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Chafin's sharp start offset by Giants' late rally

Rookie adds first RBI, but D-backs' bullpen can't hang on in ninth

Chafin's sharp start offset by Giants' late rally play video for Chafin's sharp start offset by Giants' late rally

PHOENIX -- The D-backs got a solid start from rookie Andrew Chafin on Wednesday, but it proved to be for naught. Arizona still dropped the rubber game of its three-game set with the Giants, 4-2, as San Francisco rallied in the ninth inning to steal the game.

With the teams tied at 2 entering the ninth, manager Kirk Gibson turned to closer Addison Reed to potentially give the D-backs a chance to walk off in the bottom half of the inning. Instead, Reed recorded one out and was charged with his sixth loss of the year.

"This is actually his fifth or sixth day either in the game or up [in the bullpen]," Gibson said. "He just didn't have it today."

Like several times this year, Reed's command left him. Half of his 28 pitches were balls, and the lack of control cost him. He walked Pablo Sandoval to start the inning and then walked Brandon Belt to load the bases, giving pinch-hitter Matt Duffy the opportunity to break the game open with a two-run single.

"[Duffy] has that composure you like as a pinch-hitter," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "That's not the first time he's gotten a big hit for us. I like him up there in that situation."

Though the Giants scored two off Reed in the ninth, they managed only two against Chafin through the first six innings.

Making his second career start, the southpaw did struggle with his command at times -- he walked four batters -- but he generally limited the damage against a potent Giants lineup.

"I guess you could say maybe I was trying too hard to be too fine and precise with things," Chafin said. "I just went back to going out there and throwing it and trusting things, and that helps a bit."

The D-backs quickly equalized when the Giants did score, and even Chafin got into the offensive mix.

After the Giants opened the scoring in the second with a Brandon Crawford double, the D-backs put a pair of runners on with Chafin coming to the plate. With two outs, Chafin could not sacrifice the runners over, so he was swinging away. The result: a run-scoring single down the first-base line for both his first career hit and RBI.

"It's definitely exciting to go out there and contribute to the offense," Chafin said.

The Giants jumped ahead again in the fifth with a safety squeeze bunt by Gregor Blanco, but the D-backs came back quickly with unlikely means in the bottom half of the inning.

A.J. Pollock tripled on a fly ball to center field, and it looked like he may be stranded there after Mark Trumbo struck out on a ball in the dirt. Trumbo started running down the line, and catcher Andrew Susac threw him out at first -- a fairly conventional play.

But when Susac threw to first, Pollock bolted for home, sliding in safely just ahead of the tag and tying the game at 2.

"Susac kind of just looked at me, but it really didn't look like a real look," Pollock said. "It looked like he was just kind of going through the motions a little bit.

"I didn't have anything to lose there. I was just trying to make something happen. Fortunately, it worked out."

Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Call stands as D-backs double up Pence

Bochy's challenge unsuccessful on close play at first base

Call stands as D-backs double up Pence play video for Call stands as D-backs double up Pence

PHOENIX -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy unsuccessfully challenged a sixth-inning call during Wednesday's game against the D-backs that resulted in Hunter Pence grounding into a double play.

Pence, who hit a ground ball to shortstop Nick Ahmed which forced out Buster Posey at second base, believed that he beat Chris Owings' relay to first. But after a review of videotaped replays, the play stood as called by the umpiring crew.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Nuno ready to rebound as Rox visit Colorado

Nuno ready to rebound as Rox visit Colorado play video for Nuno ready to rebound as Rox visit Colorado

Thursday night will be a showdown of two left-handers who could really use a win.

D-backs starter Vidal Nuno is 0-6 in 12 starts with Arizona despite a 3.68 ERA, while Rockies lefty Yohan Flande will make his ninth start of the season and try to improve from 0-5.

Nuno could have his hands full at Coors Field, facing a Rockies team that chased Dodgers starter Carlos Frias after just two-thirds of an inning Wednesday, putting up 10 hits and eight runs against him. They've posted double-digit run totals in back-to-back games.

Nuno is also coming off his toughest outing since joining the D-backs, allowing six runs on eight hits in five innings against the Padres. After scoring just 2.5 runs per game for Nuno, the D-backs gave Nuno his best chance to win, offering him five runs of offensive support.

"It's just annoying," Nuno said after the loss. "I got some run support today, but I blew it."

Flande, meanwhile, will be making his first start since Aug. 17. Since being recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Sept. 1, he's made five scoreless relief appearance totaling 4 1/3 innings.

Flande is also expected to start again on Tuesday at San Diego. The Rockies view the 28-year-old as a potential rotation option in the future.

"We still haven't given up on him as a starter," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.

"We feel like he can transition easily to the bullpen, if that's the case, like he's shown this year. When we put him in the bullpen, he's been very effective -- a strike-thrower, very effective against lefties. He can keep the ball at the bottom of the zone, so there are some things that he's done well."

D-backs: One (bullpen) door closes, another one opens
Oliver Perez has been one of the D-backs' most consistent relievers all season, but he has, in the words of manager Kirk Gibson, "hit a wall" lately.

In his last four outings, Perez has pitched a combined two innings, giving up eight runs on six hits. Gibson attributes those struggles to arm problems -- though not an injury.

"It's not hurt," Gibson said. "He's just got a dead arm."

Perez has appeared in 65 games this year, a career high.

But while Perez has struggled, rookie Eury De La Rosa has excelled.

De La Rosa hasn't given up a run in nearly a month. In his last 10 2/3 innings, spanning eight outings, opponents are hitting only .167 off him.

"He's come a long way," Gibson said. "He's pitched some pretty good games for us."

Rockies: Triple-A, Double-A affiliates moving
The Rockies announced changes in affiliates on Wednesday, shifting their Triple-A affiliate to Albuquerque and moving their Double-A affiliate to New Britain, Conn.

Although the Rockies have spent 22 years in Colorado Springs, they have some history in Albuquerque. They played exhibitions at 11,124-seat Isotopes Park before the 2005 and '06 seasons.

The Double-A affiliation began to change Wednesday, when the Tulsa Drillers, who made the Texas League Championship Series as a Rockies affiliate before losing to Midland, announced a two-year player development contract with the Dodgers.

It's not the first time the Rockies have been affiliated with a Connecticut team at Double-A. New Haven was the team's farm club from 1994-98.

