Diamondbacks’ homers help Walker end losing streak
PHOENIX — Fernando Rodney said he feels more comfortable the more he pitches, and that has become quite a comfort for the Diamondbacks during their playoff push.
Rodney, Arizona’s closer, recorded his fifth save in six days while protecting Taijuan Walker’s first home victory in almost four months Saturday, when homers by A.J. Pollock and J.D. Martinez pushed the Diamondbacks to a 2-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field.
“That’s what the closer role is all about,” said Rodney, who pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning. “If they need you for tomorrow, they need you for tomorrow.”
Rodney saved all three Arizona victories in a four-game series at the New York Mets that began Monday, and he had saves in the first two games of the Giants’ series as the Diamondbacks (72-58) have won five of six.
“Remarkable,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said.
Pollock homered off Madison Bumgarner in the second inning and Martinez broke a 1-1 tie with his homer in the fourth to help Walker (7-7) halt a four-game losing streak.
Walker gave up four hits, including a Jarrett Parker homer, in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked one in his first victory since June 2. He had been 0-4 in 10 starts since.
Walker had not won at home since going a season-long eight innings in a 6-2 victory over San Diego on April 27.
“The team won,” Walker said.
“My job is to go out there and give my team the best chance to win, and that’s what we did tonight. We attacked with the fastball and got a lot of ground balls and got out of some jams. My pitch count has been getting pretty high, so when I got ahead I tried to put them away. Got a lot of weak contact.”
Parker and Joe Panik had two hit apiece for San Francisco (52-79), which has lost five of seven.
Bumgarner (3-6) gave up five runs and two hits, both homers, in seven innings. He struck out seven and walked one intentionally.
“You give up two runs in seven innings in this ball park, I think that’s a nice job,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said.
Pollock hit his seventh homer of the season with two outs in the first inning for a 1-0 lead, giving him homers against Bumgarner in consecutive Chase Field plate appearances. Pollock hit a two-run homer off Bumgarner in the sixth inning of the season opener here on April 2.
“I guess he has gotten real good at hitting high fastballs over the last year or two, because that’s two of them that he’s hit off me in basically the same spot,” Bumgarner said. “There are not too many guys who hit those pitches.”
Parker broke up Walker’s perfect game with a two-out homer the top of the fourth inning to tie it at 1.
Martinez’s bases-empty homer with one out in the bottom of the fourth gave Arizona a 2-1 lead. Martinez has 11 homers since joining Arizona from Detroit on July 19 and 27 overall this season.
Parker tripled with two outs in the sixth inning, but Walker struck out Buster Posey to get out of the inning.
Bumgarner was called out on strikes with runners on first and second to end the seventh inning. Replay showed the pitch was six inches outside.
“We’re both human,” Bumgarner said referring to home plate umpire Jerry Meals.
“I enjoy the human element to the game. I’ve said that plenty of times before. I’m not advocating for the stupid electronic strike zone.”
NOTES: Giants RHP Johnny Cueto is expected to throw between 60 and 70 pitches in a rehab start at Class San Jose on Sunday. Cueto has been sidelined with a strained flexor tendon since late July. ... Arizona LHP Patrick Corbin, 3-1 with a 1.23 ERA in his last four starts, is to start against San Francisco in the series finale Sunday. His streak began when he struck out a season-high 10 in San Francisco on Aug. 6. ... Arizona SS Ketel Marte was removed with left hamstring tightness in the top of the sixth inning. He was limping after flying out to right field in the fifth. SS Nick Ahmed (wrist), who played a rehab game at Triple-A Reno on Saturday, is eligible to return from the 60-day disabled list Sunday.