Giants swept in the desert

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Giants swept in the desert

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PHOENIX (AP) -- Winning 10 games may seem like a modest goal for a pitcher. Not one who didn't make his first career start until May.Josh Collmenter pitched seven strong innings and Miguel Montero had two RBIs to help the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the San Francisco Giants 5-2 on Sunday for a three-game sweep.Collmenter (10-10) allowed five hits and two runs for his second win against the Giants this season. Collmenter struck out four and walked one."It's been one heck of a ride this year," Collmenter said.Collmenter made one start with Triple-A Reno and seven appearances out of the bullpen before making his first start on May 14 at Los Angeles.He's had both highs - a 12-inning scoreless streak to begin his career as a starter - and lows - a four-game midseason losing streak - while relying primarily on just two pitches, a fastball and a changeup."I worked on that third pitch (a curveball) to make it a weapon all the time," Collmenter said.Aaron Hill and Colin Cowgill also had run-scoring hits for the Diamondbacks, who have won six of seven heading into a season-ending series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.Though Arizona has clinched the NL West title, the Diamondbacks remain a game behind Milwaukee in an attempt to gain home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs."Our intentions are to win out," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "We may. We may not. But wherever we have to go on Saturday, that's fine. It's good times. It's fun."J.J. Putz pitched the ninth for his 45th save.Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton was hit on the front of the helmet by Giants starter Tim Lincecum (13-14) in the first.He initially remained in the game and scored Arizona's second run, but left after the inning for precautionary reasons. Neurological tests on Upton were negative and he is listed day to day."If you're going to get hit in the dome that's probably the best place," Putz said.Carlos Beltran and Andres Torres homered in the sixth for the Giants, who have lost five of six including four straight."It was embarrassing," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Matt (Cain) threw a great game (Friday) and it could have gone either way. But the last two, we were ugly. There is no getting around it. That is not the way we want to finish up."The Diamondbacks took a 2-0 lead against Lincecum in the first. Hill drew a one-out walk and went to second when Upton was hit in the helmet. Both scored when Montero followed with a double into the right-center field gap."We've had good luck when guys hit J-Up this year," Gibson said. "Fortunately he hasn't been seriously injured, but we've done well in those situations."Lincecum said the pitch to Upton affected his original game plan."I was kind of afraid to go in for fear that kind of stuff would happen again," said Lincecum, who approached the plate to check on Upton and also sent a message to the right fielder."I had one of the players send a message over there saying that it was a complete accident and I had no intention of doing that."I just kind of lost it. I was trying to go low and away and it was the complete opposite."Paul Goldschmidt led off the fourth with a double to right and Cowgill made it 3-0 with a one-out double to right field.Hill drove in Gerardo Parra on a ground-rule double in the fifth and scored on a ground out for a 5-0 lead.Lincecum allowed five runs and eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts.Notes: Giants C Chris Stewart was shaken up when a Lincecum pitch bounced up and hit him on the left cheek in the fifth. Stewart finished the inning, but gave way to Hector Sanchez in the top of the seventh. ... Giants manager Bruce Bochy was ejected by second base umpire Gary Darling in the bottom of the fifth for arguing after Parra stole second. Stewart's throw to Jeff Keppinger easily beat the runner, but Darling ruled the second baseman had missed the tag. Replays were inconclusive. ... The Diamondbacks went over 2,000,000 in attendance. Sunday's crowd was announced at 41,423, raising the total for the three-game series to 132,925 and the season to 2,010,340.

'The Kid' Arroyo continues wildly impressive first week with Giants

'The Kid' Arroyo continues wildly impressive first week with Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — In a quiet moment in the dugout Friday, manager Bruce Bochy tried to figure out a nickname for his new budding star. During a week where Christian Arroyo has made the game look so easy, this has turned out to be the most difficult part. 

Bochy briefly settled on “Yo” before that was scuttled because the team’s video coordinator is Yo Miyamoto. Joe Panik said some players have tried C.A. or YoYo, but admitted that neither is all that good. The team’s Twitter account spent a few days trying to make Boss Baby a thing, but Arroyo wasn’t thrilled with that one and the experiment appears to be over. In a back room of the clubhouse, there’s a printout showing Arroyo and Buzz from “Home Alone,” but that comparison is much better made with Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman. 

Perhaps the answer is as simple as the path Arroyo’s bat takes to a fastball. As he watched Arroyo field grounders during batting practice, Dick Tidrow was asked about the 21-year-old. Tidrow, the team’s senior VP of player personnel, has seen and worked with Arroyo since he was drafted. 

“We always just called him The Kid,” Tidrow said. “He would turn around when I called him Kid.”