Worth noting:
• The last -- and only -- time Nuno faced the Rockies, he allowed just one run on two hits in eight innings.

Michael Lananna is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Collmenter strong in losing duel to Giants

D-backs right-hander allows two runs in eight innings

Collmenter strong in losing duel to Giants play video for Collmenter strong in losing duel to Giants

PHOENIX -- Josh Collmenter put together his fifth straight outstanding start, but the right-hander did not come away with a win to show for it as the D-backs fell to the Giants, 2-1, on Tuesday night at Chase Field.

The loss snapped the D-backs' three-game winning streak and sets up Wednesday afternoon's rubber game of the series.

"It was a well-pitched game, a well-played game," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We didn't have many opportunities. We had a couple more opportunities than they did and we didn't get them in."

Collmenter (10-8) allowed two runs on seven hits over eight innings.

"He was dominating, you know, he made good pitches," D-backs catcher Miguel Montero said.

Collmenter's exaggerated over-the-top throwing motion makes him a challenge for opposing teams.

Said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, "From him, 84 or 85 [mph] looks like 94 or 95, the way he throws."

Over his last five starts, Collmenter has given up just four earned runs in 35 2/3 innings.

"I've been able to move the ball in and out, mixing up changeup, curveball," Collmenter said. "Miggy has been great behind the plate."

The Giants struck the decisive blow against Collmenter in the seventh. With the game tied at 1, Hunter Pence led off the inning with a single to center, moved to third on Travis Ishikawa's single and scored on Brandon Crawford's sacrifice fly.

"I missed a spot with Pence," Collmenter said. "That's probably what I was most upset about. I [was trying to go] in, but I left it out over the plate. Single, then a bloop, and all of a sudden, it was first and third."

That made a winner of Giants starter Jake Peavy (6-4). The right-hander allowed a run on five hits and a walk and departed with two outs in the eighth after hitting Chris Owings with a pitch.

"Tonight, he was nails," Gibson said. "He did really good. He was really spotting the ball, locating it well, finished right at the top of the zone."

The Giants gave Peavy a lead in the fourth when Buster Posey hit a one-out homer to left, his 21st of the year. The pitch was a changeup that was down, exactly where Collmenter wanted it.

"Not many guys could hit that ball," Gibson said. "Buster's one of the better hitters in the game. So not a bad pitch -- a home run by a very good hitter. Quality."

Posey was 9-for-14 in his career against Collmenter coming into the game and he went 2-for-4 against him Tuesday.

"I don't know," Collmenter said when asked why Posey had so much success against him. "Maybe the ball looks like a beach ball to him. I'm not sure. In and out, up and down, soft, hard, it doesn't matter, he seems to get the bat on it. Had some success running some fastballs in. The changeup was in and off the plate. He did a heck of a job to get to it and to even hit it out. I'll tip my cap to him on that one."

In fact, the hit prompted Montero to ask Posey a question in the bottom half of that inning.

"When I came up to hit, I said, 'What kind of [golf] club did you use there?'" Montero said.

The D-backs tied the game in the sixth thanks to a one-out triple by Owings and an RBI single by A.J. Pollock.

That was as close as they would come as they stranded a pair of runners in the eighth.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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La Russa meets with two GM candidates

Seven will have completed interviews by Friday; Eppler, Levine withdraw

La Russa meets with two GM candidates play video for La Russa meets with two GM candidates

PHOENIX -- D-backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa met with general-manager candidates Dave Stewart and Allard Baird on Tuesday, while Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine withdrew his name from consideration.

By the end of this week, seven candidates are expected to have met with La Russa and D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall. They include: Baird, Larry Beinfest, Gary LaRocque, Ray Montgomery, Tim Purpura, Stewart and De Jon Watson.

Beinfest's meeting with Hall took place earlier this year.

Of the candidates made public by the team, three are not meeting with Hall, signifying they are no longer in the mix. They include Angels director of pro scouting Hal Morris, who formally interviewed with La Russa, and Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler and Levine, who both withdrew their names from consideration.

"I greatly appreciate the opportunity to have had meaningful conversations with two very impressive baseball men with bright futures and respect both of their decisions not to interview with us in order to remain with their current organizations," La Russa said about Eppler and Levine in a statement.

Stewart has been looked at as a front-runner of sorts given his history with La Russa and the tremendous amount of respect La Russa has expressed for Stewart and his varied background. In addition to an outstanding pitching career, Stewart has served as a pitching coach and an assistant general manager, and he is now a successful player agent.

Baird is a respected talent evaluator. He was the GM of the Royals from 2000-06, and after his dismissal there, he joined the Red Sox's front office as an assistant general manager. Baird's current title is vice president, player personnel.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Goldschmidt nominated for Clemente Award

D-backs first baseman honored for achievements on and off field

Goldschmidt nominated for Clemente Award play video for Goldschmidt nominated for Clemente Award

PHOENIX -- First baseman Paul Goldschmidt was named Major League Baseball and Chevrolet's D-backs nominee for the 2014 Roberto Clemente Award on Tuesday.

Each team has a nominee for the award, which recognizes a player who best represents baseball through positive acts on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.

"I am honored to be named the D-backs' Roberto Clemente nominee," Goldschmidt said in a release. "Roberto was a tremendous community ambassador on and off the field, and I am grateful to be considered for the award named in his honor."

Goldschmidt will be honored before the D-backs' game against the Giants on Wednesday, which is Roberto Clemente Day around Major League Baseball. Fans can vote for Goldschmidt starting the same day at ChevyBaseball.com. Voting ends Oct. 6, and the winner will be honored during the World Series.

Previous winners of the award include Hall of Famers Willie Mays, who was inaugural winner in 1971, Brooks Robinson, Al Kaline, Willie Stargell, Rod Carew and Gary Carter. More recently, players like Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, Clayton Kershaw and last year's winner, Carlos Beltran, have been honored.

Goldschmidt, who has been a member of the National League All-Star team the last two seasons, launched Goldy's Fund 4 Kids in partnership with the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation to help families at Phoenix Children's Hospital. The program has raised $25,000 this year, according to the release.

In addition, Goldschmidt granted three full-tuition scholarships to students who wished to continue their education at University of Phoenix, which Goldschmidt graduated from last year.

"Paul is a great role model in every way and continues to be a leader both on the field and off the field," D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall said in the release. "His selfless attitude and genuine passion to help others is admirable. He represents what it means to be a D-back in every aspect."

