SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Ryne Nelson struck out six in seven innings in his strongest start of the season, Ketel Marte added two hits and homered for the second consecutive game, and the Arizona Diamondbacks held off the surging San Francisco Giants 5-2 on Sunday to avoid a series sweep.
Christian Walker extended his career-high hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI double for Arizona. Alek Thomas had three hits for the Diamondbacks, whose lead in the NL West had been trimmed to 1 1/2 games over the Giants after San Francisco won the first two games of the series.
Arizona set a franchise record with its 79th consecutive game without being shut out, the ninth-longest streak in the majors since 1998.
“We felt like we needed to respond to a couple of tough games where we let some things get away from us that we were able to control,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “The group walked in here today very focused.”
J.D. Davis and Luis Matos each had two hits for San Francisco. It was the Giants’ second loss in 14 games and prevented them from completing their fourth series sweep in the last six tries.
San Francisco scored once in the eighth and appeared to load the bases on Patrick Bailey’s infield single. But Blake Sabol, who walked earlier in the inning, rounded second and headed for third before realizing Davis was still there. Sabol was tagged out going back to second.
The Giants threatened again in the ninth but Scott McGough got Thairo Estrada to ground out with two runners on to end it for his sixth save.
“We definitely knew we needed to take one from them,” Nelson said. “The team just came out and played really well today.”
Nelson (4-4), making his second start against the Giants this season, was much crisper than in May, when San Francisco got to him for four runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. The Diamondbacks right-hander was stellar the second time, allowing three hits and one run. Nelson retired 14 straight after giving up a double and walk to back-to-back batters in the first.
The seven innings was Nelson’s longest outing this season and matched his career high set last Sept. 5 against San Diego.
“That’s what I’m trying to do, trying to prove that I can get deep in games,” Nelson said. “I’ve been trying to keep the pitch count down to have that opportunity.”
Marte singled off the brick wall in right in the first inning, then came around on Walker’s double into the gap in right-center. His home run off Tristan Beck in the eighth was Marte’s 14th in 73 games this season, two more than he had in 137 games last season.
“He’s an elite player that’s just growing and learning every day,” Lovullo said of Marte, who has homered in four of the past six games. “We’re seeing the on-base percentage climb because he’s swinging at good pitches. When you’re doing that, you’re going to drive baseballs.”
Thomas doubled against Anthony DeSclafani (4-7) and scored on McCarthy’s single in the second to make it 2-0.
Nelson struck out Sabol swinging with runners at the corners to end the first, then got Sabol to line out to end the sixth with two on. That came one batter after Davis singled in Estrada to cut the gap to 2-1. Estrada reached on an error by Arizona catcher Gabriel Moreno after Estrada struck out swinging.
Geraldo Perdomo had an RBI single in the ninth for the Diamondbacks.
Andrew Chafin allowed one run in two-thirds of an inning after replacing Nelson to begin the eighth.
DeSclafani allowed two runs and five hits in six innings. He had three strikeouts but remained winless since May 29.
DeSclafani made a quick pick-off throw to first base to get McCarthy for the final out of the second. McCarthy was initially ruled safe by first base umpire and crew chief Alan Porter but the Giants challenged and the call was overturned by replay.
The Giants challenged another call in the seventh inning but were denied by a video review.
Giants: RHP Luke Jackson was placed on the 15-day Injured List with a low back strain. Jackson left Saturday’s game because of the injury. … RHP Ross Stripling returned from a rehab assignment and was reinstated from the 15-day IL. … 1B/OF LaMonte Wade Jr., who was also pulled from Saturday’s game because of lower back tightness, was held out of the lineup as precaution.
UP NEXT Diamondbacks: Lovullo has not named a starter for Tuesday’s series opener against the Rays in a matchup of division leaders in Arizona.
Giants: Manager Gabe Kapler has not named a starter for Tuesday’s game in Toronto, although the team has used an opener for this turn in the rotation for the previous five weeks.
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