Randall Delgado tossed six scoreless innings for the Arizona Diamondbacks Friday night at Chase Field.
Unfortunately, the effort came after the first inning, when the San Francisco Giants scored on a sacrifice fly. After that, the scoreboard never changed.
In his first at-bat since May 25, after a long stint on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, Giants centerfielder Angel Pagan laced a low and inside Delgado fastball over the head of a leaping Gerardo Parra and against the rightfield wall, legging out a double on the drive. Marco Scutaro's sacrifice bunt helped to advance him to third base in the following at-bat and Giants' three-hole hitter Brandon Belt used a shallow sacrifice fly to plate him thereafter.
The 1-0 lead Tim Lincecum took to the mound for the Giants in the bottom half of the first inning would never be lost, as the right-hander scattered six hits and two walks over a six-inning effort.
Lincecum's night was highlighted by a Houdini-esque escape in the sixth inning, when the heart of the Diamondbacks' order -- Paul Goldschmidt, Martin Prado and Aaron Hill -- loaded the bases for Miguel Montero with one away in the frame. Giants' pitching coach Dave Righetti trotted out to the mound for a meeting with his pitcher, catcher Buster Posey and the rest of the infield.
Montero swung and missed at the next three Lincecum offerings.
A.J. Pollock, who already had a single on the night, then stepped in the batter's box for the Diamondbacks. The centerfielder battled his way through a seven-pitch at-bat, which ended with a sharply-hit groundball down the third-base line.
Unwieldy Giants' third baseman Pablo Sandoval dove behind the third base bag to stab the would-be double, springing to his feet to throw out the speedy outfielder at first base in a boom-bang-bang play.
It was Houdini's final act of the night, as a Giants bullpen committee of Javier Lopez, Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo took the torch from their starter, holding the Diamondbacks to a hit and a walk in the game's final three innings, ultimately securing the 1-0 victory.
"We didn't have good at-bats," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said after the game. "We didn't really string hits together."
The Diamondbacks' offense, which had thus far been the National League's best in the month of August, let down Delgado who, in many regards, was the better pitcher Friday night. The right-hander tossed seven innings in his fifth loss of the season, allowing just three hits, two walks, to the Giants while striking out three. Throughout the night, he had opponents off-balance, thanks to a highly effective change-up and pinpoint location.
"He certainly pitched good enough for us to win," Gibson said.
And as with the Giants' relief staff, Will Harris and Brad Ziegler perpetuated the Delgado's effectivity in the eighth and ninth innings, allowing just a walk while each managed a strikeout.
No matter, the Diamondbacks bats were nowhere to be found.
"If you want to win those games," said Gibson, "you've got to have better at-bats. That's all there is to it."
Despite striking out in with the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero tallied a pair of hits on Friday, making him 4-for-12 since returning from the disabled list.
The Diamondbacks 1-0 loss was especially untimely, as they failed to capitalize on losses to the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals -- two teams competing for the second and final NL Wild Card spot.
He Said It:
"I was thinking, 'Go deep in the game.' And after that, it was something you can't control." -Diamondbacks starting pitcher Randall Delgado
Exactly one week after making the first relief appearance of his major league career, Diamondbacks right-hander Trevor Cahill (5-10, 4.39 ERA) will toe the Chase Field mound Saturday. Opposing him will be Giants righty Ryan Vogelsong (3-4, 5.58 ERA), who tossed eight scoreless innings in his last outing, Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. First pitch is 5:10 p.m. MDT and can be heard on Arizona Sports 620 AM.