Goldschmidt has been on the disabled list since Aug. 2 with a fractured left hand, suffered when Pirates reliever Ernesto Frieri hit him in the hand with a pitch. There are no plans for him to return by the end of this season.

Prior to that, the All-Star led the D-backs in nearly every offensive category, including batting average (.300), home runs (19), doubles (39) and on-base-plus-slugging percentage (.938).

Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Chafin replaces Delgado in D-backs' rotation

Chafin replaces Delgado in D-backs' rotation play video for Chafin replaces Delgado in D-backs' rotation

PHOENIX -- The last time Andrew Chafin pitched, he gave his team a chance to win a title.

The 24-year-old right-hander, then pitching for the Triple-A Reno Aces, tossed six scoreless innings against the Omaha Storm Chasers, the Royals' Triple-A affiliate, in Game 3 of the best-of-five Pacific Coast League Championship Series. The Aces fell in Game 5 of the series, so instead of traveling to the Triple-A National Championship Game, Chafin got the call to the big leagues and will make his second career Major League start Wednesday.

"It's the World Series to us when you're down there," Chafin said. "That's the best you can do. We were one win away from winning a championship. ... We wanted it really bad, just as bad as anybody wants to win a championship."

Manager Kirk Gibson said Chafin will take Randall Delgado's place in the D-backs' rotation for the remainder of the season, starting Wednesday in the series finale against the Giants.

"We didn't want to [move him to the bullpen]. He's throwing the ball really well as a starter," Gibson said. "We didn't feel it really would be good for him, either, to put him in the bullpen at this point."

Chafin has made one career Major League start, which came in Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Indians in Cleveland. The rookie labored a bit, throwing 101 pitches in five innings, but he got through the start without allowing a run.

Chafin said it was hard to compare starting in a Minor League playoff game to starting a Major League game, but he added that getting his first big league start out of the way would help with any jitters he may have had.

"It's two different feelings," Chafin said. "Being up here, it's like, 'I've worked my whole life for this.' The other one, I guess is kind of the same feeling. It's just a blessing to be able to pitch at these levels."

Worth noting

• Gibson said before Tuesday's game that Chase Anderson's next start, scheduled for Friday against the Rockies, would be the rookie's last of the season. With an off-day scheduled for Sept. 25, Gibson said he would skip over Anderson in order to reduce the workload on his arm.

Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Miley cruises, backed by Trumbo's grand slam

Starter allows one run in seven innings to beat Giants in rematch

Miley cruises, backed by Trumbo's grand slam play video for Miley cruises, backed by Trumbo's grand slam

PHOENIX -- Whether it was lingering effects from a fractured left foot that caused him to miss more than two months in the middle of the season or just a prolonged slump that sapped his power, Mark Trumbo entered Monday's game against the Giants with only eight home runs -- 21 fewer than his career low for a season in which he played more than eight games.

He snapped out of it in a big way Monday, belting his second career grand slam in the third inning and providing the D-backs with all the runs they needed in an eventual 6-2 win over the Giants at Chase Field.

"Lately, I've been trying to hit the ball in the air more," Trumbo said. "There's not a ton of money for me on the ground, figuratively. I don't have the speed to beat those balls out.

"I'm a guy that needs to set my sights a little higher."

The D-backs traded for Trumbo this past offseason so they could add more power in the middle of their order alongside 2013 Most Valuable Player runner-up Paul Goldschmidt.

But with two weeks left in the season, Goldschmidt is on the disabled list with a fractured left hand and Trumbo was in the midst of the biggest power outage of his career.

Trumbo nearly didn't get a chance to break out of his slump Monday. A.J. Pollock checked his swing at a 3-2 offering from Ryan Vogelsong with two outs in the third, but it was ruled a ball. Pollock made his way to first, bringing up Trumbo.

"It's obvious that we would have loved to have that call," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Instead, Trumbo came to the plate and feasted on the hanging slider Vogelsong (8-11) fed him. The pitch was up and out over the plate, and Trumbo mashed it into the right-center-field stands.

"Just the way we like them," Trumbo said.

Trumbo's blast, his first since Aug. 9, sent the D-backs on their way for much of the game. Their 4-0 lead stayed the same until the seventh inning, as starter Wade Miley cruised through the Giants' lineup.

Miley had his shortest outing of the season against the Giants at AT&T Park last Tuesday, pitching only two innings before manager Kirk Gibson pulled him. He gave up three runs on five hits, and his command left him -- he walked four of the 15 batters he faced.

Monday's start could not have been more different.

The 27-year-old southpaw pitched seven innings, the first six of which were scoreless, before giving up his only run on a groundout by Brandon Crawford. The biggest difference from his disastrous start in San Francisco: no walks.

"He got frustrated, throwing hard, he was yanking balls. He was unable to make an adjustment," Gibson said of Miley's last start. "Today he got out there and got settled in real nice."

Said Miley: "I just tried to forget about that and just slow down a little bit. I got a little quick the other day."

The Giants did slowly begin to chip away at what was at that point a four-run deficit, scoring a run off Miley in the seventh inning.

But, after the D-backs added a fifth run on a Pollock triple, Trumbo struck again, putting the cherry on top with his fifth RBI of the night on a single up the middle.

"He's kind of hitting his stride a little bit, definitely," Gibson said. "He's swinging the bat much better, more comfortable."

Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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D-backs add Chafin, Ahmed, Wilson to roster

D-backs add Chafin, Ahmed, Wilson to roster play video for D-backs add Chafin, Ahmed, Wilson to roster

PHOENIX -- With Triple-A Reno's season having ended Sunday, the D-backs made a trio of roster moves, recalling infielder Nick Ahmed and left-hander Andrew Chafin from Reno and selecting the contract of catcher Bobby Wilson.

Chafin made his Major League debut earlier this year against the Indians in the second game of a doubleheader. The 24-year-old tossed five scoreless innings before being sent to Triple-A.

"I think we'd like to see Chafin throw another game just because we watched him in one game and he went back down to Triple-A and threw extremely well," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "He had a good mix of pitches, threw them to both sides of the plate."

As it stands, the D-backs have six men in their rotation with Wade Miley, Josh Collmenter, Randall Delgado, Chase Anderson, Vidal Nuno and Trevor Cahill.

With Anderson having far surpassed his innings total from a year ago, it stands to reason that Chafin could end up starting in place of Anderson next time through the rotation.

