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PHOENIX — As the second half of the season commences Terrell Edmunds Color Rush Jersey , both Arizona and San Francisco have reasons to feel confident as they prepare for the third game of a three-game weekend series Sunday.
Both are nearing full health, and the NL West remains wide open as the Diamondbacks, Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers are within 3 1/2 games of each other entering July.
Arizona survived a 2-15 stretch in May and is playing as well as it did in the early going, when it did not lose any of its first 12 series. The Giants have won nine of 11 after going 18-10 in June, their first winning month since June, 2016.
“I know that we got off to a great start and hit a little downturn and fought back,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said when asked about his takeaways from the first half.
“The obvious thing is, we are playing very good baseball now. We’ve grown and learned and become stronger and tougher because of the situation we walked through in May. They have never pointed their finger at anything or any anyone in an particular situation or moment.
“When it didn’t go well, they were accountable. They played united baseball. We’re right in the middle of a story that we continue to want to tell the way we are telling it.”
Arizona right-hander Zack Godley will oppose Giants left-hander Derek Holland in the final game of the series at Chase Field on Sunday afternoon. The Giants begin a three-game series in Colorado on Monday while the Diamondbacks will host a three-game series against St. Louis.
“Considering everything that is happened, we are right in the thick of things, which is where you want to be,” San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said.
“If you would have told me what we have to deal with – three starters out, (Joe) Panik out, (Evan) Longoria out. Sure, no question you take it. I think it is going to be tight in September. Hopefully we’re right there. That’s our plan.”
Right-handers Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija could made their next starts in the majors after prolonged absences due to injury Mike McGlinchey Color Rush Jersey , and Cueto would be particularly welcome. He was 3-0 with an 0.84 ERA in five starts while holding opponents to a .150 batting average before going on the disabled list because of shoulder soreness in the first week of May.
In the interim, Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez have pitched well. The Giants also have received only five starts from Madison Bumgarner, who opened the season on the disabled list before returning in early June.
Arizona outfielders A.J. Pollock and Steven Souza Jr. also are nearing a return from the disabled list after missing considerable time. The Diamondbacks also lost starters Taijuan Walker and Robbie Ray for 58 days before returning.
Pollock and Souza Jr. are on rehab assignments for Triple-A Reno, and Pollock is likely to return before the All-Star break. Pollock was slashing .293/.349/.620 with 10 doubles, 11 homers and nine stolen bases in 43 games before suffering a fractured thumb trying to make a diving catch in center field in the ninth inning of a 7-2 loss to Milwaukee on May 14.
“You think about what the (injury) losses are,” Lovullo said “It’s been a very interesting season. I think the most resilient teams are the ones that understand and accept what’s happening day by day, whether it is good or bad, and move on to the next day as quickly as possible.
“We are a resilient group. We can turn the page quickly, no matter what the results are.”
Godley, 9-5 with a 4.58 ERA, is one victory short of NL leaders Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and Aaron Nola, in part because he has received 4.63 runs of support in his 16 starts. His 1.52 WHIP is 44th and last among qualified NL starters, and he has made seven quality starts.
Godley is 1-1 with a 6.10 ERA in two starts against the Giants this season and is 2-2 with a 6.97 ERA in six career appearances, four starts Dante Pettis Color Rush Jersey , against them. Godley has pitched his best at home this season, going 4-1 with a 2.89 ERA in six starts.
Holland (5-7, 4.24) is coming off arguably his best outing of the season, although he did not receive a decision in a 3-2 victory over Colorado. Holland gave up one run on six hits in a season-high 6 2/3 innings while striking out a season high eight. It was his longest appearance since he went eight innings against Seattle on May 21, 2017.
He is 0-1 in two starts against the Diamondbacks, both with Texas. Holland is 3-5 with a 3.94 ERA in nine road starts this season. He has never pitched in Chase Field.
Former Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver said the key to winning is ”pitching, fundamentals and three-run homers.”
Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona can go one better: grand slams.
