The Arizona Diamondbacks entered Thursday night a perfect 4-0 against the San Francisco Giants in 2016 and they had won five of their last six over the previous week coming into this one. On the flip side, however, their 5-12 mark in the desert hadn’t exactly been inspiring.
Something had to give.
Unfortunately for the D-backs, the pattern that continued was the one where they struggle at home. Joe Panik homered and Johnny Cueto fanned nine Arizona hitters over seven innings as the Giants pulled out the 4-2 victory in front of 19,461 fans.
Zack Greinke gave Chip Hale six decent innings – allowing four runs, but really only making a couple mistakes along the way. San Francisco took the lead by stringing three singles together in the third, then tacked on some insurance runs courtesy of Panik’s two-run shot in the fourth.
The D-backs got one back in the sixth to trim the deficit to 4-2 when Chris Owings tripled home Welington Castillo. But they could never close the gap any more than that. They had opportunities – including in the ninth inning when they loaded the bases before Jake Lamb grounded out harmlessly to second.
With the loss, Arizona is now 5-13 at Chase this season but also just a game and a half back of Los Angeles and San Francisco for first in the NL West.
– Greinke got it done at the plate, ripping a long double off the base of the center field wall in the bottom of the second and driving a pitch into right that Hunter Pence had to make a nice play on in the fourth.
– Jean Segura continued his torrid pace, picking up three more singles to bring his season total to a Major League-leading 53. He’s also reached base in 19 consecutive games now.
– Despite his uncharacteristically slow start at the plate, Paul Goldschmidt had been picking it up of late. Over this three outings prior to Thursday, he was a combined 5-for-12, with a home run, five runs scored and three RBI. He came up short in some key moments tonight, though, grounding into a double play with two on in the first, striking out with two on in the third and striking out again with a runner aboard in the fifth. In all, he finished 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, a walk and that double play.
– Nick Ahmed’s rough year at the plate continued, as he went 0-for-3 to drop his average to .176.
STAT OF THE GAME
5: Number of runners left on base tonight by Goldschmidt – not exactly the norm for one of the best hitters in all of baseball and with the usually reliable Goldy failing to drive guys in, Arizona struggled to score.
HE SAID IT
“No, I don’t think so. I don’t feel that way right now. He really had some good at-bats in Colorado, he had some key hits yesterday, he hit the first ball well today and that was a situation in the ninth inning where we just felt better with Gosselin against Casilla. Earlier in the game, I think his bats were okay. He’s our shortstop, and that’s the way it’s going to be.” – Chip Hale, when asked if it’s getting near the point where Ahmed’s problems at the plate might outweigh his defensive prowess.
– Prior to the game, a ceremony was held outside Chase Field to rename the stretch of 4th Street between Jefferson and Jackson “Randy Johnson Way”. The Hall of Famer was on hand to talk about the experience, and fans were invited to attend the unveiling of the new street sign on the northwest corner of the stadium.
These two clubs will reconvene tomorrow night for the second of four meetings this weekend. Shelby Miller will take the mound for Arizona, while San Francisco counters with Jeff Samardzija. First pitch is set for 6:40, with pregame coverage beginning at 6 on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.
Miller (1-3) is coming off his best start as a Diamondback. His struggles this season have been well documented, but he delivered an encouraging performance against his former team on May 7, allowing just two runs over 6.0 innings in a victory over the Braves.
That outing marked his first win since joining Arizona, though he did throw two innings in a game the D-backs took from the Giants by a final of 6-2 back on April 21.
Samardzija (4-2) has picked up victories in three of his last four starts, though he did drop his most recent decision – a 2-0 loss to Colorado on May 8. He surrendered just two earned runs over 7.2 innings in that one though, so it’s not as if he had a bad night. He has yet to face Arizona this season, but is 0-1 with a 4.66 ERA over nine appearances against the D-backs in his career.
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