Giants observations: SF avoids disaster, beats D-backs in extras

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What we learned as Giants avoid disaster, beat D-backs in 10 originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

After the toughest week of their season, the Giants faced a team they have absolutely dominated this season. Naturally, they had to scratch and claw for an extra-innings win. 

The Diamondbacks wiped out a six-run deficit at Chase Field to send the game to the 10th, but the Giants pulled through for an 11-8 win, their 10th in 11 games this season against Arizona. They pushed their NL West lead to 3 1/2 games over the idle Los Angeles Dodgers, who start a two-game series with the Houston Astros on Tuesday. 

The Giants took a 2-1 lead into the fifth and then exploded, getting five runs, four coming on Alex Dickerson's slump-busting, 437-foot grand slam. It seemed like the first night of the road trip would turn into a laugher, but Anthony DeSclafani couldn't even get deep enough to qualify for the win. 

DeSclafani gave up a pair of two-run homers to Josh Reddick and Asdrubal Cabrera in the fifth and was removed after 4 1/3, continuing a rough stretch for the top of the rotation. It wasn't much better when the bullpen got involved.

The last bits of a six-run lead slipped away in the seventh after Jay Jackson loaded the bases with no outs. Jackson nearly got out of the jam, but Christian Walker hit a two-out, two-strike double to tie it up, 8-8.

At a lively park, that was it until extra innings. The Giants got their free runner in the top of the 10th and got much more than just the one run, scoring three to give Jarlin Garcia a cushion. Dickerson and Steven Duggar had huge left-on-left at-bats to keep the rally going. Garcia made quick work of the bottom of the inning.

Big Alex Energy

Timing is everything in life, and Dickerson's blast couldn't have come at a better time for the veteran left fielder. He was hitless in 17 previous at-bats but had a huge smile on his face throughout the rest of the inning, possibly in part because he knows how much is at stake.

The Giants have three veterans coming back, including Tommy La Stella and Brandon Belt this week, and they're short on obvious moves. It's a bad time for any player to go in a slump, even one who has been as productive the previous two seasons as Dickerson.

The Giants have been hoping that Dickerson could get going and reclaim time in left, along with becoming a serious bench weapon. Even while slumping he has been hitting the ball hard, and the slam got out in a hurry, leaving the yard at 108.3 mph. The grand slam was the third of his career and first since his Giants debut at Chase Field in 2019. He followed that with a 415-foot triple off the center field wall. 

Chase Field Fan

Every hitter likes hitting at Chase Field, where the ball flies and the batter's eye provides a nice backdrop. But few have done as much damage there recently as Mike Yastrzemski.

Yastrzemski hit a no-doubter to right in the third inning to get the Giants on the board and get to 18 homers on the year. The homer was Yastrzemski's third in seven games in Arizona this year and his seventh in 16 career games. Three of those, of course, came in one memorable game in 2019. The seven career homers are Yastrzemski's most in any ballpark other than his home one.

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A Red Flag?

Three of Kevin Gausman's four shortest starts have come in the second half, and DeSclafani isn't having his first half success, either. DeSclafani was sharp early Monday, but the Diamondbacks started knocking him around in the fifth. He was charged with five runs -- four earned -- on seven hits in his 4 2/3 innings and has gone just 7 1/3 innings over his last two starts. 

DeSclafani allowed at least three earned runs just five times in 18 first half starts. He has done it in all four of his second half starts.

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