Hunter Pence Grand Slam, Missed Opportunities Doom D-backs In 6-2 Loss To Giants

After a two-game sweep over the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Arizona Diamondbacks hoped to gain some ground in the wild card race as they hosted they hosted the San Francisco Giants Friday night. In the first of a three-game series, rookie Tyler Skaggs was the victim of bad luck and Hunter Pence's bat as the Giants scored five runs in the third. Pence hit a grand slam that inning and Matt Cain held Arizona to one run in five innings in a 6-2 win by the Giants.

Arizona had a chance to get some runs early against Cain. In the bottom of the first inning, Cain walked three men and gave up a bunt hit, but got out of the inning without allowing a run, as Adam Eaton, who led off the inning with a walk, was thrown out at third trying to steal while Paul Goldschmidt was batting.

In the second, they also got the first two men on, but were unable to score. Ryan Wheeler singled and John McDonald reached safely when Pablo Sandoval fielded what could have been a double play ball and threw it into right-field. After Skaggs sacrificed the runners up, neither Adam Eaton nor Aaron Hill could get them home.

The Giants made some noise in the third inning. Matt Cain led off the inning with a walk. With one out, Marco Scutaro hit a grounder that shortstop made a great play on to stop, but Aaron Hill could not hold to the toss to him. Instead of getting out of the inning, there were two runners. Pablo Sandoval then singled to load the bases, bringing Buster Posey to the plate. He hit a ground ball to third baseman Ryan Wheeler, who attempted to get the force play at home, but his throw did not beat Matt Cain, who scored the first run. Hunter Pence then hit a ball into the left-field seats for a grand slam. Instead of a scoreless game after the top of the third, the Giants led 5-0.

In the sixth inning, the D-backs had their first two batter reach base safely for the fourth time, only this time they would score. Miguel Montero was hit by a pitch to lead off, then Justin Upton singled. Cain was relieved in favor of Jose Mijares, and Chris Johnson was called upon to pinch hit for Wheeler. Johnson singled home Montero to get them on the board.

However, despite loading the bases with nobody out when Guillermo Mota hit John McDonald in relief of Mijares, Arizona came away with nothing more. Mota retired pinch hitter Chris Young on a liner to third that was inches away from being a bases clearing extra-basehit, and then Jeremy Affeldt retire Adam Eaton and Aaron Hill to end the threat.

San Francisco picked up an additional run in the eighth when reliever Santiago Casilla got an RBI hit. Arizona would pick up a meaningless run with two outs in the ninth on an RBI single by Paul Goldschmidt, who had two hits in a losing effort. Chris Johnson also had two hits for Arizona. Pablo Sandoval had three hits for the Giants.

Skaggs took the loss, falling to 1-2, after pitching four innings, allowing five hits and five earned runsm striking out two and walking one. Cain, who went five-plus innings and allowed one run on four hits, five walks and a hit batter, won his 14th game of the year.

Get more Diamondbacks coverage over at AZ Snakepit.

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