Bloomquist comes through with tiebreaking triple
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Kirk Gibson's club trailed by one run when slugger Justin Upton got tossed for arguing.
Gibson sensed some frustration in the dugout. So, the no-nonsense Arizona manager provided a quick, mid-game message: "Keep our composure and we're going to win the game."
These Diamondbacks might win a lot more than that. With each grind-it-out victory, they move closer to the NL West crown nobody on the outside envisioned for this bunch back in spring training.
Willie Bloomquist hit a go-ahead two-run triple after Ryan Roberts' solo homer tied it in the eighth, and the division-leading D-backs extended their cushion to a season-best seven games with a 4-1 win over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday.
"It's a good feeling, I'm not going to lie to you. These guys feel good about themselves, and they should," Gibson said. "There's no comfort, I don't care how many games we're up, until we've secured our spot in the playoffs. It's not a scary thing. We know that we have to continue to not take things for granted."
The Diamondbacks finally delivered for Daniel Hudson (15-9) when they got to All-Star Ryan Vogelsong in the eighth. Until then, Cody Ross' first-inning home run had held up. Hudson won his third straight start, helping Arizona (80-60) leave the Bay Area for Colorado in a comfortable spot with 22 games to go.
The defending World Series champion Giants considered this a must-win series to keep their faint playoff hopes alive but lost the final two.
"We're still breathing. We're hanging by a thread," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We know we're running out of time, there's no question about that. I thought it was critical we take the series."
Hudson allowed one run on three hits, struck out five and walked one in seven innings. David Hernandez went 1-2-3 in the eighth and J.J. Putz pitched a perfect ninth for his 36th save.
San Francisco failed to win a seventh straight home series at sold-out AT&T Park since taking two of three from Milwaukee on July 22-24.
Roberts drove a 2-0 pitch from Vogelsong (10-6) into the left-field bleachers to start the eighth-inning rally. After Gerardo Parra followed with an infield single, Vogelsong's day was done. Jeremy Affeldt was called upon to face pinch-hitter Geoff Blum, while Vogelsong walked off to a standing ovation and tipped his cap.
After Affeldt walked Blum on six pitches, Bochy replaced him with Ramon Ramirez. Bochy vowed to pull out all the stops and treat this one like an elimination game.
Aaron Hill added an RBI single in the eighth to give Arizona an insurance run. Gibson went with the same eight players in the same order after Saturday's victory ahead of Hudson in the ninth hole.
Gibson's gritty group has seized control of its fate with a fabulous stretch.
"What we never wanted to do is get in a situation where we're looking at the scoreboard and wanting somebody else to do our dirty work," Gibson said.
Now, that's right where the Giants sit.
"We've left ourselves no room for error," utilityman Mark DeRosa said. "We don't have a choice. We can't sit and worry. We need to win every game and scoreboard watch. We will keep fighting."
The pressure is on San Francisco to make another spectacular September run, a last-ditch push with time quickly running out — and hope for some help from other teams against the red-hot Diamondbacks.
Arizona lost Friday night's series opener 6-2 to end a nine-game winning streak, then bounced back with a commanding 7-2 win against Tim Lincecum on Saturday night behind another impressive outing from 18-game winner Ian Kennedy.
The D-backs played much of Sunday's finale without Upton, who was ejected in the fourth inning for arguing a called third strike.
Upton jumped into the air after being called out on strikes against Vogelsong for the first out of the fourth with Hill aboard on a leadoff single. Upton jawed with plate umpire Brian Knight and was tossed. An infuriated Upton had to be held back by Gibson and then first base coach Eric Young.
"It was a big situation," said Upton, thrown out for the first time in his career. "They're up one run and we've got a guy on with no outs. That's a situation where I want to be able to hit. I don't want the bat taken out of my hands. We ended up winning the game so I don't really care right now. I'll deal with whatever I have to deal with."
Vogelsong, a journeyman who toiled in the minors and Japan, lost his fourth straight start despite a solid day.
Gibson hoped his pep talk would get Arizona's hitters going.
"We showed a lot of resiliency and kept our composure when J-Up got thrown out to keep everything in perspective," Gibson said. "We got down and they played and they grinded."
The Giants again missed chances with runners in scoring position — their downfall the entire season — and haven't won in their last six series since taking two of three at Florida from Aug. 12-14.
Hill singled to left leading off the fourth for Arizona's first hit against Vogelsong, who then retired the next seven D-backs hitters in order before Bloomquist's two-out single in the sixth.
Bloomquist then came through with his second triple of the year as Arizona showed yet again it doesn't plan to give in one bit down the stretch. Miguel Montero singled in the seventh to extend his career-high hitting streak to 13 games.
After being swept with three one-run defeats from May 10-12 at AT&T Park, the Diamondbacks took two of three here Aug. 1-3 — beating Matt Cain and Lincecum in the first two before dropping the series finale to Vogelsong 8-1 — and again this weekend.
Rookie Brandon Belt struck out swinging on a 16-pitch at-bat to start the second against Hudson. He fouled off 12 pitches, nine in a row. The plate appearance matched the longest of the season for San Francisco.
NOTES: The Giants missed reliever Sergio Romo, who flew to Phoenix to be with his wife, Chelsea, for the birth of the couple's second son, Rex Ryder, at 5:47 a.m. Sunday. ... Injured Giants closer Brian Wilson, last season's majors saves leader who is sidelined with elbow inflammation, threw a light session of catch on flat ground under the close watch of Bochy and athletic trainer Dave Groeschner. If Wilson feels fine Monday he will throw a light bullpen in San Diego. ... LHP Madison Bumgarner (9-12) pitches Monday against the Padres at Petco Park, still looking for his first career win vs. San Diego after going 0-2 over his initial six starts. ... Rookie lefty Wade Miley, called up from Triple-A Reno on Aug. 16, makes his fourth start of the season for the D-backs in their series opener with the Rockies at Coors Field.