PHOENIX (AP) – Save for a 48-game stint as interim manager of the Boston Red Sox in 2015, Torey Lovullo is new to the job.
But the Arizona Diamondbacks’ first-year skipper made the right call in the sixth inning Wednesday night when he sent up Jeremy Hazelbaker to pinch hit for starting pitcher Taijuan Walker. Hazelbaker delivered a one-out double that gave his team the lead, and the Diamondbacks rallied for an 8-6 win over the San Francisco Giants.
“The big blow was Jeremy Hazelbaker. He put up a quality at-bat with a good approach,” Lovullo said.
Chris Owings reached safely four times and stole two bases, and the Diamondbacks scored seven consecutive runs in coming back from a three-run deficit.
A.J. Pollock went 3 for 5 with an RBI and Yasmany Tomas had two hits and an RBI to help Walker win his Diamondbacks debut despite allowing four runs and seven hits in six innings.
“We’ve had a lot of clutch hitting. We’re going to have to keep that going,” Pollock said.
Arizona has taken two of three in the four-game series.
Walker (1-0) struck out seven before the Diamondbacks turned the game over to their bullpen. Jorge De La Rosa fanned two in one inning on his 36th birthday and Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his first save with Arizona.
“Started off a little rough. Nerves. A little frustration. First start of the season,” Walker said. “Just nerves. I was kind of amped up. The last three innings I thought were really good.
“The offense did a great job of picking me up,” he added. “We have a really good offense, one of the best in the league.”
Owings, with a run-scoring single in the third, has an RBI in six straight games dating to 2016, extending his career high.
Brandon Belt homered and tripled for San Francisco. His fifth-inning solo shot gave the Giants a 4-1 lead, and he scored in the third after hitting a sinking fly to center field that Pollock misplayed into a triple.
Hunter Pence singled in Belt for one of his two hits, including a triple.
Giants starter Matt Moore, who shined in his last meaningful start before Wednesday – two-hit ball over eight innings in the NL Division Series against the Chicago Cubs – allowed three earned runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. An error by Belt at first base in the fifth allowed two runs to score, and the Diamondbacks tied it at 4 in that inning.
“If you can on those plays, you want to try to get your body there so that if it does bounce, you can knock it down,” Belt said. “I got caught in between and didn’t think I was going to have enough time to get in front of it. I tried to backhand it and just couldn’t come up with it. It changed the momentum and it changed the whole ballgame for us.”
Hazelbaker came through against Giants reliever Cory Gearrin, and the Diamondbacks added a pair of insurance runs in the seventh off Neil Ramirez.
The Giants scored twice in the eighth on three singles, a walk and a wild pitch, but Tom Wilhelmsen got Chris Marrero to fly out with runners on second and third, ending the rally.
“They scored seven runs in three innings. That’s not going to work, usually,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “I felt good in the eighth. Bases loaded there, had some good hitters up there, they get out of it. Just couldn’t get that one more hit to get us over the hump and get back to tying the game.”
Diamondbacks slugger Paul Goldschmidt got his 100th career stolen base, becoming one of five first basemen in major league history with 100 home runs and 100 stolen bases. He joined Jeff Bagwell, Andres Galarraga, Derrek Lee and Dan Driessen.
The Giants confirmed the signing of veteran OF Drew Stubbs to a minor league contract. Stubbs was released by the Minnesota Twins late last month after spending most of spring training with them. He’ll provide outfield depth at Triple-A for the Giants.
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson is scheduled to take batting practice and throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Thursday’s series finale. Johnson was a first-team NFL All-Pro selection last season.
Longtime ESPN basketball broadcaster Dick Vitale attended the game, waving to the crowd as he was introduced.
Dick Vitale (@DickieV) April 06, 2017
Giants outfielder Denard Span missed his second straight game with left hip tightness and is day to day. Gorkys Hernandez took Span’s place in center field again. … Bochy said Aaron Hill will make his first start of the season at second base Thursday.
Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija, who was 12-11 last year, makes his season debut in the finale of the four-game series.
Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray, who last season became the fourth pitcher in Arizona history to have 200 strikeouts, faces the Giants.
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