Giants turn to Alex Wood vs. D-backs, inch closer to title

MLB

Left-hander Alex Wood will attempt to cement his spot in the San Francisco Giants’ postseason rotation when he tries to pitch the National League West leaders closer to a division title at the expense of the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday night.

The Giants (103-54) lowered their magic number for clinching the West title to four in the series opener on Tuesday, riding a strong outing by Logan Webb to a 6-4 victory.

The Giants, who have won four in a row and eight of their past 10, lead the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers by two games in the division.

Webb likely will get the ball to start the Giants’ first postseason game unless he has to be called upon to pitch a meaningful regular-season finale on Sunday.

All-Star Kevin Gausman also factors big-time into manager Gabe Kapler’s plans, leaving Wood (10-4, 4.00) competing with 12-game winner Anthony DeSclafani and possibly veteran Johnny Cueto for the last spot or two.

Wood hasn’t allowed more than two earned runs in any of his past five starts, a stretch in which he’s gone just 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA. The Giants have won four of those games.

The 30-year-old already has been part of four wins over the Diamondbacks this season, although he did not get a decision in 5-4 and 8-7 wins in August after going 2-0 in his two earlier outings.

Wood has gone 7-4 with a 3.54 ERA in 23 games, including 15 starts, against Arizona in his career.

The veteran won’t have the comfort of looking to first base and seeing defensive whiz Brandon Belt, who suffered a fractured left thumb in Sunday’s win at Colorado. He has been placed on the injured list, effectively ending his regular season.

The Giants began the post-Belt final week with a combination of LaMonte Wade Jr. and Wilmer Flores manning first base in Tuesday’s win, with Flores coming off the bench to contribute a key RBI single to a late San Francisco flurry.

Kapler noted he has many other options, including Kris Bryant, Tommy La Stella and Buster Posey, at his disposal as well.

“We have a fun little mix-and-match group now between Wade and Flores, and (Darin) Ruf is right around the corner,” he said. “I think we’re going to be able to successfully plug a very difficult hole to fill. We’ve done it.”

The Diamondbacks (50-107) have a mix-and-match situation at second base and shortstop, where Ketel Marte and Josh Rojas, respectively, got the call in the series opener.

They went a combined 1-for-7, leaving the door open for prized prospect Geraldo Perdomo to start on Wednesday.

Perdomo got an extra-base hit off the bench on Tuesday, hitting a pinch-hit double in the ninth off the Giants’ Camilo Doval.

After a rocky minor-league career, Perdomo, 21, insists he’s ready for prime time.

“My coaches never stopped believing in me,” he said. “I know who I am, and I know what I can do.”

Right-hander Merrill Kelly (7-11, 4.59) is Arizona’s scheduled starter in the rematch. He’s gone winless in his past five outings, allowing four or more runs in four of them, including six his last time out against the Atlanta Braves last Wednesday.

The 32-year-old is 3-3 with a 3.53 ERA in nine lifetime starts against the Giants.

–Field Level Media

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