Giants shoot for sweep of Diamondbacks

Giants shoot for sweep of Diamondbacks
June 16, 2011, 3:13 pm
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June 16, 2011

GIANTS (39-29) vs.
ARIZONA (37-32)

ARIZONA (AP) -- Domination in head-to-head matchups is what's keeping the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants ahead of the surprising Arizona Diamondbacks.

San Francisco goes for its sixth straight win and eighth in nine games over Arizona in the finale of their three-game series in the desert Thursday night.

The Giants have a 2 12-game lead over the Diamondbacks (37-32), and a 12-inning, 6-5 loss April 17 at Chase Field is all that stands in the way of San Francisco (39-29) being unbeaten against Arizona this year.

"The last five games against them they have made the plays when it has counted," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "We have been in the games and they have responded better than we have."

The Giants haven't been blowing out the Diamondbacks. None of the eight games in the season series has been decided by more than three runs, including San Francisco's 5-2 triumph Wednesday.

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Bill Hall - acquired earlier in the week to replace the injured Freddy Sanchez - singled home the go-ahead run in the sixth inning and scored in the ninth on Eli Whiteside's triple. That gave Madison Bumgarner the win after he came in with the fifth-worst run-support average in the majors at 2.65.

"We didn't exactly blow them out but we got enough for him. That's what it's all about," said Pat Burrell, who added a run-scoring triple.

Willie Bloomquist and Chris Young homered for Arizona, which increased its season total to an NL-high 80.

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A good pitchers' duel could be on tap Thursday when the Giants' Ryan Vogelsong (4-1, 1.81 ERA) faces off against the Diamondbacks' Ian Kennedy (7-2, 3.23).

Vogelsong may not have been happy with his last start, but he also may be the only one associated with the Giants who wasn't.

The right-hander was effective Saturday against Cincinnati despite failing to come away with a decision. He gave up two runs while scattering a season-high eight hits in six innings, and San Francisco won 3-2 on pinch-hitter Nate Schierholtz's walk-off single.

"I'm not really happy with the way I threw, but the results turned out all right," Vogelsong told the team's official website.

Vogelsong is 3-1 with a 0.99 ERA over his last seven starts. He's 2-0 with a 3.48 ERA in four road games this year, but is looking to win at Chase Field for the first time since Aug. 17, 2004, with Pittsburgh.

Kennedy has fared much better on the road than at home for Arizona in 2011.

In eight starts in Phoenix, the right-hander is 3-2 with a 3.88 ERA. When he takes the ball away from home, Kennedy is 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA.

Pitching on the road didn't help Saturday in Miami, when he was tagged for five runs and three homers among five hits in eight innings. Despite those numbers, he got credit for a 9-5 win. The five runs were the most allowed by Kennedy since April 13, when he yielded a career-high nine in a loss to St. Louis.

"The offense took care of it and I tried to get innings as much as possible," Kennedy told the Diamondbacks' official website. "I was really, really happy that (Gibson) let me go into the eighth."

Kennedy is 1-1 with a 1.99 ERA in three home outings against San Francisco. He gave up two hits and walked two in eight shutout innings Sept. 6, but the Diamondbacks fell to the Giants 2-0 in 12 innings.