Giants manage just four hits in finale, drop three of four at Chase Field

Giants manage just four hits in finale, drop three of four at Chase Field

PHOENIX — Aaron Hill stood in the visiting clubhouse of a park he long called home, smiled, and pointed out that the Giants have 158 games left. 

“Didn’t we sweep them one year and they went out and won the World Series?” he asked. 

Hill’s Diamondbacks did, in 2012, taking three straight games from a Giants team that then went to Coors Field and watched Barry Zito throw a shocking shutout in the season's fourth game. This series left a similarly bitter taste, as the Giants dropped three of four in strikingly similar fashion. 

On Thursday they again jumped out to a lead, only to see the Diamondbacks charge forward with another stretch of seven unanswered runs. A second straight night of that led to a 9-3 loss for the Giants, who managed just four hits in a park where that’s hard to do.

“You’re trying to limit the damage,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “When they scored, they put up crooked numbers. When we scored, we put up one. We’ve had success here by answering back and scoring lots of runs. Their guy (Robbie Ray) had good stuff, but still, we scored early and it got away from us. It comes down to pitching better.”

Jeff Samardzija couldn’t have thrown any better in the first couple of innings. He had five strikeouts, and he followed that with an easy third. In the fourth, David Peralta and Paul Goldschmidt hit solo homers to tie the game. Samardzija wasn’t particularly bothered by that inning, but the sixth inning ticked him off. 

Peralta drew a leadoff walk ahead of the dangerous Goldschmidt, who singled. Samardzija tried to sneak a fastball past Jake Lamb and it ended up bouncing onto the pool deck in right-center field. A 3-2 Giants lead turned into a two-run deficit.

“The sixth inning bothers me,” Samardzija said. “We were going heating in. We had thrown a few in there and had success. It ran back over the plate and he got good wood on it.”

Samardzija gave way to the bullpen, and Ty Blach — pitching for the second time in an unfamiliar short-relief role — couldn’t keep the game close. Blach gave up three runs with two outs in the eighth, walking a pair before two hits to left that gave Hill, an infielder his whole career up until Wednesday, trouble. 

“They’ve got to bring their closer in (for the next inning) and there are two outs and nobody on, and they put up a crooked number,” Bochy said. “We’ve got to clean it up and stay away from that.”

--- Bochy said Buster Posey will get a planned day off Friday, with Nick Hundley catching Matt Cain. Hunter Pence will also get a day off. The Giants had planned to rest Pence more often this season and they are reacting in part to four very long games (they weren’t thrilled by the pace of play this week). Jarrett Parker will start in right and Hill, who homered early Thursday, seems headed for his first career start in left. 

“It’s about getting in there and getting experience,” he said. “I’m comfortable. But it’s a new position … I want to see those line drives and hard fly balls.”

Hill came up just short on a diving attempt in the eighth Thursday. He got turned around a bit on an RBI double to the warning track. 

The Giants are hopeful that Denard Span (hip) can start Friday. If not, Gorkys Hernandez will get another day. 

--- Hunter Strickland was stretched out on Thursday, getting five outs. Bochy knew he wouldn’t have Strickland this weekend. The reliever and his wife, Shelley, are expecting their first child. Steven Okert will replace Strickland while he’s on paternity leave. 

Instant Replay: Samardzija gives up three homers, Giants drop series

Instant Replay: Samardzija gives up three homers, Giants drop series

BOX SCORE

PHOENIX — With their opening week spent facing the two teams expected to finish at the bottom of the National League West, the Giants were teed up to get off to a big start. Things aren’t going as planned.

Once again, the Giants jumped ahead and watched as the Diamondbacks crashed the gates. The Diamondbacks scored seven unanswered runs for the second straight night, wiping away a pair of deficits and handing the Giants a 9-3 loss on the final night of a nearly two-month stretch in Arizona. The Giants opened their season by dropping three of four.

It’s hard to make much sense of the night Jeff Samardzija had. He struck out five in the first two innings, but David Peralta and Paul Goldschmidt hit back-to-back bombs in the fourth, tying a game the Giants led because of a solo homer by Aaron Hill and a Brandon Crawford single that knocked Brandon Belt in. 

The Giants jumped back ahead in the sixth, but left the bases loaded when Chris Marrero flied out. Samardzija had struck out the side in the bottom of the fifth, getting to nine on the day, but he opened the sixth by walking Peralta. After a Goldschmidt single, Jake Lamb hit a 419-foot blast to right-center. 

The Diamondbacks pulled away with a three-run rally off Ty Blach in the eighth that was pushed along by iffy defense in left by Hill, who was playing out of position. 

Starting pitching report: Samardzija gave up 17 homers in 18 road starts last season. Thursday fit right in.

Bullpen report: Hunter Strickland got five outs. He’s expected to leave the team sometime this weekend for the birth of his first child. 

At the plate: The left field platoon is 0-for-15 so far. It’s worth nothing that Hill saw late-innings time in left for the second consecutive night. 

In the field: We’re expanding the definition of “In The Field” to include a new guy who stands on the field. Phil Nevin is off to a good start as third base coach. He showed no hesitation in sending Belt on Crawford’s hard single to left in the fourth. At first glance it looked like Belt would be hosed, but Chris Herrmann made an awful throw. Scouting reports, man. 

Attendance: The Diamondbacks announced a crowd of 15,308 human beings for a game that should have been played at 1 p.m.

Up next: Matt Cain won the fifth starter battle. He gets his first crack at locking himself into the spot Friday against the Padres. (Also, Alex Pavlovic gets Petco Park nachos for the first time.) 

Giants lineup: Aaron Hill gets the start at second base

Giants lineup: Aaron Hill gets the start at second base

Programming note: Giants-Diamondbacks coverage starts tonight at 5:30pm with Giants Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area, and streaming live right here.

Bruce Bochy and Torey Lovullo issued their lineups for tonight's series finale in Arizona...

Giants (1-2)
1. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
2. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
3. Hunter Pence (R) RF
4. Buster Posey (R) C
5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
6. Eduardo Nunez (R) 3B
7. Chris Marrero (R) LF
8. Aaron Hill (R) 2B
9. Jeff Samardzija (R) P

Diamondbacks (2-1)
1. A.J. Pollock (R) CF
2. David Peralta (L) RF
3. Paul Goldschmidt (R) 1B
4. Jake Lamb (L) 3B
5. Chris Owings (R) SS
6. Chris Herrmann (L) LF
7. Daniel Descalso (L) 2B
8. Jeff Mathis (R) C
9. Robbie Ray (L) P