The Arizona Diamondbacks enjoyed a productive first half of the season and headed to the All-Star break leaders of the NL West.
The Diamondbacks can pad their lead even more over the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants when the division foes collide Friday in the opener of a three-game series at AT&T Park.
Arizona is 2 1/2 games ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers and 6 1/2 games in front of the Giants. The club entered the break on a losing note and had a three-game win streak stopped with Sunday's 5-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in the finale of a four-game set. Ian Kennedy, who gets the call Friday, was dealt the loss for giving up all five runs and nine hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Miguel Montero hit a solo homer for the Diamondbacks, who are first in the NL West by the All-Star Game for the first time since 2008.
"It's good, we're in first place," D'backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We've had a lot of trials and tribulations but the team has hung in there well. We've stuck together well."
Gibson's club was represented by first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and pitcher Patrick Corbin in the All-Star Game, a 3-0 win for the American League. Goldschmidt doubled and Corbin was dealt the loss for permitting the first run of the game in the fourth inning. Both players were gracious for the opportunity, especially Goldschmidt.
"It was awesome. Hopefully as many people as possible get to do it. Hopefully I'll get to do it again. Obviously it's an honor to be out here with some of these guys, mentioned in the same breath as them. That in itself was cool, but just the whole experience of being here, everything they did was top notch.
"I got to talk to guys I normally wouldn't talk to. That was probably my favorite part of the experience, to talk to guys and get their take on things."
Meanwhile, Kennedy is 0-3 with a 6.58 earned run average in his last seven starts with the D'backs going 1-6 in that time. Kennedy has allowed 16 runs in his last four appearances and owns just a 3-6 mark in 18 starts to go along with a 5.42 ERA. The right-hander and former All-Star has pitched well in his career against the Giants, going 6-2 with a 2.52 ERA in 15 starts.
The Giants were aiming for a four-game sweep of the San Diego Padres until they were handed a 10-1 loss on Sunday at Petco Park. One day after Tim Lincecum tossed a no-hitter, rotation mate Barry Zito was hammered for four runs in only two innings of work.
"My concentration wasn't where it should be," Zito said. "I threw too many pitches down the middle of the plate that hung."
Marco Scutaro had two of San Francisco's seven hits and drove in the only run in the loss, the Giants' 15th in the past 20 contests.
Giants catcher Buster Posey, second baseman Scutaro, starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner and reliever Sergio Romo represented the club in the All-Star Game. Posey struck out in his only at-bat, while the other three never saw action.
"At the end of it all, what a privilege it is just to be here," Romo said. "This could be the only time I ever make an All-Star team, so I enjoyed it."
San Francisco is winless in its last four home games and hopes Chad Gaudin can change that when he starts Friday night. Gaudin is 3-1 with a 2.39 ERA in 24 games (6 starts) and earned the win in a 10-1 decision at San Diego last Friday, when he allowed one run and scattered three hits in five innings.
Gaudin defeated the D'backs on June 9 in the desert and is 2-2 with a 5.13 ERA in 12 games (4 starts) lifetime against them.
The Giants are 6-3 against Arizona this season, but dropped two of three to the Diamondbacks at home from April 22-24.