PHOENIX (AP)Johnny Cueto pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Alex Dickerson homered and had two RBIs, and the San Francisco Giants won their first road series by beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-1 on Sunday.
Cueto was sharp in his last start before the trade deadline, allowing a run on three hits in 6 2/3 innings. He even added a few new shimmies to his cache of eccentric wind-up moves.
”I like to invent during the game,” Cueto said through a translator. ”That’s what I do, I pitch on the fly.”
Dickerson hit a solo homer in the first inning and lined a run-scoring single in the eighth off Archie Bradley after the Giants put two on against Stefan Crichton (2-2). Evan Longoria followed with a two-run single and Tyler Rogers (2-3) worked a perfect bottom half.
Sam Coonrod pitched a perfect ninth for his first career save to push the Giants to their ninth win in 12 games.
Eduardo Escobar homered and Taylor Clarke allowed one hit in five innings for Arizona. The Diamondbacks had three hits to lose for the 10th time in 11 games.
”It wasn’t a very good homestand for us,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. ”We’ve got to find a way to regroup and get to start playing the type of baseball we’ve become accustomed to here in Arizona.”
Cueto, who has one year and a club option left on his contract, has been the subject of trade speculation heading into Monday’s deadline.
The right-hander put on a show against the Diamondbacks, using his vast repertoire of wind-up quirks to get them to hit one weak ball after another. Escobar legged out an infield single in the second inning and, after Cueto retired the next 11 batters, hit a solo homerto right to tie the game at 1-all in the seventh. Cueto struck out six.
”He’s so fun to watch,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. ”This was definitely up there.”
Clarke was just as good.
The right-hander pitched well in an emergency start against Colorado on Monday, allowing an earned run on two hits in four innings.
Clarke had limited opposing hitters to 1 for 18 this season on his changeup, but he left one up in the first inning and Dickerson hit it out for a long solo home run.
Clarke settled into a rhythm after that, limiting the Giants to one hit and two baserunners before being replaced by Kevin Ginkel in the sixth inning. Clarke matched a career high with seven strikeouts.
”I left a changeup over the middle there, but overall felt pretty good about it,” Clarke said. ”I felt like I got in a groove after the second or third inning.”
Cueto is known for his creative wind-ups, sometimes turning his back to the hitters, hitching his leg kick, occasionally quick pitching.
Usually it’s spontaneous, but now his catcher, Chadwick Tromp, is calling for Cueto to shimmy on certain pitches.
”I haven’t seen a catcher call anything like that before,” Kapler said. ”They definitely work well together.”
Clarke had an up-and-down rookie season with the Diamondbacks last year, finishing 5-5 with a 5.31 ERA.
He’s been sharp so far this shortened season, pitching effectively out of the bullpen before joining the rotation when Merrill Kelly went down with a shoulder injury.
Clarke has allowed more than one earned run once this season Sunday’s start dropped his ERA to 2.22.
”It’s more about pitch usage,” he said. ”I’ve tinkered with a few pitches here and there that I think have gotten better.”
Giants: An MRI on RHP Trevor Cahill’s left hip showed joint inflammation after he left Saturday’s start in the fourth inning in pain. He will start anti-inflammatory medicine and be evaluated this week. … LHP Drew Smyly (finger), RHP Jeff Samardzija (shoulder) and OF Austin Slater (groin) are expected to head to San Francisco’s alternate training site this week to begin their rehabs.
Diamondbacks: LHP Madison Bumgarner, out since leaving his Aug. 9 start with back spasms, threw a simulated game Saturday night that manager Torey Lovullo said was ”solid.” … Arizona is hoping RHP Andrew Chafin will be cleared to return on Monday. He’s been on the injured list with a left finger sprain.
Giants: No starter has been named for the opening game of a road series at Colorado on Tuesday.
Diamondbacks: LHP Alex Young (1-1, 4.70) is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA his last five starts heading into Tuesday’s series opener at the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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