D-backs come through with 5-spot in 8th inning to beat Giants

Jul 5, 2022, 11:16 PM
Daulton Varsho #12 of the Arizona Diamondbacks is congratulated by David Peralta #6 after hitting t...
Daulton Varsho #12 of the Arizona Diamondbacks is congratulated by David Peralta #6 after hitting three-run home run against the San Francisco Giants during the eighth inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on July 05, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Daulton Varsho punctuated a five-run eighth inning with a mammoth three-run home run to cement a 6-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants Tuesday at Chase Field.

The win gave Arizona (37-44) its first series victory over the Giants (40-39) since 2019 and capped the first half of the season.

The D-backs were down 2-1 before third baseman Josh Rojas dug in to leadoff the eighth. With two strikes, the lefty bunted against the shift down the third-base line for a single.

The play was something Rojas had in his mind since spring training, but he had been apprehensive to try it previously with a fear of fouling it off.

“A big discussion in spring training was, ‘What are the averages on 0-2 counts?’” Rojas said postgame.

“Let’s say .200 if you’re good … I think I can get down half the bunts in fair territory. The scariest part is when you bunt it foul … If you can get past that, and you look at strictly the numbers, and you get half of them in play, I think I could get more than half in play, you’re increasing your batting average from .100 or .200 to .500.”

Seemingly endless pickoff attempts from reliever Dominic Leone led to a rocket single from Cooper Hummel with one out. His 108.3 MPH exit velocity was the hardest-hit ball of the night, and it allowed Rojas to skip over to third.

Leone followed with a wild pitch that scored Rojas and tied the game, with the third baseman slowing down to dramatically step on the plate.

Giants manager Gabe Kapler turned to closer Camilo Doval with the bases loaded after two Leone walks.

D-backs rookie Buddy Kennedy came up and drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly to left field. Kennedy has 11 RBI in 15 MLB games.

That brought up Varsho, who replaced Carson Kelly as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning.

The first pitch he saw was a 101.8 MPH cutter up in the zone, and Varsho crushed it over the pool in right-center.

“I know he throws really hard, faced him actually down in Triple-A last year,” Varsho said. “I’ve seen him before. So just, not one of those at-bats where you’re gonna take, just gotta be ready to swing first pitch.”

D-backs closer Mark Melancon came up with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to shut the door.

Arizona did not lead Tuesday’s game at any point until the eighth.

D-backs starter Tyler Gilbert faced his first bit of turbulence in the fourth inning after a trio of clean frames to start the game. He surrendered three straight singles to load the bases, and outfielder Joc Pederson smacked a sacrifice fly to left.

That ended Gilbert’s day at 56 pitches after he was recalled hours before first pitch from Triple-A Reno. He finished with 3.2 innings, four hits and one run earned.

Keynan Middleton came in and stranded the bases loaded.

“Gilbert did what he had to do, went through the lineup just about two times to turn it over the bullpen,” manager Torey Lovullo said postgame. “Everybody did an incredible job. I know we got nicked up for one run, but I think we eliminated a couple of things in that inning.”

San Francisco starter Alex Wood, meanwhile, cruised through four scoreless frames having allowed two hits.

The D-backs broke through in the fifth as Kelly drove a ground-rule double to right. Shortstop Geraldo Perdomo knocked him in with a single, his second hit of the game.

San Francisco grabbed the lead back in the seventh on what appeared, at first, to be a foul ball.

Giants catcher Austin Wynns flared a fly ball down the line in left off reliever Caleb Smith, and Hummel nearly came up with the catch on a dive. The ball hit his chest and then the grass in foul ground.

The call on the field was a foul ball, but a lengthy replay review led to an overturn. This all came with two outs and a runner on second via a leadoff walk and passed ball, who scored after the ruling to give the Giants a 2-1 lead.

Smith faced trouble again in the eighth but stranded a pair of runners to keep Arizona in striking distance.

Lovullo called the victory a big one with an incredible moment for the team.

He credited the D-backs’ commitment to each other and fight down the stretch.

“It was fun to watch them get engaged, stay engaged and believe something good was going to happen,” Lovullo said. “This team is committed, committed to each other, committed to their process. This team is committed to the coaching they’re receiving. And when it comes together in one inning, it’s a lot of fun for me to watch.”

The D-backs get the second half of their season underway Wednesday at 6:40 p.m. Merrill Kelly will be on the hill as Arizona looks for a sweep of the Giants.

Catch the game on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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