Delgado deals, but D-backs blanked in opener
Righty throws seven innings of one-run ball opposite Lincecum
PHOENIX -- From a bird's-eye view, the D-backs must have appeared well in control of Friday night's game against the Giants at Chase Field.
Arizona more than doubled San Francisco's hit total. The D-backs produced a baserunner in every inning except one. And, most notably, the D-backs' pitching completely shut down the Giants' lineup as only two Giants got as far as second base.
As it turned out, though, none of those advantages were enough to produce a much-needed positive result.
Fighting to stay alive in the playoff hunt, the D-backs' bats fell silent Friday, hitting just 1-for-12 with men on base and 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position as Tim Lincecum and company shut out Arizona, 1-0, wasting a stellar performance by Randall Delgado and an opportunity to gain ground in the National League Wild Card race.
"You've got to [win] those," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We didn't have good at-bats when we needed to have good at-bats. That's all there is to it."
The team Arizona is chasing, the Reds, also lost on Friday, so the club remained six games back for the second NL Wild Card spot, but that sliver of a silver lining didn't provide much consolation for the hapless D-backs' offense.
When looking back over all his team's missed chances throughout the course of the game, two stuck out in the mind of Gibson, both of which were eerily similar at-bats against Lincecum that lasted just three pitches each. The first occurred in the fifth when Gerardo Parra stepped to the plate with a runner on second and two down. The outfielder swung at three consecutive changeups down in the zone, the final of which he rolled over to first for the final out of the frame. An inning later, Miguel Montero came up with the bases loaded and one out, but like Parra, swung at three straight changeups down in the zone, this time striking out.
"Parra came up with a guy on second base and [Lincecum] just threw him all [offspeed stuff] in the dirt. He's got to be more selective," Gibson said. "He did the same thing to Miggy, bases loaded, one out. It's not going to get it done. If you want to win those games you've got to have better at-bats."
That's not say the D-backs weren't on the wrong side of some bad luck on Friday, as well. Following Montero's strikeout in the sixth, A.J. Pollock drove a grounder down the third-base line only to see Pablo Sandoval dive to his right, snag the liner and throw him out at first to end the bases-loaded threat and save at least two runs.
"If that gets down the line, you're looking at a crooked number," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Then in the eighth after Paul Goldschmidt worked a one-out walk, the D-backs sent the first baseman running on a 3-1 count to Martin Prado, who scorched the offering right back up the middle directly to Marco Scutaro, who was moving to second to cover the bag and easily turned the inning-ending double play.
"What are you going to do with that?" Gibson said. "He's running, he's got a good jump and he hits it right to the guy at second base."
"When you hit the ball, you can't control where it goes you know, sometimes you need a little bit of good luck," Prado said. "It was a pretty good game on both sides, it's one of those games where you needed a break and we didn't have it."
The lack of timely hitting left Delgado with a tough loss to swallow. The right-hander pitched well enough to earn the victory, but instead remained winless since Aug. 2 despite tossing seven strong innings and giving up just one run on three hits.
"He threw like Randall throws," Gibson said. "He had great control, had them off-balance and his location was pretty damn good."
The only mistake Delgado made came to the first batter of the game, but it proved to be costly. After Angel Pagan led off the night with a double, the Giants played small ball to plate the only run of the game, advancing Pagan to third with one out on a bunt before Brandon Belt lifted a sacrifice fly to center, plating the eventual deciding run before most of the 24,380 fans in attendance got to their seats.
"I was pounding the zone. I had some bad pitches in the first inning, but I felt good after that," said Delgado, who retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced. "I felt good pitching. Unfortunately, we lost, but you have to say they played good, too. That happens, you can't control that."
Despite the loss, Delgado's strong performance marked the 12th time in 15 starts this season he has surrendered three earned runs or fewer.
"He's getting real mature, he's taking everything to the next level," Prado said. "He's in the process where he needs to keep learning about pitching and using that sinker and his good changeup. But, I know he's going to keep getting better and better."