Giants 6, Diamondbacks 5
PHOENIX, July 3 — Austin Slater belted a Ruthian two-run home run in the top of the eighth to give the San Francisco Giants (52–30) a 6–5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks (23–62) in a seesaw battle Saturday night.
Each team got on the board in the third. The Giants did so by batting around. With one out, third baseman Thairo Estrada drew a walk, scoring when Mike Yastrzemski followed with a home run. Left fielder Alex Dickerson, up next, kept the hit parade going with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. The next batter, shortstop Brandon Crawford, ripped a triple, and he scored on a follow-up single by Donovan Solano. After a fly to left by center fielder Steven Duggar, a double by catcher Curt Casali brought up starting pitcher Sammy Long with two outs and two runners in scoring position. He could not help his own cause, striking out to retire the side.
In the bottom of the third, the Diamondbacks got two back. Starting pitcher Jake Faria led off with his first major league hit, a double to left. Shortstop Nick Ahmed, batting leadoff for the first time since 2018, followed with a walk. A single to center by third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera brought Faria home, cutting the deficit to 4–1. The next hitter — first baseman Christian Walker — plated the second run on a single to right.
Diamondbacks Take Lead
After a 1-2-3 top of fourth, the Diamondbacks put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the fourth. Pinch-hitter Andrew Young smoked a deep drive to right-center that became a ground-rule double when it stuck in the padding on the fence. Ahmed followed with his second homer of the year, a blast to right-center over the glove of a leaping Mike Yastrzemski. This tied the game at four.
The home nine took the lead in the fifth, aided by a fielding error. Cabrera led off with a single — his third of the game. Two batters later, center fielder Pavin Smith hit a grounder to first. LaMonte Wade Jr. tried to go to second with the ball before he even came up with it, allowing Cabrera to reach third as Smith booked it to second. Left fielder David Peralta made the Giants pay for the extra out, driving in Cabrera with a bloop single over the second baseman’s head. This made the score 5–4 in favor of the Diamondbacks at the end of five.
Giants Put Diamondbacks Away
The lead lasted until the top of the eighth. Reliever Ryan Buchter got into a jam, granting a one-out walk to Estrada. After picking him off for the second out, Buchter fell right back into trouble again, walking Yastrzemski. That brought up Austin Slater, who had not cracked an extra-base hit since May 30. He ended that drought with a 463-foot intercontinental ballistic missile past the picnic area in left-center, giving the Giants a 6–5 lead. The 106.6 mph blast was yet another dagger in the aching hearts of the Diamondbacks and their fans.
Tyler Rogers pitched a scoreless eighth for the Giants to set up Jake McGee, who notched his 16th save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Once again, the main story was blowing a lead in the final three innings. “We’ve been walking through an assortment of guys,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “They’ve had opportunities. Some grasp it and don’t completely clutch it and say it’s theirs. We’re looking for that consistency. We’ve had some injuries. Guys got a little banged up, and we’re missing a couple of key pieces. But, once again, that’s an opportunity for someone to step in and say, ‘This is my situation, and I want it.’ That’s really the name of the game — consistency. When you become that dependable, you’re going to get that opportunity, and you’re going to anchor things. We’re looking for that.”
He continued, “It’s been frustrating. We can only do one thing — keep handing the ball off to different portions of the bullpen and give them the opportunity to get the job done.” Later, he added, “You’ve got to be able to execute and do your job, and that’s what we need those guys to do.”
A secondary, yet positive, story was Ahmed, who went 2-for-4 with a home run, two RBI, a walk, and two runs scored. “I got five plate appearances tonight, so I liked that,” Ahmed said about batting leadoff. “I’ve been getting on base a lot, which has been good, so I’m just trying to help the team and set the table that way. I was able to score two runs and drive in two and have some good at-bats there. So I enjoy it. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep getting that opportunity. We’ll see what happens.”
Reliever Dominic Leone (2–1) earned the win, while Buchter (0–2) earned the double whammy of a blown save and a loss. Game Four of the four-game series is Sunday evening at 6:10. Anthony DeSclafani (8–3, 2.91 ERA) and Caleb Smith (2–4, 3.08 ERA) will start for the Giants and Diamondbacks, respectively.
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Austin Slater, Thairo Estrada, Mike Yastrzemski, Alex Dickerson, Brandon Crawford, Donovan Solano, Steven Duggar, Curt Casali, Sammy Long, Jake Faria, Nick Ahmed, Asdrubal Cabrera, Christian Walker, Andrew Young, Pavin Smith, LaMonte Wade Jr., David Peralta, Ryan Buchter, Tyler Rogers, Jake McGee, Torey Lovullo, Dominic Leone, Anthony DeSclafani, Caleb Smith