The Kid is growing up quickly. Arroyo’s second homer of the week was the game-winner Friday, an eighth-inning blast that put a lead in Mark Melancon’s hands. The new closer made sure the new third baseman’s homer didn’t go to waste, clinching a 4-3 win that got the Giants out of the National League West’s cellar. 

The homer might have surprised Arroyo as much as anyone. He came here with a reputation as a mature and talented hitter, but power is not his calling card. 

“I’m not trying to hit a homer there,” he said. “Get the head out, see a pitch over the plate, barrel something, just keep the line moving. I got a good pitch, elevated it, and fortunately it went out.”

Arroyo already speaks like a hitting coach, but he is not afraid to admit that there are things he doesn’t know. It’s easy to get film on opposing starters, but there’s little a rookie can do to prepare for late-inning pitching changes. Arroyo consulted Buster Posey and Conor Gillaspie before facing Ryan Buchter, who has been in the division for two years. Gillaspie told him Buchter’s fastball has some late life and gets on a hitter. 

“I wanted to see it and the first pitch was a little low so I got a good read on them,” Arroyo said. 

The second one was right at the belt and Arroyo pulled it down the line for his second big league homer. He had just three last year in Double-A, but the Giants felt the 36 doubles showed that power was on the way. 

“He’s got pop,” Bochy said. “He’s not a guy trying to hit homers. He tries to put a good swing on it. But he drives balls and you saw it tonight. We see him more as a gap guy, but he’ll get more power as he gets older. We’re not asking him to hit homers, trust me, but it’s good to see him letting it go.”

The homer secured a win on a night when a lot went right. Jeff Samardzija was sharp, paying for one pitch to Ryan Schimpf that left the park but otherwise pitching seven strong. Panik and Brandon Belt ignited the offense early and Michael Morse came through with a game-tying sacrifice fly in the fifth. Derek Law and Mark Melancon closed it out, with Melancon getting help from Panik, who made a spectacular tumbling catch on a flare to shallow right-center. It was a big first out given that Melancon was pitching for the third straight day. 

“It was going to be in no man’s land,” Panik said. “You give it everything you’ve got. Fortunately the ball stayed in the glove.”

When it was over, the youngest Giant was in for another round of interviews to cap a hectic week. On Monday he made his debut and on Tuesday he picked up his first hit. Wednesday brought the first homer and Thursday was the first multi-hit game. What will the weekend include? Maybe a real nickname? 

For now, the Giants are fine with leaning on The Kid, because many of them didn’t even know how young the star of the week was until he was a couple of days into his big league career.

“I was thinking he was 23 or 24,” Samardzija said. “This has been really impressive.”

Instant Replay: Arroyo's late-game heroics lifts Giants past Padres

Instant Replay: Arroyo's late-game heroics lifts Giants past Padres

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SAN FRANCISCO — On Monday, Christian Arroyo made his MLB debut. Tuesday brought his first hit and on Wednesday it was the first homer. Thursday’s game was his first multi-hit game as a big leaguer. What was in store Friday? The best swing yet.

Arroyo hit a go-ahead shot to left while leading off the eighth, giving the Giants a 4-3 win in their series opener with the Padres. The player coaches simply call “The Kid” has two homers in his first five games, and both have come in huge spots. Friday’s sent another jolt through AT&T Park and got a lead to Mark Melancon, who closed out the Padres. 

For four innings, a long-haired right-hander was no-hitting the Padres. Jeff Samardzija was sharp early and he got a nice cushion in the first. Joe Panik and Brandon Belt led off with singles and Panik scored on Erick Aybar’s two-out error. A Conor Gillaspie knock made it 2-0. 

The first hit allowed by Samardzija was a painful one. He plunked Yangervis Solarte to open the fifth and Ryan Schimpf hit a long dinger to dead center to tie the game. Cory Spangenberg followed with a single to left that skipped under Belt’s glove. Spangenberg went to third on the play and scored on a bloop. 

Belt made up for the play in the bottom of the inning, beating the outfield shift with a double and scoring on Mike Morse’s sacrifice fly to right two batters later. Samardzija ran into trouble in the seventh, but with two in scoring position and one out, he got a strikeout and a grounder to third. The Giants put the go-ahead run on second in their half, but Hunter Pence and Morse struck out. 

Starting pitching report: Samardzija has allowed six homers. He’s tied for fourth in the NL with a handful of players, including Johnny Cueto and Matt Moore. 

Bullpen report: Melancon has five straight saves since blowing his first opportunity as a Giant. 

At the plate: Belt reached base four times. His on-base percentage is sitting at a cool .390. 

In the field: Panik made a brilliant diving catch in center for the first out of the ninth. 

Attendance: The Giants announced a sellout crowd. One of the fans looked just like Samardzija, possibly on purpose. 

Up next: Matt Cain has a 2.42 ERA but he left his last start with a tight hamstring. He’ll face Jhoulys Chacin (2-3, 5.90).