The Arizona Diamondbacks managed to hang on to their NL West lead on Tuesday.
They’ll hope to create some breathing room in the division race as they wrap up a three-game series with the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field.
The Diamondbacks (85-67) have held at least a share of first place in the NL West since Sept. 4, but their 8-5 loss in Monday’s series opener shrank their lead to just one game over second-place San Diego. Arizona rebounded Tuesday with a 5-0 win, but the Padres’ victory over Pittsburgh kept them within a game.
Still, the Diamondbacks’ victory was an encouraging one a day after they blew a 5-3, eighth-inning lead.
“Obviously, last night was a tough one for us, but being able to bounce back has been our deal all year,” said starter Micah Owings, who threw a two-hit shutout. “That’s what I love about this team.”
The victory was Arizona’s 11th shutout, second in the NL behind San Diego’s 20. Chris Snyder had a two-run single and Mark Reynolds hit his 15th home run for the Diamondbacks, who are 6-2 at home against the Giants (67-84).
“It’s huge for us,” first baseman Conor Jackson said. “Every game is a big game for us from here on out. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”
Reynolds entered this series hitting just .111 (3-for-27) in eight games against the Giants this season, but is 4-for-9 with two RBIs so far in this set.
Owings took advantage of a San Francisco lineup that was missing home run king Barry Bonds for a third straight game. Manager Bruce Bochy has said that Bonds could be available when the Giants open their final homestand Thursday night against Cincinnati.
In the finale, however, San Francisco will have its ace on the mound.
Barry Zito (9-12, 4.41 ERA) is 2-2 with a 1.55 ERA in four career starts against the Diamondbacks—his lowest ERA against any team he has faced more than once. He is 1-1 with a 1.88 ERA in two starts against them this season.
Zito owns a 2.65 ERA over his last nine starts, but only has a 2-2 record to show for it. He gave up two runs in six innings in the Giants’ 5-4, 10-inning loss in San Diego on Friday, going at least six innings for the seventh straight start.
Arizona counters with Doug Davis (13-12, 4.18), who is coming off just his second loss in 13 starts. He allowed six runs—four earned—in 4 2-3 innings of Friday’s 7-4 defeat against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“I made some mistakes, especially in the fifth inning,” said Davis, who also mentioned that he thought he might have been tipping his pitches. “I was getting behind guys, and when I do that, it doesn’t matter what team I’m facing. They’re going to get better swings, better hacks, and that’s pretty much what happened.”
Davis is 3-4 with a 4.40 ERA in 10 career appearances, including nine starts, against the Diamondbacks, including 1-2 with a 3.38 ERA in three starts this season.
Zito and Davis are squaring off for the second time this season. Zito allowed three runs in seven innings of a 3-2 loss in Arizona on April 27, while Davis yielded one run in seven innings and got the win.