PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Diamondbacks' surprising surge in the NL West has slammed into reality in the form of the San Francisco Giants.
The reigning World Series champions beat Arizona 5-2 on Wednesday night, their fifth consecutive win over the Diamondbacks and seventh in eight meetings this season.
``The last five games against them they have made the plays when it has counted,' Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. ``We have been in the games and they have responded better than we have. We had our opportunities to get guys in. I think we were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position and we left seven on. We had opportunities in the first, sixth and seventh and didn't get them in.'
The Diamondbacks opened this three-game series a half-game behind the Giants. After two losses they are 2 1/2 games back and facing the prospect of a San Francisco sweep.
``A couple of tough losses,' Arizona's Chris Young said. ``You don't like it, especially playing a team in your own division. You don't want to lose the games the way we lost them. You have to find a positive and say that we put ourselves in a position to at least tie the game or hit the ball hard.'
Young and Willie Bloomquist homered to end Madison Bumgarner's 10 consecutive starts without allowing a home run. But that was about all the Diamondbacks could muster against the 21-year-old left-hander, who got some run support for a change.
``He's been pitching so good I was embarrassed today to see that he has nine consecutive quality starts and 2-5 to show for it,' the Giants' Pat Burrell said. ``That's embarrassing to us as an offense. We didn't exactly blow them out but we got enough for him. That's what it's all about.'
Bumgarner (3-8) gave up two runs and five hits and struck out six in six innings.
``It's kind of funny. I feel not much different than the last few games when it's been the other way around,' he said. ``I feel like I've thrown some better games before today and lost. Today it was a battle. But I feel good about it.'
Arizona had runners at first and second with two outs in the ninth, but Brian Wilson retired pinch-hitter Juan Miranda on a grounder for his 20th save in 22 chances.
Bill Hall singled home the go-ahead run in the sixth with his first hit since joining the Giants four days ago and he later doubled.
Joe Saunders (3-7) allowed three runs and threw a season-high 115 pitches in seven innings for Arizona.
San Francisco scored two insurance runs off closer J.J. Putz in the ninth. Eli Whiteside tripled home Hall and scored on a wild pitch.
Aubrey Huff singled twice, drove in a run and scored for the Giants.
In the Arizona eighth, Kelly Johnson tried to score what would have been the tying run from first on Young's double down the left-field line. Aaron Rowand, who had shifted from center field to right in the seventh, threw to shortstop Miguel Tejada, whose relay home was in plenty of time for the catcher Whiteside to apply the tag.
``What a quick release and strong throw, right on the money,' manager Bruce Bochy said. ``A ball down the line and they had speed on the base. You know he's going and it takes perfect execution to get it done, and we had it from both guys.'
Young had no problem with third base coach Matt Williams sending Johnson home.
``It was a good call. You have to take a chance and send him and they made the play,' Young said. ``You have to challenge them in that situation and it is what it is. They made the play.'
Bloomquist, hitless in his previous 12 at_bats, hit Bumgarner's 2-0 pitch just over the left-field wall for his second home run of the season to tie it at 1 in the third. It was the first home run the Giants' lefty has allowed in 67 innings.
Young's homer barely cleared the left-field fence to tie it at 2 in the fourth.
NOTES: Bumgarner had not allowed a home run since a solo shot by Arizona's Justin Upton's at Chase Field on April 17. ... After the enclosed structure was cooled by air conditioning, the Chase Field roof was opened just before the first pitch even though it was 106 degrees outside. ... Arizona's Xavier Nady struck out four times. ... Bumgarner's three victories all have come on the road. ... All eight games between the Diamondbacks and Giants have been decided by three runs or fewer. ... The Giants are 14-5 against left-handed starters.
The Associated Press News Service
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