Following a successful road trip against two of the worst teams the National League has to offer, the San Francisco Giants return home to kick off a six-game residency versus a pair of NL West rivals.
The division-leading Giants will get the homestand going on Monday afternoon with the first of three meetings with the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park, and went 5-1 on a recent road trip against the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs. In Sunday's 7-5 victory at Wrigley Field, the Giants scored twice in the top of the ninth and held on for the win.
Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro had an RBI single apiece in the ninth, then Javier Lopez got the final two outs of the game for his sixth save. Pagan ended with two RBI and Xavier Nady added two hits and scored twice for the Giants, who have a 4 1/2-game lead on the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
The Dodgers will visit the bay area for three games later this week.
"Right now, I'd say we're playing the best baseball we've played all season," Pagan told the club's official website.
Giants starter Matt Cain had a shaky performance, allowing five runs and six hits in five innings. Santiago Casilla picked up the win with a scoreless inning of relief.
San Francisco is a season-best 18 games over .500 and hope to make it 19 when Barry Zito toes the rubber today. The Giants have won each of Zito's last five starts, with the left-hander going 2-0 in that span, but saw him go just 2 1/3 innings in a 6-4 win over the Astros on Wednesday. He gave up three runs and seven hits before the bullpen pieced together a solid rescue for the win.
Zito, the 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner, is 10-8 with a 4.42 earned run average in 26 starts this season and has won both of his starts against Arizona. His career marks against the D-backs are subpar, as he sports a 5-8 record in 18 games (17 starts) with a 5.15 ERA.
Arizona split a four-game series with Los Angeles to begin a 10-game road trip and lost the last two portions of the set at Dodger Stadium. Dodgers newcomer Adrian Gonzalez was the hero in that one with a two-run double in the bottom of the ninth, scoring Mark Ellis and Shane Victorino.
J.J. Putz was saddled with the loss and Arizona starter Wade Miley allowed three runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings.
"We tried to elevate the pitch to Adrian but it stayed out over the plate," Arizona catcher Miguel Montero said. "He's a good hitter and he put a good swing on it."
Montero and John McDonald both had two hits, a home run and two RBI for the D- backs, who have lost eight of 10 games and sit 6 1/2 games off the final wild card spot. The Diamondbacks will also visit San Diego on this trip.
Rookie pitcher Patrick Corbin tries to stay unbeaten in his career against the Giants when he faces them for the second time. In a 5-1 win back on May 11, Corbin held them to a run in seven innings with four Ks and no walks.
Corbin has lost two straight starts overall, last taking the hill in a 6-2 loss to Cincinnati on Wednesday. He fanned eight batters and allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings, but dropped to 5-6 with a 3.93 earned run average in 16 games (11 starts).
Arizona has won five of nine matchups with San Francisco this season.