For almost three weeks the SF Giants have been in a skid. From June 19 through Tuesday they were in a 3-12 skid that dropped them to double-digit games off the pace in the National League West division race, after going into the stretch just three games out. The offense was struggling to come up with clutch hits, the defensive performance had almost become mind-numbingly awful, and while the pitching was generally keeping the team in games they were still getting hit by sub-.500 opponents.
At some point things had to turn around.
After a rough start to Wednesday's game in Arizona, it happened. The Giants tied the game in the eighth inning before plating three in the ninth and holding on for a 7-5 win over the host Diamondbacks, ending a six-game losing streak.
Trailing, 4-2, entering the eighth, Austin Slater pinch-hit for Joey Bart and reached on a first-pitch bunt single. Darin Ruf was also sent up to pinch-hit, and the choice was a good one: he blasted his seventh home run of the season to tie the game.
In the ninth, Mike Yastrzemski was hit by a pitch. A few batters later the bases were loaded with one out, and Slater slashed a double to right field to score two and give San Francisco the lead. Austin Wynns then knocked in Tommy La Stella with a sacrifice fly to make it 7-4.
The bottom of the ninth was an adventure for closer Camilo Doval. The flame-throwing right-hander issued a walk before a strikeout and fly out, but another free pass allowed Ketel Marte to drive in a run with a single. Doval then issued his third walk of the inning to load the bases, putting the potential tying run on second and winning run on first base.
At that point Giants manager Gabe Kapler called on Sam Long. The lefty swingman needed just three pitches to dispatch Jordan Luplow with a strikeout to end the game.
Giants starting pitcher Alex Cobb had a rough first few innings before settling down. He allowed a run in the first inning and three more in the second, with one run coming on an infield chop that skipped off La Stella's glove; it could have been an error but was ruled a double and led to a two-run single. Cobb retired all but one batter he faced the rest of the way, going six innings with seven hits allowed and three strikeouts.
Held hitless the first four innings, San Francisco broke out to cut the Diamondbacks lead in half in the fifth. Brandon Crawford doubled with one out and La Stella walked, bringing up Bart.
Bart put the Giants on the board with a big swing
Recalled from Triple-A Sacramento earlier in the day, the slugging catcher hammered a drive to left field that appeared to clear the fence, but on a replay review it was clear that a fan reached over the wall into the field of play to snare it, and Bart was sent back to second base with a run-scoring double. Lamonte Wade Jr. then drove in La Stella with a fielder's choice.
With Los Angeles sneaking by Colorado, 2-1, the Giants remain 10.5 games back of first place in the NL West but gained a game on the final Wild Card spot, now just one behind St. Louis.
After salvaging the final game in the desert, the Orange and Black head to San Diego for a four-game set with the second-place Padres beginning Thursday.