PHOENIX – While the Dodgers were opening up a can at Coors Field, the Giants involuntarily helped their archrivals get a bit closer to popping the celebratory stuff.
The Giants offense was unable to dent a much sharper Wade Miley on Monday, and Mark Trumbo wrecked Ryan Vogelsong’s night with one swing. Trumbo hit a grand slam in the third inning – the first ever allowed in Vogelsong’s major league career – and the Giants lost 6-2 to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
Combined with the Dodgers’ rout in Colorado, the Giants fell four games out in the NL West with 12 to play. Even if they were to sweep the three remaining matchups at Dodger Stadium, the Giants now officially need help to win the division.
The Giants also slipped a bit in the wild card standings, where their hold on the top spot is down to 2 ½ games over Pittsburgh; the Milwaukee Brewers lurk an additional 1 ½ games behind the Pirates.
Starting pitching report
Vogelsong (8-11) had allowed exactly 100 home runs in his major league life entering Monday. He had allowed exactly zero with the bases loaded.
Then came the third inning. Miley shaved a single to left field, Chris Owings hit a two-out single and Vogelsong threw a wild pitch that advanced both runners. With first base open, he tried to get A.J. Pollock to chase a 3-2 fastball at the letters. The pitch fooled him, but first base umpire Ron Kulpa ruled that he didn’t go around.
Up stepped Trumbo, who has been a major disappointment in his first season with Arizona. He finally made an impact in a pennant race, but not the way the Diamondbacks envisioned when they acquired him over the winter. Vogelsong threw an 0-1 slider and Trumbo drove it the other way to give Arizona a 4-0 lead.
Vogelsong didn’t give up another run after the slam, although he needed help to escape the sixth inning after Miguel Montero hit a two-out double. Vogelsong walked the next two batters, giving him nine walks in his last two starts, and Javier Lopez induced a ground out to strand the bases loaded.
Although he has been terrific at times this season, Vogelsong fell to 1-5 with a 5.68 ERA in 12 starts against NL West clubs.
Juan Gutierrez couldn’t keep it close after the Giants scored to make it a 4-1 deficit in the seventh. Pollock hit an RBI triple and Trumbo singled him home in the bottom of the inning.
At the plate
The Giants are 27-29 against left-handed starters, and not all of them are named Clayton Kershaw. Their issues resurfaced against Wade Miley, who lasted just two innings in his previous start last week at San Francisco but had much better control this time while mixing off his mid-90s fastball in seven innings.
It hurt that Angel Pagan was scratched with back discomfort less than an hour before the first pitch, especially since he was batting .488 in 10 games against Arizona this season. Pagan’s back issue cost him 44 games earlier this season, giving the Giants one fewer right-handed bat against lefties. Juan Perez replaced Pagan and was 0 for 5 to drop his average to .177.
[RELATED: Pagan scratched due to back stiffness]
It also hurts that Pablo Sandoval never has found a consistent right-handed swing this season, despite a winter spent at the feet of Miguel Cabrera in Venezuela. Sandoval did manage a double in the second inning but is batting just .203 against left-handers.
Sandoval doubled in the second inning, took third on the first of Joaquin Arias’ three hits, and Gregor Blanco followed with a ground ball to the right side. With one out, Trumbo looked back Sandoval before throwing for a forceout at second base and then Brandon Crawford grounded out to end the inning.
They didn’t create another chance against Miley until the seventh when Arias hit a leadoff single, Blanco drove a double that bounced into the pool deck on a hop and Crawford hit an RBi ground out.
They generated plenty of traffic against Arizona’s bullpen but couldn’t blast open a big inning. They managed just two runs on 11 hits.
They had some bad luck, too, when Sandoval missed a two-run home run by a modest length of chain link in the eighth. Batting left-handed, Sandoval squared up his line drive that hit near the top of the wall for a single. The Giants had runners at the corners with one out after that but did not score again.
Buster Posey helped Vogelsong escape the fourth with a strikeout-double play when he caught Aaron Hill trying to steal second base.
The Diamondbacks announced 21,731 paid. Hey, it’s air conditioned.
The Giants and Diamondbacks continue their three-game series at Chase Field on Tuesday. It’ll be Jake Peavy (5-4, 2.29 ERA) against Arizona right-hander Josh Collmenter (10-7, 3.67). First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. PDT.