By Morris Phillips
SAN FRANCISCO — Three thousand at-bats into a now, surprisingly, lengthy big league career–and in the midst of a breakout season–Edwin Escobar wasn’t about to overlook the opportunity afforded him in the seventh inning on Monday.
Giants’ Trevor Gott was suddenly lifted by manager Bruce Bochy after it became apparent the pitcher was experiencing discomfort in his arm. That left rookie Shaun Anderson to pitch to Escobar with a 2-1 count that swung the proceedings wildly in the hitters’ favor.
Two pitches later, Anderson challenged Escobar with a fastball up and in, and he responded with a two-run single up the middle, the key hit in Arizona’s 6-4 win.
The Giants and Diamondbacks–both with the slightest of postseason hopes–conclude their season series Tuesday with a tie-breaking 19th contest and just a half-game separating the teams in the standings.
Escobar may have been the most prominent hitter in either lineup on Monday, a dramatic change in stature for the infielder who has bounced from the Twins to the White Sox and now the Diamondbacks in a 10-year career. But Escobar has seen his RBI totals increase in every season but one, to 103 this season after he delivered on Monday.
Besides Escobar, players on both sides did more taking away than delivering in a game that was greatly decided by mistakes. Tyler Beede pitched well in trying to end his month long streak without a win. The youthful starter mixed his pitches and hit his spots, but couldn’t close the door in the pivotal sixth inning. Beede’s wild pitch allowed Escobar to score from third, breaking a 1-1 tie.
“I thought he had all-around better stuff, command, and I thought he looked better out there tonight,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Beede.
Abiatal Avelino was the surprise starter in left field for the Giants, ahead of Alex Dickerson, and he delivered a run scoring hit that sliced Arizona’s lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth. But Avelino ran through third base coach Ron Wotus’ stop sign after Brandon Crawford singled, and was thrown out at the plate by a wide margin, preventing the Giants from adding on in the inning.
“He’s playing hard, and he didn’t see the stop sign,” Bochy said. “He just kept running, and ran us out of a chance at a big inning.”
The Diamondbacks landed on .500 for a remarkable 30th time this season with the win. The Giants fell below .500 after an encouraging weekend in Oakland brought them closer to the wild card leaders.
The teams conclude their brief, two-game series on Tuesday with veteran pitchers Mike Leake and Jeff Samardzija facing off.