Eighth inning proves costly as D-backs lose to Giants

San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner was masterful Thursday night in an 8-1 win over the D-backs. (Photo by SD Dirk, CC BY 2.0, https://bit.ly/2Kqk7Cy)

San Francisco's Madison Bumgarner was masterful Thursday night in an 8-1 win over the D-backs. (Photo by SD Dirk, CC BY 2.0, https://bit.ly/2Kqk7Cy)

PHOENIX – The Arizona Diamondbacks didn’t make it easy on Madison Bumgarner.

The San Francisco Giants’ ace found himself in bases-loaded situations in the first and second innings Thursday night, but that ultimately didn’t matter as the D-backs lost 8-1 in front of 22,980 fans at Chase Field.

“I thought we had plenty of opportunities early and we created a ton of traffic on the mound,” said D-backs manger Torey Lovullo. “But Bumgarner made some pitches at the right time and the situation to limit the damage. We hit the ball hard. I thought we were patient, we just couldn’t get that big hit or have that big moment at the right time.”

Arizona could have easily capitalized at any point, but never did as it finished with 12 runners left on base. The Giants didn’t fare much better with seven runners left on base, but a five-run eighth inning led to their fourth straight win.

“(Bumgarner) gave his offense a chance to catch up, catch their breath and they started to have a really nice approach,” Lovullo said. “They had key at-bats toward the end of the game and ended up winning the game.”

Bumgarner wasn’t his usual self though after going just five innings, but his other numbers were impressive – allowing one earned run on seven hits with five strikeouts and three walks to pick up his fourth win of the season and improve his earned run average to 2.97.

“He worked hard,” San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy said of Bumgarner. “What a great job he did of holding them at bay – one run. He had men on base it seemed like every inning. I think he did every inning. He found a way to get out of it and that’s what makes him good. He’s such a competitor.”

Arizona’s starting pitcher Zack Greinke gave Bumgarner a run for his money, but it wasn’t enough as he dropped his sixth loss of the year despite yielding just two earned runs on four hits with five strikeouts and one walk in six innings of work.

“I thought Zack Greinke was outstanding – six wonderful innings,” Lovullo said. “Last inning he just drove up his pitch count and I had a nice discussion with him about going out. He said he felt good enough to go out, but I just decided at that point with his at-bat coming up and the fact that if he went back out, we’d probably be at about 110-115 pitches just wasn’t worth it at this point in time.”

While Greinke and Bumgarner were the aces of the night, Giants reliever Ray Black accomplished an unusual feat – Black pitched the equivalent of a nine-inning no-hitter dating back to July 10 when he struck out Arizona’s A.J. Pollock in the seventh inning.

“I like his poise out there,” Bochy said of Black. “Here’s a young kid who’s called up to the big leagues. He has a rough outing in the first one, but he’s bounced back and he’s been solid.”

Black’s dominance carried over into the eighth inning as San Francisco blew open the game with five runs and never looked back in a convincing win during the first of a four-game series.

The D-backs send Patrick Corbin to the mound Friday night against Chris Stratton of the Giants.