"In the Draft, in that regard, it is an exciting day for the organization. Tonight was not as exciting," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said. "It was disappointing the way it was a tale of a couple of different games. Early on, we went after it and had some big hits and then we didn't capitalize on tack on runs."
Scoreless after one inning, the D-backs answered a home run by Giants third baseman Juan Uribe in the top of the frame by scoring twice in the bottom of the second inning to pull ahead, 2-1. In the inning, D-backs third baseman Mark Reynolds led off with a home run to cut the Giants' lead in half. One out later, center fielder Chris Young hit a single to left field, advanced to third base on a single by first baseman Josh Whitesell and scored on a sacrifice bunt by D-backs starter Billy Bucker.
The momentum seemed to be on the home team's side in the bottom of the third when shortstop Stephen Drew followed a walk to right fielder Justin Upton by lacing a two-run home run to give the D-backs a 4-2 advantage.
But the lead would not last. Sandoval made sure of it.
In the eventful fifth inning, Giants center fielder Aaron Rowand and shortstop Edgar Renteria hit consecutive one-out singles and scooted into scoring position when Upton wasn't able to field Renteria's ball cleanly. The next hitter, Randy Winn, followed with an RBI single to cut the D-backs' lead to 4-3. Sandoval followed and launched a full-count pitch 433 feet to right field to push the Giants ahead, 5-4.
Bucker described the delivery as "a poorly thrown pitch" and said he could have retired Sandoval if he had thrown to a better location.
Hinch gave Sandoval more credit.
"He's a tough guy to pitch to and he had a good night," Hinch said. "Everything that Buck was throwing up there, he was fouling off or finding a way to spoil, and he got a pitch and didn't miss it."
The D-backs manager described Sandoval's home run as the play of the game for Buckner.
"[Buckner] managed to minimize damage early; he was hanging in there, but I think the Sandoval home run was a crushing blow for him," Hinch said. "Coming out for the sixth, he could not get away with anything."
Hinch is right. The sixth inning didn't fare better for the D-backs as the Giants tacked on three more runs to pull ahead 8-4.
"Three-run innings are hard to swallow and they had three-run innings back-to-back," Hinch said. "It's a punch in the gut and that determined the game."
In the end, Buckner (2-2) was charged with eight runs and 13 hits in the loss. He also struck out five batters.
"They became really aggressive and I wasn't able to execute the pitches," Buckner said. "I wasn't able to stop it when it got going."
By contrast, Giants starter Matt Cain was charged with four runs on six hits in 6 1/3 innings for the victory, his eighth of the season.
"We had a good game plan against him and he's a great pitcher and he's obviously having a good year," Hinch said. "He did what a lot of good pitchers do when their backs are against the wall. He made quality pitches and he got out of jams. He hung around enough until his offense took over."
The three-game series concludes Thursday.
"The bottom line is they came out and got 17 hits, hit the ball around the field and stuck it to us," Hinch said. "We counterpunched a couple of times and kind of played out the rest of the game. We'll come back tomorrow."