Cody Ross #13 of the San Francisco Giants celebrates with Jeff Keppinger #8 after hitting
a lead-off home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first inning during a MLB baseball
game at AT&T Park August 1, 2011 in SanFrancisco, California
By Carl Steward
The Arizona Diamondbacks made a powerful statement to the Giants at AT&T Park on Monday night. They not only looked like a team that isn’t going away but also like one that’s in it to win it.
The Diamondbacks erupted for five sixth-inning runs against their pitching nemesis, Matt Cain, and pulled to within one game of first-place San Francisco in the N.L. West with a 5-2 victory.
It was the Giants’ fourth consecutive defeat after what looked to be a bellwether series in Philadelphia, where the Giants won two of three. Arizona, meanwhile, has won three straight, all on the road, to apply some serious heat to the defending division champs.
To be sure, Arizona broke through a heavy psychological barrier in knocking out Cain, albeit with jabs — a rally composed of five singles and a walk. Didn’t matter. Coming into the game, the right-hander had been tough on the Diamondbacks — 9-4 lifetime, including 3-0 this season.
Cain seemed to be the perfect pitcher to kick off this important series against the Giants’ closest pursuers, and for five innings he was, holding the Diamondbacks scoreless with just three hits and two walks.
Cain was nursing a 1-0 lead provided by Cody Ross, who led off the bottom of the first with a home run. But Cain suddenly unraveled in the sixth. Arizona starter Ian Kennedy, meanwhile, shackled the Giants most of the night, and in a crucial showdown with San Francisco’s new showcase acquisition, Carlos Beltran, induced a double play that ended the last serious threat.
Beltran went 2 for 4 in his AT&T Park debut as a Giant, singling in the fourth and lacing a triple into the right-center gap in the sixth. After Ross and Jeff Keppinger stroked back-to-back singles with one out in the bottom of the eighth, Beltran came to the plate looking to do RBI damage.
But Kennedy threw an off-speed pitch that Beltran drove into the ground directly to second baseman Kelly Johnson, who initiated a double play that ended the inning.
That completed an eight-inning performance by Kennedy (13-3) in which the only harmful blows were Ross’ early solo homer and a leadoff homer by Aubrey Huff in the seventh. Kennedy gave up six hits, walked only one and struck out seven.
Cain (9-7) ran into trouble quickly in the sixth when Justin Upton opened with a single and Chris Young worked a walk. Miguel Montero singled to right to bring home Upton with the tying run, and Ryan Roberts followed with a sharp single to left that scored Young.
After Cain struck out Paul Goldschmidt for the first out, Gerardo Parra lined a single through the right side that scored Montero, and on the throw to the plate, Parra and Roberts moved up to second and third. Kennedy was out attempting a bunt for the second out, but Willie Bloomquist hit a bouncer up the middle that just eluded shortstop Orlando Cabrera to bring home two runs and give the Diamondbacks a 5-1 lead.
Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo didn’t allow any runs after Cain departed, but the Giants could only get a run closer on Huff’s 10th homer of the season. Casilla left the game in the ninth with an undisclosed injury.
The Giants staged a two-out rally in the ninth on singles by Nate Schierholtz and Cabrera, but J.J. Putz retired Aaron Rowand on a fly out to right for his 25th save.
See Related: Giants Archive