MLB: D-backs aim for sweep of scuffling Giants
The Arizona Diamondbacks seemingly have reversed their problems with the Giants and will look to complete a three-game sweep of visiting San Francisco on Wednesday night in Phoenix.
The Diamondbacks were just 2-17 against San Francisco in 2021 and had lost 25 of the last 29 meetings before winning each of the first two games in this set.
Arizona recorded a convincing 8-3 victory on Monday and erupted for five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning in Tuesday’s 6-2 victory.
Daulton Varsho capped the uprising with a three-run homer but left-handed-hitting Josh Rojas sparked the inning by dropping down a stunning two-strike bunt single toward third base. Rojas later scored on a wild pitch and Buddy Kennedy hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly prior to Varsho’s blast.
“It was fun to watch them get engaged, stay engaged and believe something good was going to happen,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said afterward. “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.”
While the Diamondbacks were thrilled about their comeback win, San Francisco was hanging its collective heads. The Giants have dropped a season-worst six straight games and 12 of their past 15.
San Francisco is also just one game above .500 with a 40-39 record. Last season, the Giants were a franchise-best 107-55 in the regular season.
San Francisco reliever Dominic Leone, who was charged with four runs in the eighth on Tuesday while taking the loss, said last season’s success no longer matters.
“Nobody is going to lay down because we won 107 games (in 2021),” Leone said. “We’ve got to find it within ourselves to get back on the horse and keep battling.”
Three-time All-Star shortstop Brandon Crawford was in San Francisco’s lineup for the first time since June 24 on Tuesday and went 1-for-4 with a double.
The 35-year-old Crawford (left knee injury) was activated from the 10-day injured list prior to Tuesday’s game. He sustained the injury when he awkwardly slid into home plate against the Atlanta Braves on June 21.
Arizona right-hander Merrill Kelly (7-5, 3.46 ERA) draws the start and has won four of his past six outings.
The 33-year-old defeated the Colorado Rockies in his most recent turn when he gave up two runs (one earned) and five hits over seven innings last Friday.
Kelly is 3-3 with a 3.21 ERA in 10 career starts against the Giants. Crawford is 8-for-24 against Kelly.
Right-hander Alex Cobb (3-3, 4.59) will start for San Francisco. He is 0-2 in five starts since last winning on May 17 against the Colorado Rockies.
Cobb received a no-decision against the Chicago White Sox in his most recent turn on Friday when he allowed three hits over five scoreless innings. He has tossed fewer than six innings in nine of his 11 starts.
The 34-year-old has made just one career start against Arizona, allowing five runs and seven hits over three innings last season as a member of the Los Angeles Angels. He received a no-decision.
Meanwhile, Arizona will hope Varsho and Rojas can continue their recent hot streaks.
Varsho, who has 12 homers, is 8-for-16 with two blasts and nine RBIs in five games this month.
Rojas is batting .414 (12-for-29) while scoring 10 times over his past eight appearances. He laid down the key bunt Tuesday night on his own.
“I think I can get down half the bunts in fair territory,” Rojas said. “The scariest part is when you bunt it foul.”
–Field Level Media