The Arizona Diamondbacks are rolling, thanks in part to the resurgence of one of the best pitchers in franchise history. The San Francisco Giants, meanwhile, are slumping while their superstar struggles at the plate.
Arizona (34-24) has won nine of its last 10 games to claim one of the best records in the NL. Johnson (3-2, 3.89 ERA) won his only start during that stretch, allowing one hit in six shutout innings of the Diamondbacks’ 4-3 win over Philadelphia on Wednesday.
That was Johnson’s third straight victory, and the left-hander is seeking his first four-game win streak in a single season since he won six in a row in May and June 2005—the five-time Cy Young Award winner’s last season with Arizona before two disappointing years with the New York Yankees.
Bonds was batting .338 (26-for-77) with 11 home runs and 23 RBIs through 29 games for the Giants, but he’s is hitting just .183 (11-for-60) with one homer and three RBIs in 22 games since May 9. San Francisco (27-29), though, is just 8-14 in that span.
The seven-time NL MVP remains nine home runs shy of tying Hank Aaron’s all-time record.
Bonds is hitting .306 (15-for-49) with three home runs and 11 walks in his career against Johnson, but sat out of the Giants’ last matchup against him on April 29.
Johnson, who compiled 103 wins in six seasons with the Diamondbacks starting in 1999, didn’t get a decision after allowing three runs in six innings of the Arizona’s 5-4 win. He is 7-8 with a 3.57 ERA in his career against the Giants— the only NL West opponent against whom he has a losing record.
The Diamondbacks return home after going 5-1 on their most recent road trip, capped by a 4-1 win over the NL East-leading New York Mets on Sunday.
“I think this is a playoff team. There’s no doubt in my mind,” Diamondbacks outfielder Eric Byrnes told the team’s official Web site. “But it’s up to us whether or not we end up there.
“We have the talent to. I don’t think it’s a secret anymore. People are starting to recognize that we’re a very good baseball team. This is a marathon, but we’ve got a pretty good pace going.”
San Francisco, meanwhile, is coming off an 8-1 win over Philadelphia on Monday. Bonds was hitless with a walk in four at-bats, but second baseman Ray Durham went 2-for-5 with a home run, two runs and two RBIs. He is 10-for-30 in his career against Johnson.
Matt Cain (2-5, 3.42) gets the start as the Giants try snap their five-game losing streak at Chase Field, where they were swept in three games in late April.
The right-hander, is 3-2 with a 3.33 ERA in eight career starts against the Diamondbacks. He’s already faced them twice this season, allowing one run in each start, including a three-hitter in the Giants’ 2-1 win on April 22 to complete the Giants’ three-game sweep in San Francisco.
During his last start in Phoenix on April 28, Cain left with a 4-1 lead after holding Arizona to one hit in six innings but didn’t factor in the decision as San Francisco lost 5-4.
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