Giants make a move in the tight NL West

AT&T PARK — One thing is certain about the National League West: it’s the Wild West, and all of the teams — even the Padres — still have a chance to win the division.

Buster Posey hit a two-run homer and Pablo Sandoval added an RBI double as the Giants held off the Diamondbacks 4-3.

The Giants are doing their best to chip away at their self-inflicted deficit — 6-1/2 games at the break, now 4-1/2  — even though it took practically their entire bullpen to lock down Saturday night’s win.

Arizona’s offense has really struggled in this series. The Diamondbacks’ first run scored as a result of a throwing error by shortstop Tony Abreu into the Arizona dugout on a grounder off the bat of Eric Chavez. The other runs were RBI singles by Miguel Montero and Martin Prado.

Matt Cain (6-6, 5.00 ERA) got the win, rebounding from the worst outing of his career when he lasted only 2/3 of an inning. He pitched five innings, giving up four hits and two runs, four walks and four strikeouts throwing 102 pitches. Cain said once again the bullpen picked up the slack and kept the Diamondbacks contained:

Giants pitcher Matt Cain

Video: CSN Bay Area

“They’ve always been a key for us and for them to come in today and shut those guys down for four innings is not easy and they did a really good job to do that to keep the game in our favor.”

Closer Sergio Romo, the seventh and final reliever utilized allowed a run in the ninth, ending a stretch of 29 scoreless outings against Arizona. But he got the save for the second game in a row and says they’re lucky to win this one:

“They had a couple of chances where they could have tied or taken the lead and us we could have added a little in a couple of situations but that’s baseball. You don’t really know what you’re going to get next and I’m really glad we came out on top.”

Posey’s homer to center in the fifth on a typical cool and windy night not only accounted for the run differential, he further accentuates his importance on a team struggling to score runs. Bruce Bochy knows how special a  player the reigning NL MVP is to the ballclub:

Giants manager Bruce Bochy

Video: CSN Bay Area

“He’s quite a talent and we’re fortunate to have him. Those guys you have hitting in the heart of the order, every team will say the same thing, that’s what you’re hoping for and that’s what he does for us.”

Arizona had nine hits yet were 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left 13 men on base. Their best chance to tie or take the lead was in the top of the eighth.

Cody Ross hit a leadoff single before pinch-hitter Wil Nieves reached on a fielding error by Brandon Crawford. With runners on the corners and two outs, Geraldo Parra grounded to second, leaving the tying runs on base.

From the fifth through the eighth inning, the Diamondbacks left ten men stranded and had the bases loaded in the fifth and sixth innings.

The Giants aren’t exactly setting the world on fire, but wins are wins and they’ve won five of their last six after taking three of four games in San Diego before the All-Star break.

All-Star Madison Bumgarner (10-5, 3.05) goes for the series sweep on Sunday opposed by Arizona’s Randall Delgado (1-3, 3.92) First pitch at 1:05 p.m.

Notes

Brandon Crawford did not start Saturday’s game because of a bruised left foot. He was involved in a collision with Arizona relief pitcher Heath Bell on a play at first base in Friday’s game. Crawford entered the game as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning. … LHP Jeremy Affeldt strained his left groin. … This marked Cain’s first win since June 13.