Blast from past as Giants jolt D-backs
SAN FRANCISCO — Old-timers day games usually don’t count in the standings.
But when Ryan Vogelsong and Pablo Sandoval joined forces again Sunday, just like the good ol’ days, the San Francisco Giants surely benefitted.
On an afternoon when the Giants paid tribute to a retiring Vogelsong, Sandoval hit his first right-handed home run since 2014 as part of a two-hit, three-RBI day, helping San Francisco avoid a series sweep by beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-2.
Right-hander Chris Stratton pitched six strong innings and combined with four relievers on a six-hitter, as the Giants bounced back from narrow defeats to Diamondbacks pitching standouts Robbie Ray and Zack Greinke on Friday and Saturday.
“Special. Special feeling,” Sandoval said of sharing the applause with Vogelsong, teammates during the Giants’ 2012 and 2014 championships. “He meant a lot (to the Giants).”
The loss snapped Arizona’s franchise-record-tying, nine-game road winning streak, but did no damage in the National League wild-card race.
Thanks to a loss by the Colorado Rockies (82-68) to the San Diego Padres, the Diamondbacks (87-63) retained their five-game cushion atop the wild-card heap.
“Just didn’t really hit well today,” noted Diamondbacks slugger J.D. Martinez, whose two-run homer provided all the club’s scoring. “You know, the mood in here is, ‘Whatever.’ Keep riding. We won the series; that’s what we’re looking at. We’re not looking at the negative.”
Sandoval, who entered the game with just two hits in his last 57 at-bats, drove in the game’s first run with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly against Arizona starter Taijuan Walker in the fourth inning.
The Giants never trailed after that.
Sandoval’s homer came on the second pitch thrown by Diamondbacks left-hander Jorge De La Rosa.
The solo shot to center field that increased the Giants’ lead to 5-2 in the sixth inning.
The homer by the switch hitter was his first against a lefty pitcher since Aug. 6, 2014, against the Milwaukee Brewers. Coincidentally, Vogelsong started and was the winning pitcher that day.
Only 19 of Sandoval’s 123 career homers have been hit right-handed.
“It’s good to see him have a good day,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “That home run was big because they were back in the ballgame (at 4-2). It’s good to see him get a hold of one from the right side.”
Sandoval’s third RBI came as part of a two-run seventh inning that increased the Giants’ lead to 7-2. He was denied a third hit when Brandon Crawford was forced out at second on an apparent single to left field, but Austin Slater scored on what was ruled a fielder’s choice.
The Giants’ big inning was the fifth, when consecutive singles by Stratton, Denard Span and Joe Panik set the stage for single runs to be scored on a walk, a sacrifice fly and a fielder’s choice.
All told, six of the Giants’ seven runs scored as a result of something other than a hit. The club used three sacrifice flies, two fielder’s choices and a bases-loaded walk to build its run total.
“We did a good job of putting the ball in play,” Bochy said. “Hitting the holes there. Moving the line. They did a fantastic job of supporting Stratton.”
Panik and Jarrett Parker joined Sandoval with two hits apiece for the Giants, who had lost four in a row.
Stratton (3-3) allowed Martinez’s two-run homer in the sixth, but just four other hits and no other runs in his six innings. He walked one and struck out four.
After facing just one batter in his last start because of a long rain delay that followed, Stratton had to wait out Vogelsong’s on-field ceremony this time.
“Just another chapter. My starts have been really weird this year,” he noted. “Vogey deserved it. He told he me was proud of me after the game. Hopefully, I can have the same success he had.”
Walker (9-8) was a victim of a Giants’ small-ball approach in his five innings. He permitted seven hits, all singles, and four runs, which snapped his streak of 16 consecutive road starts allowing three or fewer runs.
Walker walked three and struck out four.
Martinez’s homer was his 40th of the season, his 24th in 51 games since joining the Diamondbacks. He now has 11 homers in his last 14 games.
“It’s definitely cool,” he said of reaching 40 homers. “First time in my career. It’s an honor. It’s definitely an achievement that I never thought I could reach.”
Martinez, who began the season with the Detroit Tigers, became just the fifth player ever to combine for 40 or more home runs for two different teams in the same season, joining Greg Vaughn (1996), Mark McGwire (1997), David Justice (2000) and Adam Dunn (2008) in that distinction.
Chris Iannetta had three hits and Martinez two for the Diamondbacks, who lost for just the sixth time in their last 26 games.
NOTES: Giants RHP Chris Stratton is 3-1 with a 2.17 ERA in his last six starts. ... Diamondbacks RF J.D. Martinez’s home run was his 24th after the All-Star break, extending his own club record. ... RHP Ryan Vogelsong’s retirement ceremony consisted of throwing three warm-up pitches immediately before the start of the game with the rest of the San Francisco starting defense behind him. The seven-year Giant started seven postseason games for club in 2012 and 2014; the Giants won all seven of the games. ... Vogelsong wore his old uniform, No. 32, during his retirement ceremony. Giants LHP Steven Okert donned the same number during his one-batter stint in the seventh inning.