Instant Replay: Diamondbacks 6, Giants 2

Instant Replay: Diamondbacks 6, Giants 2
September 6, 2012, 5:07 am
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SAN FRANCISCO When a full double rainbow stretched spectacularly over the AT&T Park scoreboard in the first inning, it seemed an omen to the home crowd that the Giants would win Wednesday night, but Trevor Cahill's sinker was dialed in and Madison Bumgarner prolonged the stretch of starters' struggles to eight games. Not even a benches-clearing scrum could spur a Giants comeback as San Francisco dropped the series to the Diamondbacks with a 6-2 loss.Starting pitching report:With a chance to become the first Giants left-hander to win 15 games in a season since Shawn Estes did so in 2000, and the first Giants starter to pitch into the eighth inning since Matt Cain did so on Aug. 28, Bumgarner failed to accomplish either feat.The Giants needed Bumgarner to go deep Wednesday, after using 10 relief pitchers over seven and two-thirds innings on Tuesday. The 23-year-old southpaw retired Trevor Cahill to start the seventh inning before Adam Eaton and Aaron Hill coaxed Giants manager Bruce Bochy to the mound with a single and a run-scoring double.Bumgarner didn't look sharp from the get-go. Eaton roped the second pitch of the game up the middle for a single, spurring a 22-pitch first frame from Bumgarner that included Miguel Montero's run-scoring single. Chris Johnson connected with a 87-mph slider in the fourth inning and it stayed hit for a long time, dropping between Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence square in Triple's Alley ... for a triple. In a strikeout situation with one out, Bumgarner locked in and got Gerardo Parra for the second time in two at-bats, and looked like he escaped the inning when a flare by shortstop John McDonald was corralled in on a dive by Xavier Nady. Wearing No. 12 for the first time, Nady held the ball up high, but third base umpire Greg Gibson correctly ruled McDonald safe on a trap, allowing Johnson to cross home plate and push Arizona's lead to two.RELATED: Giants' Nady set for MRI after straining hamstring
Bumgarner dialed back in until his undoing in the seventh, and he finished with six and one-third innings pitched and four earned runs allowed. It lowered Giants starters' ERA over their last eight games from 7.88 to 7.51.Bullpen report:Jean Machi was the first reliever out of the bullpen, inheriting Bumgarner's runner at third base. He got Justin Upton looking, but Paul Goldschmidt, Miguel Montero and Chris Johnson went single-single-double and broke the game open, pushing their lead to 6-0 before Jose Mijares recorded the final out.Brad Penny pitched the eighth, and aside from the benches-clearing conversation -- detailed in the In the field segment below -- it was uneventful.Dan Runzler began the ninth. Dan Otero finished it.With the bats:Over their past seven games, the Giants averaged 6.43 runs per game -- over two more than their season average. They needed to take the "over" to beat the Diamondbacks Wednesday, and it wasn't happening against former Athletic Trevor Cahill, nor was it happening against Arizona's bullpen, thanks in large part to the double play.Cahill, who lost both his prior starts against the Giants this season with a 6.17 ERA, pitched like he was still in Green and Gold. As an Athletic, Cahill was 3-0 with a 1.30 ERA in four starts against San Francisco.Cahill was perfect through five and one-third innings, and his sinker was in fine form in the third, freezing Xavier Nady, Brandon Crawford and Madison Bumgarner in succession. Crawford's final strike looked to be low, but with Cahill pounding the strike zone, there's no excuse for not getting the bat off the shoulder.Crawford's eye would be vindicated in the sixth, though, when he took four balls and walked to first base to break up the perfect game. The no hitter lasted another two outs, as Marco Scutaro delivered the Giants' first hit of the game with a solid base knock to right field to lead off the bottom of the seventh.AT&T Park came to life as Buster Posey singled, Hunter Pence walked, and Brandon Belt delivered a base hit to break up the shutout and make it a 6-2 ballgame. But the fanfare was short-lived as pinch hitter Ryan Theriot bounced into the inning-ending double play with runners at the corners.The eighth inning also ended on the double play, this one hit by Angel Pagan.Matt Lindstrom made the heart of the Giants order look foolish in the ninth, striking out Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence. Sandoval, who was 7-for-15 with four RBIs in his last four games, fanned while checking his swing on a ball in the dirt to finish his day 0-for-4.With the gloves:After back-to-back singles from the bottom of Arizona's lineup to lead off the eighth inning, Eaton hit a ground ball to first base that began the most exciting play of the game. Brandon Belt fielded it cleanly and fired to third base. Pablo Sandoval was not on the bag for the forceout, and shortstop Josh McDonald didn't slide. Sandoval applied a hard tag that send McDonald rolling towards third base coach, and former Giants star Matt Williams. Sandoval followed up, moving forward with an earful for McDonald, presumably for not sliding. Third base umpire Greg Gibson bear-hugged Sandoval and the benches poured onto the field as Williams frantically tried to keep his two former teams apart.Lost on the play was Belt's fine defensive effort to get the lead runner, which proved critical as Penny induced a would-be sacrifice fly and a popout to escape the inning unscathed. Every fly ball to right field seems an adventure for Hunter Pence. He called off Marco Scutaro at the last second on Cahill's shallow fly ball in the second. And his route was less than direct on Paul Goldschmidt's fly ball down the line to end the third. Nonetheless, both balls found his mitt. As it turns out, Nady is no Gold Glover in left, either. Aaron Hill -- he of the five hits on Tuesday -- connected with a backed-up changeup in the fifth. After a step in, a step left and three frantic steps back, Nady leapt to make the grab, but Hill's scorched drive caromed off the tip of his glove and safely fell to the warning track. It took two solid defensive plays to strand Hill. Pablo Sandoval scooped a backhanded short-hop and fired across the diamond for the second out. And Brandon Belt ranged to his right to field a grounder, spun and found Bumgarner at first base for the touchdown putout. With a runner on third in the seventh inning, Posey's unreal forehand block on his backhand side from a Jean Machi offering won't be remembered after a string of Arizona hits.On the bases:The Giants didn't have a baserunner through the first five innings. Brandon Crawford was granted the honor of standing safely with Paul Goldschmidt when his four-pitch walk broke up the perfect game in the sixth. He was stranded on second base when center fielder Adam Eaton kept Cahill's no hitter in tact with a full-extension dive to put away Angel Pagan.Attendance:The Giants announced a paid attendance of 41,035, many of whom were left after the loss wondering profoundly, "What does this mean?"
Up next:The Giants head into their natural day off Thursday in first place in the NL West.When San Francisco resumes baseball on Friday, it will open a pivotal three-game series with the second-place Dodgers at AT&T Park. Unlike Los Angeles, who will skip Joe Blanton's Sunday start in order to slide reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw into the series, Bruce Bochy said the Giants will avoid stacking the deck.Tim Lincecum (8-14, 5.21) will take on newly-acquired Josh Beckett (1-1, 2.92) -- coming off his first win as a Dodger -- in the series opener. Matt Cain (13-5, 2.98) will face Chris Capuano (11-10, 3.63) in the Saturday matinee, and the Giants will stick with Barry Zito (10-8, 4.51) against Kershaw (12-8, 2.79) in the series finale.

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