This is also Ahmed's second stint in the big leagues this year, while Wilson was last in the big leagues with the Angels in 2012.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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D-backs take game, series as offense keeps on rolling

Spruill throws three scoreless in mop-up duty and gets first hit

D-backs take game, series as offense keeps on rolling play video for D-backs take game, series as offense keeps on rolling

PHOENIX -- Some home cooking must have been all the D-backs needed to get their offense going.

After a dreadful 2-8 road trip in which they scored more than two runs only twice, the D-backs wrapped up a three-game series victory against the Padres with an 8-6 victory at Chase Field on Sunday. In the three contests against San Diego, Arizona averaged nearly eight runs per game.

"It's nice to score runs," Miguel Montero said. "It's always nice to come up and hit and find somebody on base. I guess it kind of gets you a little more motivated to go out and get a base hit."

Similar to their 10-4 win Saturday, the D-backs' runs came in bursts Sunday.

Trevor Cahill fell into a 2-0 hole after three innings, but Padres starter Odrisamer Despaigne gave those runs right back in the bottom of the third.

The D-backs got on the board with a Chris Owings RBI single and scored two more on a hit from Mark Trumbo, though one of those came on an assist from the Padres' defense.

Owings scored easily on the hit, and catcher Yasmani Grandal ran up toward the third-base side of the pitcher's mound to grab the ball to try to throw out Trumbo, who was trying to advance to second.

A.J. Pollock, who had reached on a walk and moved to third on the single, saw the throw and darted home. Neither Grandal nor Despaigne were covering the plate, allowing Pollock to score the go-ahead run.

"They had a high throw come in the infield, and everybody tried to advance on that," manager Kirk Gibson said. "A.J. did a good job at third recognizing that Grandal was in front of the plate and the pitcher was behind the plate."

The D-backs tacked on two more in the inning, taking a 5-2 lead against a Padres offense that has struggled all season.

"[Despaigne] had a rough inning," Padres manager Bud Black said. "They strung some hits together and he just couldn't get that third out. That inning got away from him."

But the Padres managed to keep the game close. They scored two more runs in the fourth, cutting short Cahill's day. He finished with only four innings pitched while allowing four runs on five hits.

"I think after that inning, they got five, I tried to go out there and maybe be too fine because I was really trying to go one-two-three and get back in there," Cahill said.

Fortunately for the D-backs, they were able to add three insurance runs in the eighth and their long-relief crew picked up the slack. Zeke Spruill pitched three scoreless innings while allowing only one hit. But after him, the bullpen ran into a spot of trouble.

Will Harris pitched out of a bases-loaded jam by notching two strikeouts, and Addison Reed gave up three runs in the ninth.

However, the bullpen did hang on to seal the victory and give Spruill his first Major League win.

"He kept himself out of trouble," Gibson said. "He was just the opposite of Trevor."

"I don't really know how to describe it. This is all I can do right now," Spruill added, pointing to his smile.

Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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La Russa set to trim list of GM candidates

D-backs' chief baseball officer may have finalists meet club brass soon

La Russa set to trim list of GM candidates play video for La Russa set to trim list of GM candidates

PHOENIX -- D-backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa is getting closer to cutting his list of general manager candidates down to a few finalists, according to baseball sources.

The first round of discussions involved 10 candidates, including Allard Baird, Larry Beinfest, Billy Eppler, Gary LaRocque, Thad Levine, Ray Montgomery, Hal Morris, Tim Purpura, Dave Stewart and De Jon Watson.

As La Russa stated when he began the search to replace Kevin Towers, some of the names on his list received interviews, while he planned on having conversations with others to see if there was mutual interest.

For instance, a baseball source said the D-backs requested and were granted permission to talk to Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler, and he and La Russa did speak. Eppler, however, declined to take part in a formal interview because of his commitment to the Yankees.

Eppler told La Russa that he interviewed for the Padres' GM vacancy earlier this season because he is from the San Diego area, but he otherwise did not plan on leaving the Yankees for another job.

La Russa could complete the first round of talks by the middle of the coming week, then bring in the finalists to meet with D-backs president/CEO Derrick Hall and managing general partner Ken Kendrick, as well as other front-office personnel.

Stewart and LaRocque have been perceived as front-runners, given La Russa's history with the pair, but La Russa is said to have been impressed with a number of the candidates after getting a chance to spend some time with them.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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After two years, Hudson returns to Chase Field mound

After two years, Hudson returns to Chase Field mound play video for After two years, Hudson returns to Chase Field mound

PHOENIX -- The last time Daniel Hudson stepped foot on the pitcher's mound at Chase Field during a regular-season D-backs game was a disaster.

Hudson, then 25, gave up seven runs on 10 hits against the Mariners. In his next outing, against the Braves in Atlanta, he left after 1 2/3 innings and five more runs.

He wouldn't pitch in a Major League game more than two years.

Two Tommy John surgeries knocked Hudson out of baseball for more than 26 months, but on Saturday night, he returned to Chase Field -- entering the game to a huge cheer -- and pitched an inning during the D-backs' 10-4 win against the Padres.

"It kind of gave me chills a little bit," Hudson said. "Just running in from the bullpen, and once they said my name, the crowd reacted the way they did -- it was really nice. I appreciated that a lot."

Hudson gave up a run in his one inning after surrendering a triple to Rene Rivera and a single to Alexi Amarista, but he flashed the ability that made him a 16-game winner in 2011. His fastball reached 96 mph and he struck out two batters in the inning with his changeup.

"It felt good," Hudson said. "The ball was coming out of my hand pretty well."

Hudson had pitched twice previously since being activated from the disabled list on Sept. 2. But with the season winding down and the D-backs already eliminated from a shot at a playoff berth, the team is taking it easy with Hudson. He won't pitch more than an inning at a time, and they will try to keep him out of pressure situations.

"Every time he throws, he's going to be more comfortable," manager Kirk Gibson said. "He's going to build off of that.

"He's healthy and that's all we care about."

Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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D-backs' offense breaks out to best Ross, Padres

Trumbo leads Arizona with three RBIs to even series against San Diego

D-backs' offense breaks out to best Ross, Padres play video for D-backs' offense breaks out to best Ross, Padres

PHOENIX -- Something rare appeared on the Chase Field scoreboard on Saturday night -- a '10' in the D-backs' run column.