Yan Gomes hit a grand slam in the sixth inning and the Indians rallied to beat the Kansas City Royals 6-4 on Tuesday night.
The Indians lead the American League with eight grand slams and it was their second in two nights. Francisco Lindor hit one Monday.
”I’m glad,” Francona said. ”I hope we have a ton more opportunities. I’m really happy about that. That’s really good for us.”
Edwin Encarnacion led off the sixth with a walk and Brandon Guyer was hit by Danny Duffy’s pitch. Yonder Alonso’s infield single loaded the bases before Gomes drove Duffy’s 1-0 changeup into the left-field bullpen.
”I hope it’s not contagious, because that means people are going up there looking to hit a grand slam,” Gomes said. ”You really just want to get up there and try to keep the line moving. I hope if we get more bases-loaded (situations), we’re just able to drive more guys in, whether that’s a sac fly or a base hit or a grand slam.”
Gomes is 10 for 26 (.385) with three home runs and eight RBIs off Duffy.
Shane Bieber (4-0) allowed all the Kansas City runs in the first two innings, and remains undefeated in his first five big league starts.
”Things got a little ugly,” Bieber said. ”They could have gotten a lot worse. I was trying to go out there and compete and move on to the next pitch.”
Chad Allen got the final four outs for his 17th save in 18 chances and his fifth of more than one inning. He stranded two runners in the ninth after a single and a walk.
Duffy (4-8) yielded six runs on eight hits, two walks and a hit batter. He is 0-3 against the Indians this season and has lost eight in a row against them dating to May 6 Vita Vea Color Rush Jersey , 2015.
”It was belt high and right out over the plate for him to tattoo and that’s what he did,” Duffy said of the grand slam. ”I hate that old song and dance these things happen, bull, but these things do happen. And it’s happened to us a lot lately. It’s really frustrating. I gave up six runs today, which means I didn’t pitch very well.”
It took Duffy 25 pitches to record an out with Lindor, Michael Brantley and Jose Ramirez opening the game with singles. Ramirez’s single deflected off Duffy’s glove to score Lindor. Alfonso’s fly to center scored Brantley with the second run.
”The first inning was a grind for Danny, 36 pitches, but he really did a pretty good job of limiting the damage there with only two runs and kind of got on a roll,” Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Lucas Duda homered with Rosell Herrera, who had three hits, on board to tie it in the bottom of the first.
The Royals forged ahead 4-2 in the second. Whit Merrifield singled home Adalberto Mondesi and scored on Herrera’s two-out double.
The Royals lost for the 24th time in 29 games. They did manage 12 hits, ending a club record of 24 straight games without getting double-figure hits.
Indians: Recalled OF Greg Allen from Triple-A Columbus, where he was hitting .487 in a nine-game hitting streak at the time of the promotion. He hit .204 in 34 games earlier this season with Cleveland. ”It definitely helps to have gone through it before,” Allen said. ”That just comes with experience.”
Indians: They signed their first two draft picks, Canadian high school C Noah Naylor and Cumming Ronald Jones II Color Rush Jersey , Georgia high school RHP Ethan Hankins. Naylor, the 29th overall pick, signed for $2,578,138, while Hankins, the 35th overall pick, signed for $2,246,022.
Royals: RHP Brady Singer, the 18th overall pick, signed for $4.25 million. He was the college player of the year, going 12-3 with a 2.55 ERA as a Florida junior.
Indians: OF Lonnie Chisenhall (strained left calf) was placed on the disabled list. This is the second straight year he has been set back by calf injuries. He missed 50 games earlier this season with a left calf injury. He was out most of the second half of last year with a right calf injury.
Guyer left in the ninth after fouling a pitch off his left knee. Francona said the X-rays were negative.
Royals: RHP Ian Kennedy (strained left oblique) was placed on the disabled list retroactive to June 30th. . 3B Mike Moustakas (lower back spasms) was a late scratch. Yost said his back tightened up after he lifted one of his children.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer is 0-1 with a 3.55 ERA in two starts this season against the Royals.