PHOENIX (AP) — The San Francisco Giants still have time to catch the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
They will have to get better at closing out one-run games if they’re going to get there.
Chris Heston pitched effectively into the fifth inning, but the Giants missed numerous opportunities and scored their only run on a wild pitch in a 2-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday.
It was San Francisco’s 11th loss in its past 12 one-run games and 17th of the season.
“We had a pretty good opportunity but we just couldn’t get a hit,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy. “The one run that we got was on a wild pitch and that is not going to work.”
That opportunity came in the seventh inning, when Arizona manager Chip Hale decided to intentionally walk Buster Posey with runners on the corners.
It worked out well for the Diamondbacks.
Instead of facing Posey, the NL’s third-leading hitter at .329, he opted to have Randall Delgado walk him and pitch to Angel Pagan.
Pagan had some previous success against Delgado, but Arizona’s right-hander came through with the biggest out of the game, inducing an inning-ending pop-up to shallow left field.
“Posey is one of the best in baseball and in this stadium he’s lights out,” Hale said. “We were willing to take our chances with Angel and move on.”
Zack Godley (5-1) was sharp in his last start before heading to the bullpen, allowing a run on three hits in six innings.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered for the second straight game, a two-run shot off Heston (11-10), and Ender Inciarte had three hits. Brad Ziegler retired the final five hitters for his 23rd straight save and 25th overall.
The Giants had plenty of chances in this one, but couldn’t come through, going 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position. San Francisco had five hits and has lost nine of 12 road games to fall 8 ½ games behind the Dodgers in the NL West.
“We are getting down early. Most of them we come back (to) make it a one-run game,” Bochy said. “That is credit to them the way they are battling.”
Godley was making his last start of the season before being shifted to the bullpen to limit his innings.
He was sharp after struggling his last start — six runs in 3 2-3 innings — before hitting pinch-hitter Alejandro De Aza on the foot with a curveball to open the sixth inning. Hale lifted him after 65 pitches and the Giants scored a run in the inning on Andrew Chafin’s wild pitch.
“He pitched well and he was having fun out on the mound,” Saltalamacchia said. “He was aggressive and not backing down.”
Heston had a strong start to the season, including the first no-hitter by a Giants rookie in 103 years against the New York Mets on June 9.
The right-hander started to struggle once August rolled around, going 0-4 with a 5.28 ERA. He pitched well the last time out but had his winless streak stretched to six games after the Giants scored one run against Colorado.
Heston breezed through the first three innings before David Peralta led off the fourth with a ground-rule double. Saltalamacchia followed with a two-run homer to the deepest part of the ballpark in center.
Heston was lifted after intentionally walking Paul Goldschmidt — his team-record 25th of the season — with two outs in the fifth inning. Heston allowed two runs on five hits and struck five.
“I am just trying to build off all the positives I can,” Heston said. “Try to finish strong and take positives from every start to the next one and try to get back on it.”
Giants: RHP Matt Cain, who’s been out with elbow nerve irritation, is expected to be activated from the DL on Thursday and work out of the bullpen. ... 2B Joe Panik left in the seventh inning with lower back pain.
Diamondbacks: C Wellington Castillo was scratched from the lineup with a sore left wrist, but was available to pinch hit. Saltalamacchia started in his place.
Giants: RHP Jake Peavy will pitch against San Diego on Friday in San Francisco after the Giants get a day off on Thursday.
Diamondbacks: Arizona has a day off before LHP Robbie Ray pitches the opener of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.