SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco Giants are in dire need of their first day off.
Tim Hudson put the defending World Series champions in an early hole by allowing a first-inning homer to San Francisco nemesis Paul Goldschmidt and the Giants lost for the ninth time in 10 games, 5-1 to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday.
“When you get off to a rough start, it’s good to hit the reset button, reset our minds,” second baseman Joe Panik said. “When you have a day off, it’s good to go out, see a movie, or do something to get the game off your mind.”
The Giants could use that after getting off to a 4-10 start that matches the worst for the franchise since the team moved here in 1958.
Life doesn’t figure to get much easier when they return Tuesday to open a three-game series against the defending NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers, who will send Brett Anderson, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Grienke to the mound.
“Sure, it’s going to be a big series,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “The last thing you want to do is get too far behind early. It’s time we pick things up.”
Chris Owings hit a two-run single and A.J. Pollock had three hits, scored two runs and made a run-saving diving catch for the Diamondbacks, who took three of four from the Giants. Jeremy Hellickson allowed one run in 6 2-3 innings to get his first win with Arizona.
The Diamondbacks won four of seven against San Diego and San Francisco for their first winning trip since sweeping Colorado in a three-game series last June.
One day after snapping an eight-game losing streak, the Giants found themselves in an early hole against the Diamondbacks thanks to a player who has done plenty of damage against San Francisco in recent years.
Goldschmidt hit the first pitch he saw from Hudson over the left-field fence for a two-run shot. Since his debut on Aug. 1, 2011, Goldschmidt leads all players with 12 homers, 45 RBIs and 32 extra-base hits against the Giants.
“I’ve been able to have some success,” he said. “You never know when that’s going to change. It could be a terrible series next time. I just try to get a good pitch to hit, hit it hard and keep it simple.”
Hudson, who has gotten only one run of support in three starts, lost his control in the third and the Giants never recovered. Hudson walked two batters and hit Jordan Pacheco with the bases loaded to force in a run before Owings broke the game open with his hit on an 0-2 pitch that made it 5-1.
“There’s such a fine line in this game,” Bochy said. “They end up putting up a big number and it changes the game. They outplayed us.”
That was more than enough for Hellickson. San Francisco got on the board in the first when Nori Aoki doubled and scored on Angel Pagan’s sacrifice fly.
But three double plays and Pollock’s diving catch in center to rob Hudson and end the second inning with two runners on base helped Hellickson avoid any more damage.
“I wouldn’t be standing here in this good of a mood if they didn’t do what they did,” Hellickson said of his defense.
Diamondbacks: C Gerard Laird (back) is eligible to come off the disabled list Friday.
Giants: Bochy said he will likely use either Ryan Vogelsong or Yusmeiro Petit in place of injured starter Jake Peavy on Thursday against Los Angeles rather than moving up the rest of the rotation because of Monday’s off-day.
The Giants have scored just 37 runs in the first 14 games and have been outscored 49-20 over the past 10 games.
“Right now, all we’re trying to do is find a way to go out there and play good baseball,” Hudson said. “We can pitch better, we can field better and we can hit better. You do those things better, you’re going to be better.”
Diamondbacks: Off on Monday before Texas native Chase Anderson (0-0) takes on the Rangers for the first time in his career to start a two-game series Tuesday.
Giants: Open a three-game series at home on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.