For only the eighth time this season, the D-backs pushed across double-digit runs, evening their series with the Padres in the process with a 10-4 victory just two days removed from a road trip in which they averaged only 2.1 runs per game.

"Their approach has been really good the last couple nights," manager Kirk Gibson said. "I think we're coming out of it."

If the D-backs planned for an offensive barrage Saturday, then it wasn't obvious to those outside the team. They were pitted against Padres starter Tyson Ross, who entered the game with a 2.66 ERA for the season and only one average outing removed from a 14-game quality-start streak.

But before the second inning was over, the D-backs ensured Ross would not be starting a new streak, putting up six runs in the first two frames aided in part by Padres fielding mistakes.

Two runs scored in the first on a single by Mark Trumbo, who advanced to third on an errant pickoff attempt by catcher Rene Rivera and scored on a wild pitch.

An inning later, after Chris Owings drove in a run with his own RBI single, the D-backs added runs on a throwing error by shortstop Alexi Amarista and a poor decision by Ross, who couldn't get Owings out at home on a Trumbo ground ball.

By the end of the second inning, the D-backs had put up more runs than they had in all but one of their previous 11 games.

"He's got good stuff," Trumbo said of Ross. "Can't miss it when you get it. Fortunately, we did a good job."

Ross' stuff clearly wasn't working for him, and he exited after only three innings -- his shortest start this season.

"I didn't command anything early," Ross said. "They executed their game plan well. They executed their game plan better than I executed mine."

The Padres did start to chip away as the game went on, though.

D-backs starter Chase Anderson gave up two runs in the five innings he pitched, and relievers Daniel Hudson and Oliver Perez each gave up a run in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively.

But the floodgates opened for one final time for the D-backs in the bottom of the seventh.

Trumbo, who finished the game 3-for-5, led off with a single and advanced to third after a hit and a walk. With pinch-hitter Jordan Pacheco batting, reliever Leonel Campos threw a slider in the dirt that got away from Rivera, allowing Trumbo to score on a wild pitch for the second time in the game.

Pacheco then erased any chance of a late comeback with a single back up the middle, scoring two more runs and widening the D-backs' lead to six.

"He has the tools to be a good, productive guy off the bench," Gibson said of Pacheco. "They hung a slider to him; he did what he was supposed to do with it. … That was a big hit for us. The Pads started to come back, and those runs were big."

Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Triple call stands after Crew Chief review at Chase Field

Triple call stands after Crew Chief review at Chase Field play video for Triple call stands after Crew Chief review at Chase Field

PHOENIX -- Hitting home runs aren't exactly a rarity for Padres' catcher Rene Rivera, who has a career-high 10 of them this season.

But hitting triples, which, of course, means a whole lot more running around the bases -- no small feat for a catcher -- certainly rates as a little more unusual.

Rivera earned his second career triple in the sixth inning Saturday after he drove a ball high off the wall in deep center field.

But the umpires initiated a Crew Chief review for a potential home run after Padres manager Bud Black came out of the dugout to ask if Rivera's ball had hit above the yellow line on the center-field wall.

The replay official eventually ruled that the called stood.

Rivera eventually scored when Alexi Amarista singled to right field, cutting the D-backs' lead to 7-3.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Nuno denied his first National League win again

D-backs rally in fourth and ninth, but lose seventh straight

Nuno denied his first National League win again play video for Nuno denied his first National League win again

PHOENIX -- The D-backs returned to Chase Field on Friday hoping to put a disastrous 2-8 road trip behind them. The offense averaged only 2.1 runs per contest during the 10-game swing, so the D-backs were hoping playing at home for the first time in September would get the bats going.

Although the offense did have a relatively good day, the D-backs still dropped their seventh straight game, falling 6-5 to the Padres to start a three-game weekend series.

Was it nice to see the offense scoring more than two runs for the first time in a week? Yeah," manager Kirk Gibson said. "But it's nice to win games, too."

Not only did the offense seem to break out of its recent slump, it also gave starter Vidal Nuno more run support than he is used to receiving.

In Nuno's first 11 starts with the D-backs, the offense averaged only 2.5 runs per game and never scored more than five.

This relative outburst could have propelled Nuno (0-6 with the D-backs and 2-11 overall) to his first D-backs victory, but the 27-year-old had an outing uncharacteristic of his time in the National League.

Nuno entered the game with a 3.16 ERA in his 11 starts with the D-backs, but he surrendered six runs on eight hits in only five innings.

"It's just annoying," Nuno said. "I got some run support today, but I blew it."

Four of the D-backs' five runs came in the fifth inning - when they were already down 6-1 to pitcher Eric Stults (7-16).

The D-backs got on the board first thanks to an RBI single by A.J. Pollock, but the center fielder's big knock came in the four-run fifth inning.

After a Jake Lamb triple and a Nolan Reimold single cut the deficit to four, the D-backs put two runners on for Pollock, who connected for his first home run since May 26.

"I just wanted to be a little aggressive on that first pitch," Pollock said. "He was trying to sneak the first one over and then he was going to his other stuff to try to get you off the zone. I just wanted to put a good swing on it and get a runner in."

His three-run shot seemed to give the D-backs momentum, but it was not to be.

The D-backs had a shot at a walk-off win against Padres closer Kevin Quackenbush, but they faltered in the ninth, partially thanks to a stellar defensive play by Padres shortstop Alexi Amarista.

Cody Ross singled to put a runner on with one out, and Lamb followed him by scorching a grounder to shortstop. Amarista dove to his right, rolled and fired the ball to second for one out, but Jedd Gyorko couldn't complete the double play.

"That was a tough play, and Alexi made an acrobatic turn, a great acrobatic turn," Padres manager Bud Black said.

The play sealed the victory for the Padres, though it was not immediately apparent. The D-backs still put runners on the corners after a Cliff Pennington single, but Aaron Hill flew out to end the inning and the game.

"It would have been a completely different ballgame if we got that runner on," Pollock said about Amarista's play.

"We just got too far behind tonight to catch up," Gibson said.

Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Jackson, Paterson get ticket to show

Jackson, Paterson get ticket to show play video for Jackson, Paterson get ticket to show

PHOENIX -- The D-backs continued adding to their expanded roster on Friday, recalling outfielder Brett Jackson and left-handed pitcher Joe Paterson from Triple-A Reno.

