SAN FRANCISCO -- Receiving impressive pitching from Chris Heston and brief but effective flurries of offense, the San Francisco Giants snapped their eight-game losing streak Saturday by subduing the Arizona Diamondbacks, 4-1.
"He's a good pitcher," D-backs first baseman Paul Goldschmidt said of Heston. "He pitched well tonight. He didn't make too many mistakes. He worked ahead in the count a lot; that was maybe the biggest thing. He had the one walk, but there wasn't too many hitters' counts. He mixed up his slider and his fastball so you couldn't really lock in on one pitch. He did a great job tonight."
The first defending World Series champions to drop their first five home games, the Giants finally emerged victorious at AT&T Park with sufficient backing for Heston, who yielded five hits in 7 2/3 innings. Joe Panik lined a first-inning RBI single, Buster Posey contributed a two-out, run-scoring single in the third inning and Brandon Crawford added a two-run homer in the fourth.
"It was a tough week for us," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, "but it was a big day today."
One night after amassing 18 hits, the D-backs moved only two runners into scoring position against Heston. This victimized Arizona starter Rubby De La Rosa, who displayed his usual array of hard stuff while surrendering all of San Francisco's runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. More >
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Crawford's clout: The Giants were clinging to a 2-1 lead when they benefited from the evening's defining moment: Crawford's homer. Receiving such a big hit from a slumping teammate signaled to the Giants that this just might be their night. More >
Caught looking: The D-backs seemed to be putting together a rally against Heston in the second when, with Arizona trailing 1-0, Mark Trumbo and Tuffy Gosewisch collected back-to-back singles with one out. The next batter, Chris Owings, thought he had drawn a walk on a 3-2 breaking ball that appeared to be inside. Instead, home-plate umpire Lance Barrett ruled it was strike three. Nick Ahmed followed with a walk, but instead of forcing in a run it was simply the second out of the inning.
"We didn't like it, obviously," D-backs manager Chip Hale said about Barrett's strike zone. "But he was pretty consistently calling it down there low. You're taught a certain way to hit and what the strike zone is and when it's not where you think it's going to be, it's tough on you. But to the pitcher's credit, he kept hitting that spot and he kept calling it."
Finishing what he starts: After yielding David Peralta's fourth-inning leadoff homer, Heston hit high gear, retiring 12 of the next 13 hitters through the end of the seventh inning. His 7 2/3 innings represented a big league career high. More >
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The Giants improved to 2-1 in games following World Series ring ceremonies in San Francisco. They edged St. Louis, 3-2, in 2011 and lost to St. Louis, 14-3, in 2013 before defeating Arizona on Saturday.
WHAT'S NEXT D-backs: The D-backs have an opportunity Sunday to win the four-game series with the Giants and salvage a winning record on this seven-game road trip. It will be the D-backs' 10th game in 10 days, and they will be off Monday and Thursday this week.
Giants: Though the Giants desperately need a win, manager Bruce Bochy may view Sunday's series finale against the D-backs as an opportunity to rest some regulars, particularly since Monday's scheduled off-day would lengthen the "break." Candidates for a day off include Posey, center fielder Angel Pagan and any of the infielders, who would step aside for Matt Duffy.