The Arizona Diamondbacks are nearing elimination from the playoff race and will try to keep their faint hopes alive this afternoon in the finale of a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants.
Arizona is 5 1/2 games off the final wild card berth in the National League with seven to play, and moved closer to extinction with Wednesday's 6-0 loss in the middle portion of this series. Giants starter Matt Cain threw seven scoreless innings to keep the D-backs at bay, while Wade Miley was saddled with the loss for giving up four runs -- three earned -- in four innings.
"Cain shut us down," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "He could throw any pitch at any time to any place he wants. We didn't swing the bats well at all."
Miguel Montero and Gerardo Parra had two hits apiece for Arizona, which lost for the third time in its last 10 tries. Parra was back on the field after missing a few games with a right hand injury.
The Diamondbacks are 4-2 on a seven-game road trip and will close out the regular season with six games against the Cubs and Rockies in the desert.
Patrick Corbin draws the start for Arizona tonight and the rookie left-hander looks to bounce back from his previous start, an 8-7 win at Colorado in which he lasted just three innings and gave up five runs and nine hits.
Corbin, who threw eight innings of two-run ball in his previous start versus San Francisco on Sept. 16, is 6-7 with a 4.36 earned run average in 20 games (15 starts) this season. He is 2-0 with a 3.15 ERA in three starts against the Giants.
San Francisco is gearing up for the playoffs after winning its second NL West title in three years over the weekend, and still has a shot at the best record in the National League.
The Giants ended a two-game slide and won for the seventh time in nine contests behind Cain's strong outing last night. Cain struck out six batters and walked only one, while Guillermo Mota, Jeremy Affeldt and Dan Otero combined to throw two scoreless innings of relief.
Pablo Sandoval went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI and Buster Posey drove in a run for the Giants. Posey became the third catcher in franchise history to tally 100 RBI in a season.
"That's quite a milestone, especially for a catcher. Those guys have to take a lot of time off and they get banged up pretty good back there," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of the accomplishment.
The club is expected to announce Thursday whether suspended outfielder Melky Cabrera will join the team during the playoffs. Cabrera is serving a 50-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy, and could return if the Giants play more than five games in the postseason.
"Hopefully we'll get this cleared up and figure out exactly what we're going to do, so I think tomorrow we'll have something," Bochy said on the team's site before last night's game.
San Francisco is 7-2 on a 10-game homestand and will gear up for the playoffs with six road games against San Diego and Los Angeles.
Barry Zito will close out the season series with Arizona when he toes the rubber today. The Giants have won each of Zito's last nine starts and the veteran left-hander is 5-0 in that stretch. The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner pitched in last Thursday's 9-2 win over Colorado and gave up two runs in 5 2/3 innings even though he was reached for 10 hits.
Zito improved to 13-8 in 30 starts to go along with a 4.18 earned run average and defeated the D-backs on Sept. 15 at Chase Field with 6 2/3 innings of one- run ball in a 3-2 victory. He is 6-8 with a 5.01 ERA in 20 games (19 starts) lifetime against Arizona.
Arizona is 9-8 against the Giants this season.