The San Francisco Giants seemed intent on making things interesting in the playoff race, but a setback in the series opener has put their playoff chances on life support.
Things could get even more difficult for the defending World Series champs on Saturday.
As the Giants try to bounce back with their ninth win in 13 games, left-hander Patrick Corbin hopes to resume his impressive comeback for the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks.
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San Francisco (77-70) failed to make the playoffs following world championships in 2010 and 2012, and is very likely to continue that trend after a seven-game skid from Aug. 29-Sept. 4 derailed its bid.
The Giants had won five of the first six on this nine-game homestand before Friday's 2-0 defeat. They're now 8 1/2 games behind the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers and nine back of a wild-card spot with just 15 remaining.
''We can't afford any (more) losses,'' said losing pitcher Madison Bumgarner. ''All you can do is try to come back tomorrow and keep working until it's over."
Singles by Matt Duffy and Buster Posey were San Francisco's only hits against Rubby De La Rosa and four relievers. Posey is batting .435 over his last 18 games and .360 in 25 at-bats versus Corbin.
As was expected, Corbin (5-4, 3.29 ERA) had been inconsistent early on after missing all of last season following Tommy John surgery. The 26-year-old, though, has displayed the form that made him an All-Star in 2013 by posting a 1.85 ERA over his past four starts.
Corbin suffered his only defeat in that span Sunday when he allowed two runs over six innings in a 4-3 loss to the Dodgers. He's been on a strict pitch count since returning in July.
"It's just frustrating coming out," Corbin told MLB's official website. "I told (manager Chip Hale) that's the best I've felt, but I understand everything right now and where we are in the season."
After going 0-4 with a 4.79 ERA over his previous six starts versus San Francisco, Corbin worked six scoreless innings in a 6-1 home win Sept. 7. He'll face the Giants for a third time this season, though he hasn't pitched at AT&T Park since September 2013.
Mike Leake will try to end San Francisco's five-game home losing streak versus Arizona (70-77). He opposed Corbin earlier this month at Chase Field and allowed six runs and 11 hits over 5 2-3 innings.
Leake, 1-2 with a 5.40 ERA in his last four starts, pitched better in his last outing Sunday when he yielded three runs over six innings in a 10-3 home win over San Diego. The right-hander also contributed with his second home run of the season.
Leake (10-8, 3.72) has a 5.36 ERA in his eight career starts against the Diamondbacks. A.J. Pollock is 5 for 8 with a home run off him, but Welington Castillo and Paul Goldschmidt have gone a combined 5 for 36 with no homers in the matchup.
Pollock and Goldschmidt teamed for four of Arizona's five hits in the opener. Goldschmidt is batting .414 while hitting safely in all eight games at San Francisco this season.
San Francisco's Brandon Belt might not be available after leaving Friday's game because he had trouble concentrating. On Tuesday, he was kneed in the head while sliding into second base.