The callups put the D-backs' current roster at 32 out of a maximum of 40.

The D-backs acquired Jackson, the Cubs' first-round pick in 2009, off waivers on Aug. 14 and traded pitcher Blake Cooper for him. Since then, the 26-year-old has played in 11 games with Reno, hitting .188 (3-for-16) with a home run.

Jackson, who was ranked as the No. 33 prospect in baseball before the 2012 season, struggled with injuries while with the Cubs. His sole Major League stint came in late 2012, and he hit .175 (21-for-120) with a .644 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

Jackson said he has been trying to get back to the athleticism that made him a top prospect in the Cubs' system.

"I've never been more motivated going into the end of the season," Jackson said.

Manager Kirk Gibson said it's possible Jackson could start some games down the stretch.

"I know he has a lot of ability," Gibson said. "He hasn't been able to put his tools to good use so far, but we've acquired him and hopefully we can help him get on track."

Paterson, however, has pitched for the D-backs the last three seasons, including 62 games out of the bullpen in 2011. He had a 2.91 ERA that season.

Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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D-backs lose challenge on bang-bang play at first

D-backs lose challenge on bang-bang play at first play video for D-backs lose challenge on bang-bang play at first

PHOENIX -- D-backs manager Kirk Gibson lost a challenge on a call at first base in the fourth inning of Friday's game against the Padres.

First baseman Mark Trumbo hit a ground ball to Padres third baseman Yangervis Solarte, who made a sidearm throw from the infield grass to first. Trumbo was initially ruled out.

After a review, it was determined the call would stand.

Gibson is 18-for-33 when challenging calls this season.

Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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D-backs' offense continues to falter as road trip ends

Delgado allows three runs in four innings to red-hot San Francisco

D-backs' offense continues to falter as road trip ends play video for D-backs' offense continues to falter as road trip ends

SAN FRANCISCO -- The D-backs' long road trip came to an end Thursday afternoon with another loss, this one by a 6-2 margin to the Giants at AT&T Park.

After 11 days and 10 games, the D-backs are headed back to Phoenix having misplaced their offense while going 2-8 on the trip.

Arizona managed just 21 runs on the trip and 11 of those came in their two wins against the Padres.

"It's definitely frustrating," D-backs outfielder A.J. Pollock said. "You want to play good ball and that wasn't good baseball. If we're not going to hit we're going to have to play better in other areas over a game and we're not doing that."

After being shut out Wednesday night, the D-backs did, at least, manage to score Thursday against Jake Peavy and a host of relievers.

Much like the night before, they did have their opportunities, but were not able to cash them in.

The D-backs stranded a leadoff double in the second and they also left runners on second and third in the sixth.

"I think we need to be more consistent with it," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said of his team hitting with runners in scoring position. "Got to get more consistent, got to stay with it. Your opponent is trying to get you to do certain things and you can't give into it. You've got to be willing to go to two strikes. If that's what it takes then you have to do it, then you have to be more in 'protect mode,' but before that you don't want to swing at their pitch."

Meanwhile starter Randall Delgado (3-4) was not as sharp as his last start, but in fairness the Giants were fortunate with a few of their hits.

The right-hander allowed three runs on seven hits over four innings as the Giants steadily built a 3-0 lead.

"The first inning he could have easily been out of with no runs and probably facing a couple less hitters," D-backs catcher Tuffy Gosewisch. "He didn't have his best stuff today but I think he battled really well. Some things didn't go his way but he still went out there and executed pitches for the most part. I thought we were behind some hitters that we didn't necessarily want to be behind and that forced us to throw some pitches that ended up getting hit. It's a good team over there. They're rolling right now."

The D-backs finally got on the board in the sixth thanks to a triple by Cliff Pennington and an RBI double from Mark Trumbo.

The Giants, though, responded with three runs in the bottom half of the inning off rookie reliever Matt Stites to balloon their lead to 6-1.

"Stites is not throwing with a lot of confidence right now," Gibson said.

The unfortunate part about the trip for the D-backs is that their starting pitchers pitched well enough for them to have won more games.

"You've got to find a way to win when your pitchers are keeping you in a game like that," Pollock said. "Offense and the defense have to step up. You've got to play good defense and you've got to scratch some runs and we did a bad job of both. So it's frustrating. We've just got to concentrate on finishing strong and playing better baseball because that wasn't very good."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Giants, D-backs commemorate 9/11 heroes in pregame ceremony

Moment of silence observed as first responders are honored

Giants, D-backs commemorate 9/11 heroes in pregame ceremony play video for Giants, D-backs commemorate 9/11 heroes in pregame ceremony

SAN FRANCISCO -- In remembrance of the lives lost in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States, the Giants held a special pregame ceremony at AT&T Park before their Thursday afternoon game against the D-backs.

Prior to the first pitch, both teams lined up on the baselines for a moment of silence and the national anthem.

San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White and S.F. Police Chief Greg Suhr threw ceremonial first pitches to Giants pitcher George Kontos and D-backs outfielder Cody Ross, respectively.

Ryan Hood is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanhood19. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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D-backs add Levine to list of GM hopefuls

Well-respected assistant GM in ninth season with Rangers

D-backs add Levine to list of GM hopefuls play video for D-backs add Levine to list of GM hopefuls

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine became the 10th candidate for the D-backs' general manager job Wednesday.

Levine, who is well-respected within the baseball community, is in his ninth season with the Rangers assisting GM Jon Daniels in all areas of Major League operations. Prior to that, he spent six years with the Rockies.

This past April, former GM Jim Bowden, who now writes for ESPN.com, surveyed current general managers about who they thought were the best future GMs, and Levine was at the top of the list.

"Levine has been the assistant GM of the Rangers for the past eight seasons and has assisted [GM] Jon Daniels in player acquisitions, roster composition, contract negotiations and statistical and financial analysis," Bowden wrote. "He has high character and has the endorsement of most GMs in baseball as next in line in the industry. Daniels is still in his 30s, so it's likely that he will have to go elsewhere to get a GM job."

Levine joins Allard Baird, Larry Beinfest, Billy Eppler, Gary LaRocque, Ray Montgomery, Hal Morris, Tim Purpura, Dave Stewart and De Jon Watson as the confirmed candidates.

