((HT: BASTA their own selves/Ben Leonard))
Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday. It has just not been Arizona’s year in 2014, even when it comes to luck. The Giants, the hottest team in baseball, winning 12 of 15, took advantage of the hapless D’backs, who rolled out a Triple-A-esque lineup on Thursday. Looking on the bright side for Arizona, they did score their first runs since Tuesday, putting up two, one on a Jake Lamb solo homer in the ninth. Those runs didn’t matter for San Francisco, who won their ninth straight home game, matching a streak of the same length from May of 2011. During the streak, the Giants have outscored their opponents 58-14, including Thursday’s 6-2 victory.
The baseball gods were working for the Giants on Thursday, giving the club the early momentum shift in the first inning that killed Arizona’s morale. Angel Pagan led off the frame with a double that just barely stayed fair down the first baseline, similar to Blanco’s double on Wednesday. Buster Posey worked starter Randall Delgado for eight pitches after falling behind 0-2, and got an infield single on a swing with absolutely no lower body, poking it to the third baseman Jake Lamb. The ball caromed off of his glove on his diving attempt to stop it, bouncing hard right past shortstop Cliff Pennington. With runners on first and third and two outs, Hunter Pence had an RBI single up the middle on a swing in which he wasn’t even holding the bat. He threw the bat at the ball, and hit it somewhat sharply up the middle, where it kicked up high off the bag and out of reach of the second baseman Chris Owings, plating Pagan to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.
Here's the Pence hit up the middle
The particles were in the air Thursday afternoon. It felt like a playoff atmosphere at the yard, likely a preview of the Giants’ October. Jake Peavy, an integral part of the Giants’ playoff push, pitched admirably Thursday, going 5 and 2/3 strong innings, giving up only one run and striking out eight. Over his last six starts, Peavy has gone 5-1 with a minuscule 1.12 ERA while getting ample run support, something that killed his confidence when he was with Boston. He received 38 runs of support while with the Sox, but has received 34 in 70 and 2/3 less innings in San Francisco.
The Giants controlled the game all day long, and extended their lead with a three-run sixth inning. Juan Perez had an RBI double, Buster Posey had an RBI single, and Hunter Pence walked with the bases loaded against reliever Matt Stites. The Arizona bullpen was absolutely atrocious throughout the series, posting a 5.54 ERA despite throwing six innings with no earned runs (2 R) on Tuesday. San Francisco sits two back of the Dodgers in the NL West heading into a pivotal three-game set starting Friday.
Notes: Michael Morse (Oblique) will likely miss the series against the Dodgers, manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday. Bud Selig toured the park Thursday on his farewell tour, and visited Kruk and Kuip in the CSN Bay Area booth. Morse has missed the last nine games with the ailment. Madison Bumgarner (17-9, 3.02), who is one strikeout short of 200 on the season, will face Hyun-Jin Ryu (14-6, 3.16) in the opener of the most important series of the season.