Giants Ride Timely Hitting to Win over Diamondbacks, Posey Hurt

Giants Diamondbacks

Giants 5, Diamondbacks 2

PHOENIX, July 4 — The San Francisco Giants took advantage of every baserunner they had Sunday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks. They only left two on base, riding this efficiency to a 5–2 victory in a game that saw All-Star catcher Buster Posey leave early with an injury.

The Giants took an early 2–0 lead thanks to a pair of singles and a double. These came in the top of the first from center fielder Austin Slater, Posey, and first baseman Darin Ruf, with Ruf hitting the double. Posey’s single scored Slater from second, while Ruf’s double plated Posey from first standing up. Slater made it a 3–0 game when he led off the third with a 467-foot, 108.4 mph bomb to left-center.

Center fielder Pavin Smith notched the first hit of the night for the Diamondbacks in the bottom of the fifth, but his trip around the bases ended quickly, as right fielder Josh Reddick followed with a 3-6-1 double play groundout. Catcher Stephen Vogt ended that inning with a fly to center.

Giants Extend Lead, Fend off Diamondbacks Rally

The lead swelled to five in the top of the sixth. After a two-out walk by Posey, Ruf launched a no-doubt two-run home run. The bottom of the inning, despite being scoreless, contained a fateful play. With one out, pinch-hitter Daulton Varsho hit a foul tip off Posey. It hit Posey’s wrist, just below the base of the glove. After being looked at, Posey stayed in the game — for one pitch. When Varsho struck out, backup catcher Curt Casali took over. Posey turned out to have a left thumb contusion; x-rays were negative.

The Diamondbacks made it a 5–1 game in the bottom of the seventh. It came on a two-out RBI single by right fielder Josh Reddick. He brought in third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera, who led off the inning with a double. The inning ended prematurely, however, when the Giants gunned Reddick down while he attempted to take second on the throw home.

Riley Smith and Joakim Soria combined to pitch a scoreless seventh, eighth, and ninth for the Diamondbacks, with Smith pitching the first two of those innings. Meanwhile, Giants starter Anthony DeSclafani was terrific. He allowed two runs on six hits, striking out seven while walking two in 8 2/3 innings. Tyler Rogers came in to finish things off, walking Pavin Smith before retiring Reddick on a grounder to second for his 10th save.

Postgame Reflections

“(Diamondbacks starter Caleb Smith) was one pitch away or one at-bat away from making his line score look totally different,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said after the game. “He was commanding the baseball, got nicked up early, but went six innings. (Caleb) did a really good job of damage control and gave us a chance to play some catch-up baseball. We just couldn’t get anything going offensively.” Caleb added, “I thought I pitched better than what the scoreboard showed. Things went their way in the first inning with the two broken-bat hits that got over our infielders’ heads. Then I made a mistake to Ruf, and they ended up scoring. It was just a fastball middle-middle, and he hit a double.”

The sixth inning “hurt,” said Lovullo. “It drove the score to 5–0 and changed the whole dynamic of what remained of this game. But I thought he was good — he pitched into that sixth inning. I thought he was good enough to win a ballgame. It just didn’t happen.”

DeSclafani “had more than just one pitch going,” according to Lovullo. “It was an aggressive fastball, down fastballs, on both sides of the plate. He threw a number of breaking balls or off-speed pitches behind in counts. When you’re trying to lean on something that’s aggressive as far as that fastball (velocity), and then he changes speeds on you side to side and front to back, it becomes a little bit of a challenge.”

Caleb Smith felt that, other than the first inning, he made two mistakes: “the change-up to Slater (in the third) and the curveball to Ruf in the sixth. Other than that, I thought I had a decent night.”

Looking Ahead

DeSclafani (9–3) earned the win, handing the loss to Caleb Smith (2–5). The Diamondbacks (23–63), after a day off Monday, will face the Colorado Rockies in a three-game series to finish off the current homestand. Meanwhile, the first-place Giants (53–30) head back to San Francisco for a six-game homestand. After a three-gamer Monday through Wednesday with the St. Louis Cardinals, they play a three-gamer Friday through Sunday against the Washington Nationals.

Main Photo:
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Players Mentioned:

Buster Posey, Austin Slater, Darin Ruf, Pavin Smith, Josh Reddick, Stephen Vogt, Daulton Varsho, Curt Casali, Asdrubal Cabrera, Riley Smith, Joakim Soria, Anthony DeSclafani, Tyler Rogers, Caleb Smith, Torey Lovullo