PHOENIX - Manager Gabe Kapler wore a big grin across his face during postgame interviews on July 4. The fact that his San Francisco Giants had won their third straight game was just a small part of the reason.
Anthony DeSclafani threw 8 2/3 effective innings, Austin Slater and Darin Ruf both homered and the Giants beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2. But the most important moment of the night might have been back in the medical room, where X-rays on All-Star Buster Posey’s left thumb were negative.
"You see me smiling," Kapler said. "That’s my level of relief."
The Giants said that Posey has a left thumb contusion after leaving the game in the sixth inning. The 34-year-old catcher took an awkward shot to his glove hand on a foul tip by Daulton Varsho and tried to stay in the game but left after just one more pitch. There was plenty of worry until the news came in the ninth inning that Posey’s thumb wasn’t broken.
DeSclafani (9-3) nearly pitched his third complete game of the season but was lifted in the ninth after Christian Walker’s RBI single with two outs made it 5-2. Tyler Rogers got the final out for his 10th save.
"I’m just going to go until the ball is taken from me," DeSclafani said. "It’s a plus to get into those later innings."
DeSclafani gave up six hits and two walks while striking out seven. Surprisingly, the right-hander said he wasn’t comfortable on the mound and the great outing was unexpected.
"I did not feel good whatsoever," DeSclafani said. "Then I looked up after four and I haven’t given up a hit. I was cruising, throwing up zeroes."
Slater crushed a solo shot in the third inning that pushed San Francisco ahead 3-0. It traveled 467 feet, landing far past the left-center field wall, past the seats and onto the concourse. It was his ninth homer of the year.
Ruf added another no-doubter, this one a two-run shot on a hanging breaking ball that put the Giants ahead 5-0 in the sixth.
Diamondbacks left-hander Caleb Smith (2-5) took the loss, giving up five runs over six innings. He allowed five hits, one walk and struck out five. It was a decent outing until his two-out mistake to Ruf in the sixth that ended up in the seats.
"He was one at-bat away from his line score being totally different," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said.
The Diamondbacks fell 40 games below .500 at 23-63, which is the worst record in the big leagues. They’ve lost 50 of 58 games dating to May 2.
PAIN FOR POSEY
Posey’s hand injury happened in the sixth when a foul tip appeared to catch him on the heel of the glove.
He immediately jumped up and walked to the mound, shaking his hand. He caught a couple practice pitches from DeSclafani and then tried to remain in the game. The next pitch was a full-count strikeout of Varsho, but TV caught the normally stoic Posey grimacing after he caught the ball.
After that, he took himself out of the game, walking off the field and into the dugout. He was replaced by Curt Casali.
Losing Posey for any amount of time would be a big blow for the Giants. The seven-time All-Star came into Sunday’s game batting .327 with 12 homers.
ESCOBAR GETS ALL-STAR NOD
The Diamondbacks had a rare light moment in the clubhouse on Sunday when it was announced that 11-year MLB veteran Eduardo Escobar had made his first All-Star team as a reserve. He was Arizona’s lone selection.
The 32-year-old Escobar is hitting .249 with a team-high 18 homers and 54 RBIs this season. He’s also one of the team’s most popular players in the clubhouse.
"I’m so happy," Escobar said. "I’ve been working hard every year for this opportunity."
Giants: RHPs Aaron Sanchez (right bicep and finger blister) and Reyes Montoya (right flexor strain) are scheduled to throw live batting practice on Tuesday. .... RHP Logan Webb (right shoulder strain) plans to pitch for Triple-A Sacramento out of the bullpen. He’ll throw three innings or 45 pitches.
Diamondbacks: Escobar (sore quadriceps) didn’t start for a second straight game. Manager Torey Lovullo said Escobar needed some rest this weekend because he wasn’t going to get much rest over the All-Star break when he travels to Colorado. Escobar pinch hit in the ninth and flew out to left. ... RHP Taylor Widener (groin) gave up four runs over four innings in a rehab start at High-A Hillsboro on Saturday. He struck out six and Lovullo said the pitcher felt good.
Giants: San Francisco returns home for a three-game series against St. Louis. The Giants will start RHP Kevin Gausman (8-2, 1.68 ERA) on the mound against St. Louis LHP Kwang Hyun Kim (2-5, 3.79).
Diamondbacks: Arizona has a day off on Monday before starting a three-game series at Colorado. The Diamondbacks will send RHP Merrill Kelly (5-7, 4.67) to the mound on Tuesday to face Colorado RHP Jon Gray (5-6, 3.89).
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