PHOENIX (AP) – Nick Hundley didn’t figure to play a lot this season as the San Francisco Giants’ backup catcher. With star Buster Posey seeing more action at first base, Hundley is closing in on 100 games played.
The veteran backstop took advantage Monday, hitting a three-run homer and helping guide starter Johnny Cueto through an unfamiliar lineup in the Giants’ 9-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Arizona sat most of its regulars a day after clinching the top NL wild card.
“It’s not surprising. Coming in today I was really interested to see what their lineup would be,” Hundley said. “He (Cueto) was battling his mechanics a little bit early, but man, as the game went on he got stronger and crisper. He threw some really dynamite changeups. His slider got better. As a true pro he made some really good in-game adjustments.”
Cueto (8-8) held the Diamondbacks to two runs and five hits over six innings. He struck out eight and walked two.
“We worked together but for the most part I let him dictate the rhythm,” Cueto said of Hundley. “He knows a lot of the batters so I let him kind of call the pitches that he wanted me to throw.”
Hunter Pence hit a solo shot in the Giants’ five-run fourth inning off starter Zack Godley (8-9). San Francisco has won five of its last seven games.
The second of Jarrett Parker’s two doubles thumped off the left-field wall and drove in Posey in the fourth, and Hundley crushed Godley’s offering off the facade of the second deck for his ninth home run. The Giants led the rest of the way.
“Made a pitch up and away to a guy who is a really good bad-ball hitter,” Godley said.
Hundley drove in his fourth run of the game in the eighth with a single. The Giants scored three runs – two unearned – off reliever Jake Barrett in the inning, though Jeremy Hazelbaker took away a hit from Joe Panik with a diving catch along the right-field line.
Godley was charged with five earned runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out five with three walks.
Arizona was charged with four errors for the game.
“It was a very good celebration last night. I’m not totally surprised by the day today, to be totally honest with you,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “Yesterday was such an emotional high I felt like this could have been a letdown. It was just a day where everybody was a little bit fatigued, emotionally, physically from yesterday.”
The Diamondbacks fielded a lineup of reserves and recent call-ups, save for Drury and Godley. Lovullo said before the game that he would return to the regulars on Tuesday as the team looks ahead to hosting the NL wild-card game.
The entire team enthusiastically celebrated getting into the postseason late Sunday afternoon.
“Tomorrow we are going to crank it right back up, and it’s business as usual,” Lovullo said.
Lovullo said ace Zack Greinke, Wednesday’s scheduled starting pitcher, will not get the call that day as the Diamondbacks line him up to pitch the wild-card game on Oct. 4.
As for the bullpen, Lovullo plans for regular usage leading up to the wild-card game, with pitchers competing for a spot on the postseason roster.
The wild-card game sold out in an hour after tickets went on sale Monday morning.
“That was a very nice sign that we’re doing things right,” Lovullo said.
Giants: Manager Bruce Bochy said RHP Matt Cain, who threw a bullpen session before Monday’s game, could pitch once more this season, as could Cueto, who is lined up for Sunday. … OF Austin Slater (groin) will see a specialist about his injury. … Reliever Josh Osich left the game after facing one batter, Jeremy Hazelbaker, who lined a single off Osich’s side. Bochy said Osich was fine.
Diamondbacks: C Jeff Mathis (broken right hand) is working toward a possible comeback before the regular season ends. Mathis and Greinke have a notable rapport.
Giants: LHP Matt Moore (6-14) is 1-1 against Tuesday’s opponent, the Diamondbacks, this season.
Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray (14-5) looks to go to 6-0 in his last seven starts, which would include Tuesday’s.
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