PHOENIX (AP) — Buster Posey didn’t have the best night at the plate, yet the Giants’ All-Star catcher impressed manager Gabe Kapler with his tenaciousness — and his baserunning.
Posey doubled in the go-ahead run in the 10th inning for San Francisco, then hustled to third on a fly ball to set up a bigger inning as the Giants beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-8 on Monday night.
Before the 10th inning at-bat, Posey, who entered the game batting .329, had managed a bases-loaded walk, but had been hitless. He lined Miguel Aguilar’s pitch to deep left field to score Brandon Crawford, who began the 10th at second base. Posey, not known for his speed, tagged up and made it to third on Alex Dickerson’s fly to center.
“I don’t know that Buster was seeing the ball well today, but he was just super tough,” Kapler said. “The baserunning play, he understood how important it was to be on third base.”
Rather than play the infield in, Arizona elected to intentionally walk Austin Slater. Steven Duggar followed with a single that scored Posey and sent Slater to third. Donovan Solano’s squeeze bunt brought in Slater, capping a three-run inning against Aguilar (0-1).
Jarlin Garcia (3-2) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory on a night when Kapler wanted to rest top relievers Jake McGee, Dominic Leone and Tyler Rogers. Tony Watson, in his first game back with the Giants, pitched 1 1/3 innings before Garcia came in.
“I thought (Garcia) was incredible. Super impressive and we’re thankful for him,” Kapler said.
San Francisco built its lead on the strength of Alex Dickerson’s grand slam in a five-run fifth. Dickerson broke an 0-for-17 slump with his homer off reliever J.B. Bukauskas.
“It hasn’t been the greatest year for me, but I know what I’m capable of,” said Dickerson, whose slam was the third of his career. His most recent one came in 2019, also at Chase Field. “I’d been waiting to do that all year.”
But the Diamondbacks, who have the worst record in the big leagues at 33-74, chased San Francisco starter Anthony DeSclafani in their half of the fifth on two-run homers from pinch hitter Josh Reddick and Asdrubal Cabrera.
The Diamondbacks tied it with three runs against reliever Jay Jackson in the seventh, including Christian Walker’s two-run double.
Mike Yastrzemski and Wilmer Flores also homered for San Francisco (67-39), which has the majors’ best record and leads all teams with 161 homers.
Diamondbacks starter Taylor Widener was charged with five runs in 4 1/3 innings. Dickerson connected against reliever J.B. Bukauskas, who walked Posey to force in a run before Dickerson’s blast.
Kris Bryant, playing in his second game since being acquired from the Chicago Cubs on Friday, was 1 for 4 with an infield hit and a walk.
Before Monday night’s game, Torey Lovullo was talking about the opportunity his team has to gain valuable experience.
Arizona has 55 games remaining, and 25 of them are against the NL West’s “Big 3” — the Giants, Dodgers and San Diego Padres. Against those teams, the Diamondbacks are 6-28.
Lovullo looks at it as an opportunity, particularly for his younger players.
“We know how challenging this season has been,” Lovullo said. “There’s no better arena for evaluation. We have a chance to disrupt (the division race) and to see what our guys can do.”
After the game, his thoughts were confirmed despite the 10-inning loss.
“We’re playing with a lot of heart and we’re focused,” he said. “We’re down 7-1 and our guys kept fighting. Every day they come back with the mindset and attitude that today’s going to be the day we start moving in a good direction.”
HE GETS AROUND
Arizona claimed RHP Sean Poppen off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday. The Diamondbacks are his third team of 2021, and he pitched two innings Monday night, giving up Flores’ solo home run in the sixth. Earlier this year, the Harvard product pitched in three games for Pittsburgh and one for Tampa Bay before the Rays designated him for assignment .
To make room on the roster the Diamondbacks sent RHP Stefan Crichton to Triple-A Reno.
Diamondbacks: 2B Josh Rojas (dislocated finger) is improving, Lovullo said. He took batting practice before Monday’s game and is expected to get live at-bats later in the week. “The ball was jumping off his bat,” Lovullo said. “Everything is looking more normal.”
Arizona’s Madison Bumgarner (5-6, 4.87) faces former rotation mate Johnny Cueto (7-5, 3.84) on Tuesday night.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports