Diamondbacks fall to Giants at AT&T Park
Arizona Diamondbacks ace right-hander Dan Haren pitched as proficiently in his 2009 road debut as he did in his first two starts of the season at Chase Field.
Unfortunately for Haren and the D-backs, the result of Friday night’s NL West Division clash in San Francisco was another hard-luck defeat, as Arizona fell 2-0 to the host Giants at AT&T Park.
Haren (0-3) allowed one run on five hits in six innings -- lowering his ERA to 1.89 -- but the Diamondbacks could not muster any offense against Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez and three relievers. The shutout loss dropped Arizona’s record to 3-7.
“We’re not playing well,” Haren said. “It’s not good to dig this deep of a hole this early in the year. But if guys are going to hang their heads and mope about it, then we’re not going to be competitive. So we gotta turn it around eventually, and tomorrow has got to be the time.”
On the season, Haren has given up just four runs on 12 hits in 19 innings, but the Diamondbacks have scored a total of one run in his three starts (which include a 3-0 loss to Colorado on April 7 and a 3-1 setback against the Dodgers on Easter Sunday).
“We haven’t scored him any runs,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said about Haren. “The guy should be arguably 3 and 0, and he’s 0 and 3. He’s frustrated.”
Haren struck out six and walked none on Friday. He threw just 79 pitches before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the top of the seventh.
The Giants scored their only run off Haren in the fourth inning, when Pablo Sandoval ripped a two-out double down the right-field line and Bengie Molina followed with an RBI single down the left-field line.
“He’s a tough out,” Haren said about Molina, a veteran catcher who drove in 95 runs last year and has nine RBIs this season. “He got enough barrel on it and he got it over our third baseman’s head. And that was it. That’s the ball-game right there.”
In each of Haren’s starts this season, the Diamondbacks bullpen has allowed at least one run after he left the game. On Friday, the Arizona relief corps gave up its obligatory insurance run when Scott Schoeneweis surrendered a solo homer in the eighth inning to Andres Torres.
Sanchez (1-1, 3.97 ERA) pitched into the seventh inning for the Giants, allowing two hits and four walks while striking out four. He threw 95 pitches.
The Diamondbacks put two runners on base against Sanchez in the top of the seventh. After Justin Upton doubled with two outs and Chris Snyder walked, Melvin called for Tony Clark to bat for Haren. Giants skipper Bruce Bochy countered by bringing in reliever Jeremy Affeldt, who retired Clark on a sinking line drive to right field to end the inning.
“I’ll tell you what, I contemplated letting him hit right there, but I gotta go with the hitter right there,” Melvin said about his decision to replace Haren with a pinch-hitter. “We’re in a one-run game. We got two guys on. If it’s a man on first, I probably let him hit. First and second, you got to go ahead and try to score a run.”
“I wasn’t obviously happy coming out of the game,” said Haren. “But if a pitcher’s happy coming out of a game, they’re not in the right sport.”
Melvin said Clark provided a quality at-bat in his pinch-hitting appearance.
“He hit the ball hard, just right at the right-fielder,” Melvin said.
Bob Howry pitched the eighth for the Giants. The long-time set-up man gave up a leadoff single to Felipe Lopez. After Augie Ojeda popped out to the shortstop, Lopez stole second and went to third when the throw caromed into center field. Conor Jackson was called out on strikes on a breaking ball on the inside corner for the second out of the inning. Bochy then brought in his closer, Brian Wilson, who struck out Mark Reynolds on a 3-2 pitch.
Wilson, who earned his first save of the year, walked Chris Young to begin the ninth, but he got Eric Byrnes to hit a chopper back to the mound for a double play. Upton struck out swinging to end the game.
The Giants (3-7) snapped a six-game losing streak with the victory. The Diamondbacks have lost five of their last six.
By: Tom Kessler
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