With news of critical injuries to Johnny Cueto (Tommy John surgery) and Pablo Sandoval (torn hamstring), it would have been easy for the San Francisco Giants to mail it in on Thursday night.
Instead, they put up a solid all-around performance for a fourth consecutive win and fifth straight at Chase Field, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 8-1. Evan Longoria hit a first-inning homer, Madison Bumgarner drove in a run and worked his way in and out of trouble over five innings and a five-run eighth put the game away.
Though he’s clearly been his best at AT&T Park, Bumgarner earned a road win on Thursday by limiting damage. Arizona (60-50) loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first, but Steven Souza, Jr. lined out to Longoria and Nick Ahmed grounded into a force out to end the threat.
The Diamondbacks loaded the bases again with one out in the second, but got just one run on an Eduardo Escobar sac fly. An Ahmed double and Ketel Marte infield hit put men on the corners with two out in the third, but Bumgarner struck out Jeff Mathis to end the threat.
Bumgarner’s final display of resiliency came in the fifth, with A.J. Pollock reaching second to open the inning on an infield hit and Longoria error. Pollock wouldn’t even reach third, with Bumgarner setting down the next three in order.
San Francisco (56-54) got on top in the top of the fifth on Bumgarner’s second hit of the year, a single to score Austin Slater. Hunter Pence’s sac fly made it 3-1 in the seventh after new Arizona acquisition Jake Diekman failed to find the strike zone.
The real damage came in the eighth. Reliever Mark Melancon took care of the sixth and Ray Black pitched a perfect seventh, but the Diamondbacks were well within striking distance until another new acquisition, Brad Ziegler, was bombarded.
An Alen Hanson pinch-hit single made it 4-1, and Slater sent the death blow. His grounder up the middle split the infielders and scored two runs, and Hanson came home to score all the way from first as Pollock booted the ball in center.
Those insurance runs meant rest for Tony Watson, Will Smith and Reyes Moronta. Ty Blach pitched the final two innings to close things out.