The Arizona Diamondbacks experienced a downright dismal June but are undefeated in July.
Although it is just one victory, it was a triumph the Diamondbacks hope will provide some momentum entering Friday night’s game against the San Francisco Giants in Phoenix.
Arizona, coming off a 3-24 June, hasn’t won back-to-back games since beating the Miami Marlins on May 10-11.
But the Diamondbacks got the four-game series against the Giants off to a good start with Thursday’s solid 5-3 victory. Josh Reddick went 3-for-4 with a go-ahead two-run homer, and Pavin Smith also homered in Arizona’s first victory in seven meetings with the Giants this season.
It also represented the Diamondbacks’ eighth win in the past 55 games.
Just hours before the victory, the Diamondbacks traded speedy outfielder Tim Locastro to the New York Yankees for Double-A right-hander Keegan Curtis.
It surely won’t be the final trade this month for a team with the worst record (23-60) in the majors, but Diamondbacks assistant general manager Amiel Sawdaye said the team won’t be unloading all of its key players.
“I don’t think we want a full teardown,” said Sawdaye, who is running the day-to-day operations while general manager Mike Hazen is on a leave of absence tending to his wife, who is ill. “I can understand why fans want a full teardown. I don’t think we want that.
“I think coming into this year we certainly didn’t anticipate this team to look like this, but I also think it’s much easier to say, ‘Oh, just rip it apart and rebuild.’ It’s not that easy to do that.”
San Francisco (50-30) is mired in a season-worst four-game losing streak, and its National League West lead has dwindled to a half-game over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Giants threatened on Thursday when their first two batters reached in the ninth, but Donovan Solano grounded into a double play and pinch-hitter Darin Ruf struck out to end the ballgame.
San Francisco had just one at-bat with runners in scoring position before the ninth.
“We’re not having our best at-bats, and we’re not able to get that one big punch at the right moment,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “This was not our best baseball from any angle.”
Buster Posey went 2-for-4 to raise his batting average to .333 and also learned he will be the NL’s starting catcher in the All-Star Game at Denver on July 13. It will mark Posey’s seventh All-Star appearance.
“Earlier in my career, if I would have been told that I would be starting an All-Star Game at age 34, I would be pretty happy about that,” Posey said.
Left-hander Alex Wood (6-3, 3.91) will be on the mound for San Francisco on Friday.
Wood defeated the Diamondbacks on June 14 when he gave up two runs and four hits over six innings. He struck out seven and walked one.
The 30-year-old is 6-4 with a 2.96 ERA in 20 career appearances (12 starts) against Arizona. He has served up two homers to Nick Ahmed (5-for-19) while shutting down Reddick (0-for-7).
Right-hander Zac Gallen (1-3, 3.69) will be on the mound for the Diamondbacks.
Gallen missed nearly six weeks earlier this season with a minor sprain in his pitching elbow and made his return against the Giants on June 17, and it didn’t go well. He took the loss while lasting just 2 2/3 innings and giving up four runs and four hits.
The 25-year-old Gallen is 1-2 with a 4.35 ERA in four career starts against San Francisco. He has shut down Wilmer Flores (0-for-8) and Alex Dickerson (0-for-7) while struggling against Mike Yastrzemski (3-for-9).
–Field Level Media