Giants 11, Diamondbacks 8 (10)
PHOENIX, Aug. 2 — A day after being blown out, 13–0, the Arizona Diamondbacks found themselves in a 7–1 and an 8–5 deficit against the San Francisco Giants. They rallied back to tie it up but ultimately fell, 11–8, in 10 innings. Both starting pitchers — Taylor Widener for the Diamondbacks and Anthony DeSclafani for the Giants — lasted only 4 1/3 innings in the slugfest.
Giants Take Huge Lead over Diamondbacks
The Giants got on the board in the top of the third. Second baseman Donovan Solano led off with a single. After DeSclafani struck out, right fielder Mike Yastrzemski lined a waist-high 1–2 fastball several rows deep into the right-field bleachers. Third baseman Kris Bryant followed with an infield single to the right side, outracing Widener to the bag. It did not matter, as catcher Buster Posey, up next, struck out to retire the side. Despite the stranded runner, the Giants a 2–0 lead going into the bottom of the third.
The Diamondbacks got one of those runs back in the bottom of the third. Right fielder Kole Calhoun reached on a one-out single. He advanced to third on a two-out single by Asdrubal Cabrera. A passed ball allowed Calhoun to score and Cabrera to reach second. Cabrera advanced no further, as catcher Carson Kelly followed with a strikeout.
Widener, plagued by high pitch counts per batter all night, reached the end of his rope in the fifth. After striking out his counterpart, he walked the next two. On his 98th pitch of the night, he gave up a single to the next hitter, shortstop Brandon Crawford. This loaded the bases and brought JB Bukauskas into the game to relieve him. Bukauskas — one of the temporary COVID call-ups who had already been sent down — had even bigger control problems, walking Posey on six pitches before serving up a grand slam to the next hitter, left fielder Alex Dickerson. He retired the next two on a strikeout and grounder to first, but the damage had already been done. Going into the bottom of the fifth, it was 7–1 Giants.
Diamondbacks Fight Back, Tie It Up
Josh Reddick made the score 7–3 in the bottom of the inning on a two-run pinch-homer to the seats in right. After a groundout by Calhoun and infield single by center fielder Ketel Marte, Cabrera made it a 7–5 ballgame with a homer to right-center. Exit stage left for DeSclafani as Jose Alvarez entered the game. Alvarez shut down the rally, sandwiching a David Peralta single between a liner to center by Kelly and foul popup to first by Christian Walker.
The Giants made it an 8–5 game in the top of the sixth on a solo home run by new first baseman Wilmer Flores, a former Diamondback. His victim was the newest Diamondback, Sean Poppen, claimed on waivers from Tampa Bay Rays. Poppen settled down and retired the next two to end the frame. He also pitched around a two-out triple in the seventh without allowing any further damage.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Giants sent Jay Jackson to the mound. He did not fare well. Consecutive singles by Calhoun and Marte, followed by a walk by Cabrera, loaded the bases for Kelly. He hit a liner to left for the first out. It was too hard and shallow to score Calhoun from third, leaving the bases juiced for pinch-hitter Drew Ellis. He hit a hard one-hopper near the line at third. Bryant made a fine backhand and throw to get Ellis at first as the runners advanced. Calhoun’s run made it 8–6 with two out. Up came Walker, who stroked a double to the left-field corner to clear the bases and tie the game. Tony Watson relieved Jackson and locked up Josh VanMeter on a called third strike, ending the inning.
Heading to Extras
Brett de Geus pitched a 1-2-3 top of the eighth. Shortstop Nick Ahmed made a slick play in the hole on the left side on the third out of that frame, going a long way to glove a hard bouncer and retire Flores. Watson also pitched a perfect eighth, as did Tyler Clippard in the top of the ninth. The bottom of the ninth saw a two-out single by Kelly off Jarlin Garcia amount to nothing, as pinch-hitter Jake Hager ended the inning with a grounder to first (pitcher covering).
Posey led off the 10th with a double to the left-field corner off new pitcher Miguel Aguilar. This scored “automatic runner” Brandon Crawford from second to give the Giants a 9–8 lead. After a fly to center by Dickerson advanced Posey to third, the Diamondbacks intentionally walked right fielder Austin Slater to set up a potential double play. A single by Duggar scored Posey and advanced Slater to third. Up came Solano, whose sacrifice bunt plated Slater and advanced Duggar to second. The frame finally ended when Flores struck out, bringing the Diamondbacks to bat in an 11–8 hole.
Garcia returned to the mound to try for the final three outs. Walker opened with a grounder to short before VanMeter flied to center. This brought up Ahmed, who grounded to his counterpart for the final out.
Manager Torey Lovullo felt that, early on, Widener was pitching well enough to win. However, “there were some mistakes that were made a little bit later in the game,” he said. “I know that fifth inning seemed to unravel a little bit. We were trying to get him to a certain point in the game where we could maneuver in the bullpen. I know it’s tough having to watch somebody else give up a couple of runs. But I felt like he was teetering on that out-of-gas line. Up to that fifth inning, (however,) I think he was throwing the ball effectively.”
A Club That Won’t Quit
Lovullo was pleased with the perseverance of his team. “We’re playing with a lot of heart and a lot of a lot of effort, and we’re focused. We’re down, 7–1, to the team that’s in first place in our division, and our guys kept fighting. They kept fighting. Christian Walker with a big blow. Asdrubal Cabrera with a big homerun, Josh Reddick got us off the mat. So it doesn’t take much to get this team moving in right the right direction. To regroup my thoughts, it tells me the story of this team that just doesn’t want to shut down and doesn’t quit for 27 outs. And that makes me happy.”
Lovullo also took pleasure in the effort his team gave one day after getting blown out. “it’s one of the key characteristics of this team. Our record is not even close to where we want it to be. When you block that out every night at 6:40 to go out and give me the effort that they have, I couldn’t be more pleased.
“We’ve had a lot of tough losses on both sides of the spectrum — big losses by way of the score and some really tough losses in games that I feel like we should have won or were in control of and didn’t win. Yet every day these guys come back with a refreshed mindset and attitude that today’s gonna be a day where we start something moving in a really good direction. I still feel like it can happen, and the guys do, too. I couldn’t be more pleased with the effort tonight.”
Looking Ahead for the Giants and Diamondbacks
Jarlin Garcia (3–2) earned the win, while Miguel Aguilar (0–1) took the loss, both in relief. The Diamondbacks (33–74) and Giants (67–39) will play the second game of their four-game series Tuesday evening. Johnny Cueto (7–5, 3.84 ERA) will take the hill for the Giants against Diamondbacks southpaw Madison Bumgarner (5–6, 4.87 ERA). First pitch will be at 6:40 Arizona Time.
Taylor Widener, Anthony DeSclafani, Donovan Solano, Mike Yastrzemski, Kris Bryant, Buster Posey, Kole Calhoun, Asdrubal Cabrera, Carson Kelly, Brandon Crawford, JB Bukauskas, Alex Dickerson, Josh Reddick, Ketel Marte, Jose Alvarez, David Peralta, Christian Walker, Wilmer Flores, Sean Poppen, Jay Jackson, Drew Ellis, Tony Watson, Josh VanMeter, Brett de Geus, Nick Ahmed, Tyler Clippard, Jarlin Garcia, Jake Hager, Miguel Aguilar, Austin Slater, Torey Lovullo, Johnny Cueto, Madison Bumgarner