PHOENIX (AP)Christian Walker hit a three-run homer off a frustrated Carlos Rodon and the Arizona Diamondbacks handed the San Francisco Giants their sixth straight loss, 7-3 Tuesday night.
The Diamondbacks (44-53) won for the fifth time in eight games against the Giants this season after winning just twice in 19 meeetings last year.
San Francisco (48-49), which won 107 games a year ago, fell below .500 for the first time this season. The Giants are 11-22 since reaching their season high of 10 games over .500 on June 18.
”Christian’s been slugging all year long and comes up with the big three-run homer,” manager Torey Lovullo said. ”If you make mistakes, he’s going to punish the baseball.”
Walker’s 23rd homer, on the first pitch he saw, broke a 2-2 tie in the third against Rodon (8-6), who only gave up three hits in six innings. Two were home runs, though, accounting for five runs. He struck out 10, walked two and hit a batter.
Rodon’s temper took over after he came off the field in the fifth. He kicked a bat in the dugout, which hit shortstop Thairo Estrada in the knee. Teammates, including infielder Wilmer Flores, weren’t happy with Rodon’s display.
”Unacceptable action,” Rodon said after the game. ”I hit my teammate, the nicest teammate on the team. Just a selfish action, and it just cannot happen. Stupid.”
Rodon said it was frustration building up from his previous start at Los Angeles and increased in the desert.
”My last two starts haven’t been great, and today I wanted to come out and get a win for the boys,” he said.
Manager Gabe Kapler agreed with his ace pitcher, who immediately went to see if Estrada was all right.
”You saw that right away,” Kapler said. ”Carlos feels terrible, he knows it’s unacceptable. These are his teammates and if he’s not able to maintain control, somebody can get hurt. … We’re going to work on ways for him to be in control in those situations..”
Estrada stayed in the game and was hit by Luke Weaver’s pitch leading off the sixth. That one got him in his arm guard, at least, and he later scored on Brandon Belt’s double.
Ian Kennedy (4-4) retired all five batters he faced to pick up the victory.
The Diamondbacks scored first when Sergio Alcantara homered with a runner on in the second. The ball barely cleared the left-field wall and the glove of Darin Ruf, hitting a fan in the front row wearing a Giants jersey in the arm. The call was reviewed by the replay crew and was upheld. It was Alcantara’s third homer of the season.
Flores tied it with a two-run homer, his 14th, a towering blast into the Diamondbacks bullpen in left off starter Tyler Gilbert. It followed Luis Gonzalez’s leadoff single.
Gilbert, who was a Giants fan growing up in Santa Cruz, California, went four innings for Arizona, giving up four hits and two runs. He walked one and struck out two.
Arizona added two runs in the eighth against Yunior Marte when David Peralta pinch hit and tripled down the right-field line, scoring Carson Kelly, who had walked. Ketel Marte followed with an RBI double.
”Love the add-on runs late in the game. This is a very dangerous team and you got to score as much as you can to put them away,” Lovullo said.
Kelly’s career-best hitting streak ended at 13 games. He was 0 for 2, drew a walk and was hit by a pitch and scored two runs. The Arizona catcher, who was batting .115 when the streak began, is now at .218.
LA STELLA RETURNS
Giants second baseman Tommy La Stella was reinstated from the COVID-19 list Tuesday. The veteran, sidelined since July 8, also missed the Giants’ first 33 games after experiencing inflammation in his right Achilles tendon following offseason surgery.
”We need him to play (in the infield) on a regular basis so that we can rotate the DH spot and keep guys healthy,” Kapler said. ”Wilmer Flores has been going out there and playing every single day.”
La Stella has only played in the field in seven games this season and didn’t start Tuesday against Gilbert, a lefty, but Kapler said ”he’s ready to play.”
Since the All-Star break, the Giants have allowed 39 runs – 28 of them with two outs, including five on Tuesday.
Giants: C Joey Bart was removed after three at-bats because of illness, Kapler said. ”He really wanted to stay in the game but he did not look good.”
Diamondbacks: Placed RHP Keynan Middleton on the 15-day injured list with a strained right ankle. Middleton is 1-2 with a 1.64 ERA in 11 innings. RHP Chris Devenski was recalled from Triple-A Reno to replace Middleton.
The series concludes Wednesday when the Giants’ Logan Webb (9-3, 2.77 ERA) faces the Diamondbacks’ Zac Gallen (5-2, 3.31).
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