Published January 13, 2015
Even though they're 2 1/2 games off the NL West lead, the San Francisco Giants have played well within the division.
The defending World Series champion Giants target a series win over the NL West-leading Arizona Diamondbacks Sunday at Chase Field in the continuation of their nine-game road trip.
San Francisco lost Friday's opener, 3-1, and roared back to even the series with a 10-5 triumph the next night. Buster Posey and Hunter Pence both homered Saturday and Brandon Crawford finished 4-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored for the Giants, winners in three of the last five games. Posey's two-run homer highlighted a six-run fourth inning and the Giants later took a 9-0 lead.
The Giants improved to 19-11 against division foes this season and 24-7 when scoring at least four runs.
Madison Bumgarner went over the .500 mark (5-4) and lasted five innings in the start, allowing three runs and five hits.
After Sunday's game in the desert, the Giants will head east to start a three- game set at Pittsburgh on Tuesday, followed by a three-game series in Atlanta.
Chad Gaudin's first start of the season went well for the Giants, who hope the second time around is just as satisfying. Gaudin draws the start Sunday and tossed six innings of two-run ball in last Sunday's 4-2 win at St. Louis, where he struck out five, scattered four hits and did not issue a walk.
"It's fun to watch him, the way he commanded the ball and kept it down," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said afterward.
The right-hander made his first 18 appearances out of the bullpen and lost to the D'backs in a 3-2 setback April 24 at AT&T Park. He gave up the go-ahead run in that one and is 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA in 11 career meetings (3 starts) against Arizona.
Arizona looks to get back on track and had won five of seven games entering Saturday's contest. Diamondbacks starter Trevor Cahill fell to 3-7 and was hammered for eight ruins and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings to absorb the loss.
"It's the ups and downs of a season. We'll try to get him straightened around for his next start," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "He didn't have a lot of movement on his sinker. He didn't have good stuff."
Paul Goldschmidt had an RBI and has driven in a run in eight straight games for the D'backs, who are 2 1/2 games ahead of both San Francisco and Colorado in the NL West and still a decent 14-9 in the past 23 games. Goldschmidt, who leads the NL with 58 RBI, matched Luis Gonzalez's streak of eight games in a row with an RBI. Gonzalez did it from June 3-11, 2002.
The D'backs are in the midst of playing nine in a row against NL West opponents and will begin a six-game road trip Monday against Los Angeles and San Diego.
With Arizona starter Brandon McCarthy (shoulder) injured, Tyler Skaggs will make his third appearance of the season Sunday.
"In my mind, he'll be in the rotation," D'backs manager Kirk Gibson said of Skaggs. "We really have no other options. We're not going to send him down and go get somebody else."
Skaggs defeated Texas in his season debut on May 27, when he struck out nine through six scoreless innings of a 5-3 win. Skaggs was then bailed out by the offense in Tuesday's 7-6 win at St. Louis and did not record a decision after he allowed five runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
The left-hander lost his only start against San Francisco last Sept. 14 in a 6-2 defeat and was touched for five runs in four frames.
The Giants swept a three-game set in their last trip to Arizona on April 29- May 1 and have won eight of their last 10 on the road in this set.