The Arizona Diamondbacks get another opportunity to make up ground on the San Francisco Giants in their quest for third place in the National League West when the clubs open a three-game series in San Francisco on Monday night.
The scheduled matchup of Diamondbacks right-hander Merrill Kelly (7-5, 3.42 ERA) and Giants righty Alex Cobb (3-3, 4.74) is the rematch of a 7-5 San Francisco win at Arizona last Wednesday in a game in which neither starting pitcher got a decision.
The Diamondbacks won two of three in the series and enter this week tied for fourth place in the West with the Colorado Rockies.
The clubs are scheduled to meet 16 more times this season, including 10 times in San Francisco.
Cobb allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings in last week’s meeting. He left with the Giants losing 4-2.
He has faced the Diamondbacks just twice in his career, both times as a starter, going 0-0 with a 9.00 ERA.
If Cobb needs added incentive in the rematch, it might have come Sunday, when no Giants pitchers were named National League All-Stars. Logan Webb and Carlos Rodon had both been considered candidates to earn invitations to the July 19 exhibition.
Barring last-minute replacements, outfielder Joc Pederson will be the lone Giant participating in the event.
Alex Wood, who threw seven shutout innings in a 12-0 win at San Diego on Sunday, credited a strong effort by Rodon on Saturday as paving the way for his own success.
“There’s always friendly competition,” he admitted. “Somebody goes out there the game before and dominates, you want to follow that up with a good, quality start the next day.”
Alek Thomas had the big hit off Cobb in the Arizona meeting, a two-RBI single in a three-run second inning that put the hosts up 4-0.
The Giants’ rally included two runs in the eighth and three in the ninth, with Darin Ruf getting to usually reliable Diamondbacks reliever Joe Mantiply for a two-run homer in the eighth.
Mantiply was also charged with the Giants’ go-ahead run in the ninth as well, raising his season ERA from 1.13 to 1.91.
The left-hander threw 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief in his only appearance since the blow-up in a 3-2 home loss to the Colorado Rockies on Sunday, celebrating his in-game selection as the Diamondbacks’ representative in the All-Star Game.
The fifth-year major-leaguer was able to thank his teammates before the squad boarded a flight to San Francisco.
“I gave a little speech to the team,” he reported. “Just thanking everybody — everybody that voted for me or had my back and pushed my name through. It means a lot, especially since some of my best friends in the world are in that room. So definitely means a lot that they have my back and wanted me to get it just as much.”
Kelly left last week’s game in the seventh inning with a 4-2 lead. He limited the Giants to two runs and two hits in 6 1/3 innings.
He will be making his 12th career start against the Giants, having gone 3-3 with a 3.18 ERA in the first 11.
–Field Level Media