D-backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa has said he would like to have a GM in place by the end of the regular season.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Collmenter strong, but D-backs shut out

Starter hurls six scoreless innings; bullpen allows four-run frame

Collmenter strong, but D-backs shut out play video for Collmenter strong, but D-backs shut out

SAN FRANCISCO -- For six innings, the D-backs battled the Giants to a draw, but the seventh, and in turn the game, belonged to the Giants.

The Giants scored four runs in the seventh to beat the D-backs, 5-0, on a chilly Wednesday night at AT&T Park.

"They're playing well," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said of the Giants. "They got some breaks. They play hard. They keep pressing the issue, and we didn't respond."

The loss was the fifth in a row for the D-backs, who have dropped seven of nine games on their current road trip, which wraps up Thursday afternoon.

Offense was scarce early in the game as Josh Collmenter and Ryan Vogelsong locked up in a pitchers' duel.

The D-backs didn't take advantage of some early wildness by Vogelsong.

After issuing a walk to lead off the game, Vogelsong once again struggled with his command in the second inning as the D-backs managed to put runners on first and second with one out.

Vogelsong got Alfredo Marte to fly to right for the second out but then walked Didi Gregorius to load the bases, prompting manager Bruce Bochy to send Tim Lincecum down to the bullpen to warm up.

Vogelson rebounded to strike out Collmenter and went on cruise control, allowing just one more hit before being removed in the seventh.

"We had some chances early," Gibson said. "We have not swung the bats well at all."

Take nothing away from Vogelsong, but shutting down the Arizona offense has not been a rare feat of late.

In the first nine games of this road trip, the D-backs have hit .195 with one home run. They've scored 19 runs, and 11 of those came in their two wins of the trip, meaning that they've had a total of eight in the seven losses.

"We've had a few opportunities to score runs and we've had trouble in those situations," D-backs outfielder Ender Inciarte said. "We have to make an adjustment, all of us, and try to figure out what's going on, so we can change that and hopefully get at least a couple more runs, because the pitchers have been doing good lately."

The Giants took control of the game in the bottom half of the seventh against the Arizona bullpen. Gregor Blanco drove home the game's first run with a double down the right-field line, and pinch-hitter Matt Duffy doubled home one as well.

Collmenter allowed just three hits and a pair of walks in six shutout innings, while Vogelsong gave up two hits in 6 2/3.

"Give credit to Collmenter," Blanco said. "He was good today [with] that changeup and he was locating the fastball."

Following the game, the D-backs' pitchers had a meeting with Gibson and pitching coach Mike Harkey in the batting tunnel located behind the visitor's dugout.

"Just to make sure that we take everything that we can this last month and use it as momentum to go into the offseason going into next Spring Training and stuff," Collmenter said in explaining what the meeting was about. "Obviously this season didn't accomplish a lot of the goals we set out before the year, but we can still take a lot from this, especially the young guys."

The D-backs hope to finish strong over the final stretch.

"Don't get too frustrated," Gibson said of the message to the pitchers. "I know it's hard. It was good just kind of reaffirming what we have to do in the last [17] games."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Ziegler's operation more complicated than expected

Anticipated arthroscopic procedure becomes microfracture surgery

Ziegler's operation more complicated than expected play video for Ziegler's operation more complicated than expected

SAN FRANCISCO -- D-backs reliever Brad Ziegler underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee Tuesday, a more serious procedure than initially anticipated.

The procedure is known as microfracture surgery because tiny fractures are made in the underlying bone of the knee to help new cartilage to develop.

The initial hope was that the fraying of the cartilage could be taken care of through arthroscopic surgery, but once surgeons started, they realized more needed to be done.

While the recovery will be longer than expected, both manager Kirk Gibson and acting general manager Kevin Towers said they expect Ziegler will be ready when Spring Training starts next year.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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D-backs earn caught-stealing after challenge

Pagan originally called safe at second; review overturns ruling

D-backs earn caught-stealing after challenge play video for D-backs earn caught-stealing after challenge

SAN FRANCISCO -- The D-backs won a manager's challenge Wednesday night to help thwart a possible Giants rally.

With one out in the third, Angel Pagan attempted to steal second and was called safe by second-base umpire David Rackley after a tag by shortstop Didi Gregorius.

D-backs manager Kirk Gibson initially had a conversation with home-plate umpire Brian Gorman before heading out to second base to tell Rackley he intended to challenge the play.

After a very short review, the call was overturned, wiping Pagan off the bases.

Joe Panik followed the decision by drawing a walk before Buster Posey flied out to left to end the inning.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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Miley's control problems lead to loss to Giants

Starter walks four, including two with bases loaded, over two innings

Miley's control problems lead to loss to Giants play video for Miley's control problems lead to loss to Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Wade Miley struggled with his command and it cost him as well as his team, as the Giants beat the D-backs, 5-1, on Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series at AT&T Park.

Right from the get-go, it was clear things were going to be a struggle for Miley. His lack of command caused his pitch count to soar early, and he was able to last just two innings.

"I didn't think he was throwing very good," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "And I think he had a lot of pitches, so I made the decision to move on and get somebody else in there that could maybe shut them down."

Of the 58 pitches Miley threw, just 31 were strikes. Yet he was able to limit the damage to three runs on five hits despite four walks and one strikeout.

"I actually felt really, really good," Miley said. "That's the most frustrating part. I felt so good. I felt really good in the bullpen. I thought I had life there. I really couldn't execute a fastball. I couldn't throw it anywhere close to where I wanted to throw it."

The trouble started early for Miley as he allowed back-to-back singles to open the first, and after he issued a two-out walk to load the bases, he walked Andrew Susac to force home a run.

In fairness, Miley could have been out of the second inning without a run scoring when with one out and the bases loaded Buster Posey hit a grounder to second. Chris Owings fielded the ball and made a good toss to shortstop Didi Gregorius. However, Gregorius' relay throw was poor and it skipped past Mark Trumbo.

Later in the frame, Miley walked Pablo Sandoval to force in another run and the Giants led 3-0.

After Miley came off the field at the end of the second, Gibson let him know that he was done for the night and Alfredo Marte was going to hit for him.

FOX Sports Arizona television cameras caught Miley yelling in Gibson's direction to make his case for staying in the game.

"I was trying to go back out and do what I could," Miley said. "I was just trying to do what I could. I was like, 'Let me try to fix it.' He has a decision to make. You have to respect his decision. He wants what's best for the club and the best for me. Six days later, I've got to try to pitch again, make some adjustments."

Gibson was having none of it.

