Giants observations: Losing streak finally ends with win over Diamondbacks

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What we learned as Giants' pinch-hit magic vs. D-backs snaps skid originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

PHOENIX -- It took nearly half the season, but last year's pinch-hit magic finally showed up for the Giants. The timing couldn't have been better.

Darin Ruf came off the bench to hit a game-tying blast in the eighth and Austin Slater's two-run double in the ninth gave the Giants a lead that would hold up. They beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-5, snapping a six-game losing streak and avoiding a sweep that would have led to some tough questions on the flight to San Diego.

The first four innings fit right in with the last two weeks, as more sloppy defense and some elevated pitches from Alex Cobb led to four runs in the first two innings. Through four, the Giants didn't have a hit against Merrill Kelly, but Brandon Crawford's double got them going in the fifth and Joey Bart hit an RBI double that was inches from being a momentum-swinging three-run homer.

The Giants got a second run back in that inning and then scored two in the eighth. They opened the top of the ninth with a hit-by-pitch and single and loaded the bases for Slater, who lined one inside the first base line. A sacrifice fly by Austin Wynns tacked on a run for Camilo Doval, who wouldn't make it out of the bottom of the inning.

Doval gave up a run, loaded the bases and threw 37 pitches before being pulled. Sam Long entered and struck out pinch-hitter Jordan Luplow to pick up his first save since he was pitching in Low-A ball in 2017.

Line Change

Gabe Kapler hasn't had as many opportunities to go all-in with his pinch-hitters this season, but he played every card in the eighth when the Diamondbacks brought lefty Joe Mantiply in. Slater hit for Bart and Ruf for LaMonte Wade Jr., and Wilmer Flores even came out on deck to potentially hit for Joc Pederson.

Ruf got the job done after Slater's bunt single, smoking a hanging curveball 429 feet to left. The Giants set an MLB record with 18 pinch-hit homers last season but had to wait until their 80th game this year to get their first. Perhaps more incredibly, they only had one extra-base hit in 87 pinch-hit at-bats coming into the night. Ruf had been 2-for-12 as a pinch-hitter before the blast, his seventh of the season.

 

Back On Track?

In his second at-bat back from Triple-A, Bart smoked a ball to left that at first was called a three-run homer. A lengthy review determined that a fan had reached over the wall and Bart was placed on second with an RBI double because of fan interference. The call ultimately cost the Giants a run, but it was still a big moment. That was one of the best swings of the season for Bart, and maybe his best since April.

Bart has just one homer since the end of April and that was hit against Albert Pujols in a blowout, but the ball Wednesday traveled 398 feet. It was a step in the right direction for a player who made swing adjustments before returning to Triple-A and showed signs of an improved approach while there.

More Of The Same

Cobb has been a popular addition to the clubhouse and teammates rave about his professionalism. But the rest of the Giants continue to give Cobb very, very little help when he's out on the field.

Cobb went six innings and was charged with four earned runs, but it was another night when he deserved better. One of the seven hits he allowed was a one-out chopper to second that ticked off Tommy La Stella's glove and into right field. The play was inexplicably ruled a double because official scorekeepers apparently don't believe in errors anymore and Cobb went on to allow a two-run single before getting out of the inning.

RELATED: Bart's homer erased by wacky fan interference vs. D-backs

Cobb was charged with all four of his runs in the first two innings but settled in from there. The bad luck continued, but he did manage to get through six innings for the first time since May 29.

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