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Grit Index: Randall Delgado, Martin Prado help Diamondbacks to salvage win in series finale

Twenty-three-year-old Randall Delgado has outdueled two of baseball’s brightest young pitching stars, Matt Harvey and Madison Bumgarner, this month.

On Sunday, the Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander, who was beat out for the final spot on the team’s rotation in spring training, held the San Francisco Giants scoreless, allowing just three hits over 5.2 innings pitched while earning the win in his first career start at AT&T Park.

Like his July 3 start at Citi Field against the New York Mets, Delgado was again the stopper for the Diamondbacks on Sunday, ending a three-game losing skid with his efforts on the mound. Earlier in the month, his win over Harvey and the Mets put an end to a five-game losing streak. Delgado has now turned in quality starts in four of his last five outings, sporting a 3.43 ERA on the year.

Martin Prado, who came from the Atlanta Braves in the same trade that made Delgado a Diamondback, led the team offensively, scoring two of the three runs the Diamondbacks put on the board, while going 3-for-4 with a triple from the plate. Another offseason acquisition, Cody Ross, reached base three times, going 2-for-3 with two RBIs on the day.

Eury De la Rosa, Heath Bell, and David Hernandez held the Giants hitless in 2.1 innings of relief before Brad Ziegler came in to close out the game.

But Ziegler had trouble earning his fourth save of the year, allowing a pair of hits and a run, while committing on error on the first ball put in play in the bottom of the ninth — a high chopper off the bat of Hunter Pence. Second baseman Aaron Hill committed another error for the Diamondbacks later in the inning, misfiring a double play turn past first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

The salvaged win maintained the Diamondbacks’ half-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West, while extending their division lead over the world champion Giants to 5.5 games.

The Good:

Martin Prado is hitting .329 (27-for-82) over his last 21 games, with seven extra-base hits and a .382 on-base percentage.

The Bad:

The closer-by-committee strategy that manager Kirk Gibson intends to use for the time being nearly went awry today, with the usually dependable Brad Ziegler allowing three Giants hitters to reach base and benefitting from baserunning gaffes before escaping the save opportunity with just one run allowed. The Diamondbacks have allowed 30 ninth-inning runs this season and there appears to be no easy answer in save situations right now.

Up Next:

The Diamondbacks return to Chase Field for a four-game set with the Chicago Cubs. Left-hander Tyler Skaggs (2-1, 4.03 ERA) will be recalled from Visalia to take the mound against Cubs’ right-hander Matt Garza (6-1, 3.17 ERA). First pitch is at 6:40 PM on Monday on Arizona Sports 620.

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