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National League Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, May 29th (All times Eastern)
Arizona Diamondbacks (22-27) at San Francisco Giants (26-23), 10:15 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Arizona - Joe Saunders (3-3, 3.79) San Francisco - Ryan Vogelsong (3-2, 2.50)
(Sports Network) - Barry Zito gave the San Francisco Giants the upper hand in the opener of a three-game set with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and now it's up to Ryan Vogelsong to lock down another series win tonight in the middle portion of this series from AT&T Park.
Zito improved to 4-2 on the season by holding the NL West-rival Diamondbacks to a pair of runs on seven hits over seven innings. He struck out three and walked one batter in the 4-2 victory for the Giants, who have won two straight and eight of 12 games. The Giants also pulled within 6 1/2 games of Los Angeles for the top spot in the division after the Dodgers lost to Milwaukee on Memorial Day.
"I wanted to throw more strikes and let them hit it," Zito said. "I wanted to pitch to contact instead of trying to nibble. Just pouring it through the zone, putting pressure on them."
A three-run first inning was all Zito would need to be victorious, as Gregor Blanco stole home with two outs, Hector Sanchez followed with an RBI single and Brandon Belt tripled to help the Giants open a seven-game homestand on a high note. Blanco ended with two hits and an RBI.
"I saw the opportunity to go," Blanco said of stealing home. "I had a big lead from third base. The third-base coach [Tim Flannery] told me if they throw to second, go home."
Melky Cabrera went 1-for-3 for the Giants and has 47 hits this month -- four shy of tying Randy Winn for the San Francisco-era record for the most hits in a month. Winn accomplished the feat in September of 2005. The Giants are an amazing 22-0 when leading after seven innings this season, which speaks volumes of their bullpen. Clay Hensley tossed a scoreless eighth inning on Monday and Santiago Casilla notched his 13th save in the ninth.
The Giants are in the midst of playing 13 of 16 games at home and are 5-1-2 in their last eight home series. Vogelsong will try to build on that number when he makes his ninth start of the season Tuesday. Vogelsong has won two straight starts and is 3-0 in his last four trips to the mound. He last toed the rubber in Thursday's 14-7 pounding of Miami in south Florida, as he allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings, improving to 3-2 on the season with a 2.50 ERA.
Vogelsong, a 2011 All-Star, hopes to even his 1-2 mark at home in his fifth start at AT&T Park and will face Arizona for the first time this season. In 10 career games (4 starts) in this series, the right-hander is 2-2 with a 2.54 ERA.
Arizona manager Kirk Gibson celebrated his 55th birthday in losing fashion and his club had won two straight and three of four games before coming up short against the rival Giants.
The defending National League West champions received a rough start from Trevor Cahill, who was reached for all four runs and eight hits in six innings of work to suffer the loss. Cahill is now 2-5 on the season and 1-5 in his last eight starts.
Justin Upton had an RBI double and John McDonald added a pinch-hit solo homer for the D-Backs, who started a six-game road trip last night. Upton has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games and Paul Goldschmidt finished 2-for-3. Goldschmidt entered the series opener by the bay batting .375 with four doubles, a home run and two RBI.
"We've had some pressure and seen some better at-bats, we had our opportunities today," Gibson said. "We hit some balls hard, right at guys, but if you play better baseball, it doesn't make much of a difference. It should have been a different ball game."
D-Backs catcher Miguel Montero returned to the lineup after missing time because of a groin injury and went 0-for-4 at the plate.
Joe Saunders gets the nod today for the Diamondbacks and enters tonight's contest on a winning note after ending a four-game winless (0-2) drought in an 11-4 win over Los Angeles last Wednesday. Even though he allowed four runs in 6 1/3 innings, Saunders received plenty of run support to even his record at 3-3 in nine starts to go along with a 3.79 earned run average.
Saunders also struck out a season high seven batters and walked one. The lefty lost to the Giants on May 13, as he gave up six runs and 10 hits in five innings of a 7-3 setback. In five career starts against San Francisco, Saunders is 0-4 with a 5.23 ERA.
Arizona has won four of seven matchups with the Giants this season. The D- Backs are 12-5 in the previous 17 meetings between the two ballclubs.
05/29 10:32:44 ET
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