SAN FRANCISCO -- A matchup featuring two of the game's best arms lived up to its billing early on, but Welington Castillo's two-out single derailed Johnny Cueto in a four-run fifth and Zack Greinke allowed one earned run in six innings as the D-backs beat the Giants, 4-3, on Tuesday night at AT&T Park.
Greinke limited the Giants to two extra-base hits while continuing his thorough dominance of the club in San Francisco. The D-backs' ace is 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA in six starts at AT&T Park. The former Dodger also helped push the Giants to two games behind first-place Los Angeles in the National League West.
"I threw a lot of pitches in the first three or four innings," Greinke said. "I got a little efficient after that."
Cueto was equally as tough on the D-backs through four innings, but that changed in the fifth. Yasmany Tomas drew a leadoff walk, and Chris Owings smashed an RBI triple one at-bat later. Jean Segura then scored Owings with a base hit, before Castillo ended Cueto's night with a two-run single. Cueto would throw 36 pitches in the inning, while getting just two outs.
"He was locked in going into that inning," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "I think the pitches caught up with him. His command was a little off. He was really on and just started missing his spots. Once he got to that pitch count, I felt like I had to go get him. It's unfortunate, because he was really throwing the ball well."
Cueto had allowed just two runs in his last 17 innings heading into the fifth.
"It was a bad inning," said Cueto, who is 1-4 with a 4.25 ERA in nine starts since the All-Star break. "I don't know what happened."
The Giants didn't go quietly, putting the tying run at first with two outs when Angel Pagan's ninth-inning RBI single cut the lead to one. But Daniel Hudson induced a groundout from Buster Posey one at-bat later to preserve an Arizona win.
"We created chances out there that we couldn't cash in on," said Bochy. "That big hit was eluding us."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Pitching in defensively: En route to picking up his 12th win of the season, Greinke pitched around an error in the third inning, allowing one unearned run, and made a nifty play in the fourth to nail a runner at third. The scoreless inning kept the D-backs' deficit at 1-0, setting the stage for their rally in the fifth.
"I couldn't strike anyone out but was able to get some weak contact, and that was fine," Greinke said. "They usually have tough at-bats against me." More >
Finding a way:Denard Span's path around the bases in the third inning was certainly unusual. After reaching first thanks to a fielding error by Segura at second base, Span got to second following a Pagan single. Span then tagged up and raced to third on a Posey flyout, before sprinting home on a sacrifice fly from Brandon Crawford to give the Giants a 1-0 lead. The Giants entered Tuesday 42-22 when scoring first.
Welington's table-setters: Castillo's two-out, two-run single highlighted a big fifth inning for the D-backs, but it was also Owings' RBI triple and Greinke's ability to draw a walk that charged the four-run outburst.
Into the gap:Joe Panik continued to swing a hot bat. But the Giants' second baseman had nothing to show for it after a pair of hard-hit flyouts in his first two plate appearances. He finally found a gap in the sixth, crushing a ground-rule double to Triple's Alley to score Hunter Pence and cut the D-backs' lead to two with his 15th RBI in his last 17 games. The Giants would finish the game just 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position, though.
"I thought we made some hard outs, but that's the way it goes," said Posey. More >
"I thought he was cruising for a while. It's so difficult to get anything going against him, so when you do, you better keep it going." -- D-backs manager Chip Hale, on Cueto
WHAT'S NEXT D-backs:Shelby Miller gets the chance to pitch in the Major Leagues for the first time since mid-July when he toes the rubber for the D-backs in the series finale against the Giants at 12:45 p.m. MST on Wednesday. He's been with Triple-A Reno working out some issues and has appeared to have straightened things out.
Giants:Matt Moore will take the mound when the Giants and D-backs conclude a two-game series on Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. PT. Moore was one out shy of a no-hitter in his last outing, Thursday at Dodger Stadium. But he's yet to find that type of success at AT&T Park, posting a 6.55 ERA in two starts since joining the club at the Trade Deadline.