The Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday looked as if they could put themselves in position to accomplish something that had eluded them for more than two months: the chance to win a series.
The Diamondbacks last won a series April 29-May 2. And had they been able to hold on to a one-run lead in the eighth inning against the San Francisco Giants, a series win would have been in play on Sunday when the two teams meet again in Phoenix.
Austin Slater’s two-run homer in the eighth off reliever Ryan Buchter powered the Giants to a 6-5 victory.
Arizona, which was 2-24 in its previous 26 games before the series, will try for its second win over the Giants on Sunday in the four-game series. The Diamondbacks last split a four-game series on May 10-13 against the Miami Marlins in Phoenix.
San Francisco, which is 8-1 against Arizona this season, withstood the Diamondbacks after it was unable to hold an early 4-0 lead and got down 5-4.
“We fell down four runs and we fought and clawed back, tied the game and took the lead,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the effort and focus. We got clipped in the top of the eighth inning. We made some mistakes on the mound and we paid for it.”
Slater is an example for the Diamondbacks that no matter how bad things might seem, a breakthrough could happen.
The Giants outfielder entered Saturday’s contest in a 0-for-14 spell with six strikeouts in his previous six games. His last extra-base hit was on May 30.
Slater’s 463-foot blast in the eighth marked the longest home run hit by a Giants player this season. It topped the 460-foot shot by Slater in the eighth inning at Phoenix in a 5-4 win over the Diamondbacks on May 26.
“The pitch prior to the home run to center field, I think his timing was just a little off,” San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler said. “We were talking about it in the dugout and seemed if he got ready a tiny bit sooner and if he had a little gather and momentum, something good might happen.”
San Francisco persevered through making three errors, leaving 13 runners on base and squandering the four-run lead to improve to 22 games above .500 and the best record in the major leagues.
The Giants maintained their half-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West.
Brandon Crawford had a run-scoring triple Saturday for his 616th RBI to put him in ninth place of the Giants’ career list.
San Francisco will start right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (8-3, 2.91 ERA) on Sunday against Arizona left-hander Caleb Smith (2-4, 3.08).
DeSclafani is 3-2 with a 2.60 ERA in seven career starts against the Diamondbacks. He has walked only six batters and struck out 38 in 45 innings.
Smith does not have a decision in two starts versus the Giants in his career. He has a 6.10 ERA in 10 1/3 innings against San Francisco.
–Field Level Media