Escobar struck out, second baseman Josh Rojas belted a deep fly to the warning track in center. Mauricio Dubon made an off-balance catch for the second out. Calhoun scored easily on the sacrifice fly. The off-balance catch also allowed Peralta to alertly tag and advance to second. Catcher Stephen Vogt could not continue the rally as he struck out to end the inning.
Giants Settle Down after Diamondbacks Take Early Lead
Escobar’s strikeout started a string of 12 straight Diamondbacks retired by Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto. Lefty Alex Young – the Diamondbacks starter – pitched well for the first five innings. “Alex was really good today, for the most part,” said Vogt. “I thought he threw the ball really well. He gave us a good chance to stay in the game….” The only run he allowed came on a solo home run by rookie Giants catcher Chadwick Tromp. The Aruban laced a drive to the front of the left-center-field bleachers, cutting the Diamondbacks lead to 2-1.
In the top of the fifth, the Diamondbacks had an opportunity to blow the game open. Shortstop Nick Ahmed and first baseman Jake Lamb led off with consecutive singles. Ahmed went first-to-third on Lamb’s hit, bringing up right fielder Jon Jay, who fouled to the third baseman for the first out. Locastro came up next and tried to bunt Ahmed home, but a strong throw by first baseman Wilmer Flores nabbed Ahmed by the slimmest of margins. A walk by Calhoun, up next, loaded the bases for Peralta. His strikeout ended the inning with nothing to show for their efforts.
Another missed opportunity came in the top of the sixth. Vogt hit a two-out double. When Ahmed and Lamb each followed with walks, Jay came to the plate with the bases loaded. Cueto left the game in favor of left-handed reliever Caleb Baragar, who got Jay to hit a rally-killing fly to left.
Game Slips Away
Missed opportunities like these hurt, but these two hurt even more when the Giants took the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Designated hitter Austin Slater led off with a single and scored when Solano launched a no-doubt home run halfway up the bleachers in left-center. This gave the Giants a 3-2 lead, one that swelled to 4-2 when Brandon Belt hit a pinch-home run with one out in the bottom of the seventh. The Diamondbacks did not threaten for the rest of the game, giving the Giants a crucial victory over their divisional foes.
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