"I called him over; we talked to him," Gibson said. "He doesn't have to like it. I do what I think is right for the team, right for the pitcher."

On the other side of the ledger, Yusmeiro Petit (5-3) once again turned in a dominant performance against his former team.

The last time Petit started against Arizona was last September, and he came within one out of a perfect game before pinch-hitter Eric Chavez broke it up.

This time around, Petit was perfect through three innings before Ender Inciarte led off the fourth with a homer into McCovey Cove.

Where Miley's pitch count skyrocketed early, Petit was able to make it through seven innings in roughly the same number of pitches it took Miley to finish two.

Petit wound up allowing just four hits and took just 84 pitches in tossing his first complete game of the year.

"He was very good," Gibson said. "If you just look at it, all his strikes were on the corners and down in zone, and that's why he's successful."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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D-backs bolster bullpen, call up Spruill

D-backs bolster bullpen, call up Spruill play video for D-backs bolster bullpen, call up Spruill

SAN FRANCISCO -- The D-backs added some depth to their bullpen Tuesday by recalling right-handed pitcher Zeke Spruill from Triple-A Reno.

Reno is chasing a Pacific Coast League and Triple-A championship so Spruill was a bit torn about leaving, but was certainly glad to be back in the big leagues.

With Reno this year, Spruill was 3-7 with one save and a 6.04 ERA in 28 games (11 starts).

This is Spruill's third stint with the D-backs this year. He started the second game of a doubleheader May 25 and allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings.

Then he made a relief appearance June 25 against the Indians and allowed two runs over four innings.

It didn't take long for Spruill to see action as he was summoned to replace an ineffective Wade Miley on Tuesday and he held the Giants to two runs (one earned) over four innings.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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D-backs to open 2015 at home

Arizona to host Giants starting April 6, then LA

D-backs to open 2015 at home

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A year after starting the season against the Dodgers in Australia, the D-backs will begin their 2015 campaign at home against the Giants on April 6 at 6:40 p.m., playing a three-game series against them before facing the Dodgers to wrap up a six-game homestand.

Major League Baseball announced the 2015 schedule on Monday, and the D-backs will also be at home for several holidays, including Mother's Day (May 10), Father's Day (June 21), the Fourth of July and Labor Day (Sept. 7).

If the D-backs improve and compete for a National League West division title, September and October will prove crucial, as the D-backs play 24 of their final 30 games against NL West teams.

As part of Interleague Play, the D-backs will host the Rangers (April 21-22), Angels (June 17-18), A's (Aug. 28-30) and Astros (Oct. 2-4). In addition, they will play two games in Anaheim (June 15-16), two at Texas (July 7-8), a three-game series in Seattle (July 27-29) and three in Houston (July 31-Aug. 2).

Adam Lichtenstein is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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La Russa compiles initial list of GM candidates

D-backs seem committed to strengthening advanced metrics department

La Russa compiles initial list of GM candidates play video for La Russa compiles initial list of GM candidates

PHOENIX -- While the D-backs continue their road trip Tuesday in San Francisco, chief baseball officer Tony La Russa will be focused on finding a new general manager.

La Russa's work began in earnest Saturday, one day after the team announced that Kevin Towers was offered a position in the baseball operations department but would not be its GM next season.

Though he has earned a reputation for not having embraced advanced metrics, La Russa has said that he does, in fact, believe in using them, but that their role should not seep into a manager's in-game decisions.

Having put together a Hall of Fame career as a manager, La Russa understands the value of empowering a manager to trust what his eyes and gut tell him during a game. He also believes that if a front office dictates in-game moves, a manager will lose the respect of the clubhouse. And in this day and age, a manager having the respect of his players is more important than ever, La Russa believes.

Regardless of who ends up with the GM job, the D-backs seem committed to strengthening their advanced metrics department.

La Russa has compiled an initial list of candidates, all of whom he will talk to, and when he has narrowed that down to two or three people, he will have team president and CEO Derrick Hall and possibly others in the club's hierarchy sit down with that group for a second round of interviews.

Here is a look at the nine confirmed candidates that were on La Russa's initial list. As with any search, names could be added as the process goes along.

Allard Baird
Baird was the Royals' general manager from 2000-06, and after his dismissal there, he joined the Red Sox's front office as an assistant general manager. His current title is vice president of player personnel, and he is a respected talent evaluator.

Larry Beinfest
Beinfest was the Marlins' GM from 2002-13, finishing his tenure with the club as president of baseball operations. The Marlins won the 2003 World Series under his direction, and he was interviewed by the Padres before they hired A.J. Preller last month. The D-backs are believed to have spoken with Beinfest in May before deciding to hire La Russa.

Billy Eppler
Eppler is the assistant GM of the Yankees, and he has a background in scouting and is said to also embrace analytics. The 38-year-old was the runner-up in San Diego's search for a GM last month and also finished second to Jerry Dipoto for the Angels' GM job in the fall of 2011.

Gary LaRocque
LaRocque, who is the Cardinals' director of player development, interviewed with La Russa on Saturday. The pair worked together in St. Louis, with LaRocque joining the organization in 2008 after spending 10 years in the front office for the Mets.

Ray Montgomery
Montgomery was named the D-backs' scouting director in October 2010. A former big league player, Montgomery first worked in the Brewers' organization before coming to Arizona. La Russa was extremely impressed by what he saw when he watched the way Montgomery conducted the D-backs' First-Year Player Draft this year.

Hal Morris
Morris is the Angels' director of pro scouting, and he came highly recommended to La Russa. A longtime big leaguer, Morris earned his MBA from Stanford upon his retirement and then got back into baseball as a scout. He is scouting in Japan right now, but La Russa plans to speak with him when he returns.

Tim Purpura
Purpura was the Astros' general manager from 2005-07, and he has an extensive administrative background in the game. The Astros went to the World Series in 2005 before losing to the White Sox.

Dave Stewart
Stewart has the most varied background of any of the candidates and the closest relationship with La Russa. The right-hander won many a big game for La Russa in Oakland, and he has also been an assistant GM and pitching coach. Stewart is currently a player agent representing, among others, the Dodgers' Matt Kemp.

DeJon Watson
Watson is the assistant GM in charge of player development for the Dodgers. He has been with them for seven years, five in his current role. Watson has interviewed for GM jobs in the past, most notably with the D-backs when they decided to hire Towers.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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