PHOENIX (AP)—The Arizona Diamondbacks needed a lift after a devastating loss.
It came from an unlikely source.
After struggling in his last two outings, rookie Micah Owings threw a two-hit shutout, just his second complete game, to lead Arizona to a 5-0 victory over San Francisco on Tuesday night.
The victory came one day after the Diamondbacks blew a late lead against the Giants and it kept them one game in front of San Diego in the NL West. The Padres beat the Pirates 5-3 on Tuesday.
“Obviously, last night was a tough one for us, but being able to bounce back has been our deal all year,” said Owings, who threw 101 pitches, 69 for strikes. “That’s what I love about this team.”
There was no emotional hangover from an 8-5 loss to the Giants on Monday night, when Arizona’s normally reliable bullpen gave up a two-run lead in the eighth inning. The Diamondbacks quickly put that game behind them with a four-run first inning against San Francisco’s Jonathan Sanchez (1-5).
Sanchez left after one inning with an oblique injury that likely will end his season.
“It’s huge for us,” Arizona’s Conor Jackson said. “Every game is a big game for us from here on out. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing.”
Owings (7-8) had not lasted beyond the fourth inning in either of his last two starts, fueling speculation that he was about to be dropped from the rotation.
But Owings made a case for himself against a Giants lineup without Barry Bonds, who was sidelined for a third straight day by a toe injury. Owings didn’t allow a hit until Dave Roberts led off the fourth with a single.
Owings allowed three baserunners—a walk and a single to Roberts and a double by Pedro Feliz in the fifth.
“Pretty remarkable based on the struggles the two times before that,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “He’s a tough kid. He just got rolling.
“You could see his confidence come back around the third or fourth inning,” Melvin said. “He realized, ‘I know what I’m doing again.”’
A .288 hitter, Owings doubled in the second, his ninth extra-base hit of the season.
While Owings breezed, Sanchez (1-5) retired only one of the eight men he faced.
Sanchez said he had thrown strikes in the bullpen before the game but lacked velocity, a result of pain in his left oblique.
“In the ‘pen I was hitting my spots, but I wasn’t throwing hard there,” Sanchez said. “Then I got on the mound and it started popping when I started throwing hard. That’s when it started hurting.”
Manager Bruce Bochy said it was “doubtful” Sanchez would pitch again this season.
Eric Byrnes led off the game with a bunt single and was caught stealing.
After Chris Young’s sacrifice fly with the bases loaded made it 1-0, Snyder hit a broken-bat single to left field to score two more runs.
“They got a four-spot in the first inning,” Bochy said. “That’s always helpful for a starter.”
Bochy lifted Sanchez after the 36-pitch inning, replacing him with Scott Munter.
Sanchez allowed four runs and five hits, walking two. In his last two starts, both against Arizona, Sanchez allowed seven runs and 10 hits in four innings.
It was Arizona’s 11th shutout, second in the NL behind San Diego, which has 20. … San Francisco C Bengie Molina threw out Byrnes trying to steal second in the first, ending Byrnes’ streak of 30 straight steals, the longest in the majors. … San Francisco RHP Dan Giese gave up Reynolds’ homer. It was the third home run allowed by Giese in a span of seven batters in his last three outings.