As these games between the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants keep telling us, these teams are close but the edge still goes to the World Champions. This time, as it's been in several previous meetings, the difference was the bullpen. And while the D-backs pen is much improved, they're still an arm or two short to get over the hump in these close contests. Giants win 6-5 in the series opener and extend their lead in the NL West to 1.5 games.
Diamondbacks starter Josh Collmenter came into the evening sporting a sparkling 1.12 ERA, having given up just four earned runs in seven starts. That all came to an end Tuesday night as Collmenter was shaky from the get-go. He gave up a handful of hits and a couple of walks in the first four innings and was lucky to be down only two runs. Then in the fifth he put the walks and hits together and allowed three more. His line for the evening was five innings, five earned runs, eight hits, three walks, and four strike outs.
With Zach Duke getting chased early the night before in Florida, it was not a good evening for the bullpen to work four innings. The combination of Aaron Heilman, Esmerling Vasquez, Joe Paterson, and David Hernandez did well enough to allow just one more run (Heiman's) and at least gave the offense a chance to be heroes...and they almost pulled it off.
After the team scratched across a run in the fifth, Miguel Montero came through in the sixth and made a game of it. He blasted a 2-2 pitch over the right field wall that plated Stephen Drew and Chris Young. Justin Upton's double in the seventh sent Sean Burroughs home after his pinch-hit, lead off double got him in scoring position.
With the game 6-5 in the Giants favor, bearded closer Brian Wilson got two quick outs before walking the next two batters and advancing them to second and third on a wild pitch. Stephen Drew was at the plate with a chance to walk off a hero but he was called out on a pitch that appeared on replay to be just outside the strike zone.
Giants starter Matt Cain gave up five earned runs in 6.2 innings with two walks and four strike outs and one homerun. His ERA climbed to 3.61 and his record to 6-4 with the win.
The D-backs and Giants will suit up Wednesday with Madison Bumgarner (2-8, 3.23) facing Joe Saunders (3-6, 4.56).
For more on this game and all things Diamondbacks, visit AZ Snake Pit.