On Friday night, the Diamondbacks strung hits together, collected hits in key situations and had effective pitching.
When that happens, they can afford a little levity on a long, ninth-inning home run by an opponent.
San Francisco’s Andres Galarraga hit a 456-foot bomb off Matt Mantei, but the Arizona closer still recorded his 21st save in a 5-4 D-Backs victory at Bank One Ballpark.
“I gave up a wind-aided homer,” Mantei joked afterward.
The D-Backs stayed a game behind Philadelphia and Florida in a crowded National League wild card race. Arizona is tied with Houston, St. Louis and Montreal for third place.
“It’s a huge win,” Mantei said. “Any win for us at this point is huge.”
It was the first time that Arizona had come from more than a run behind to win since July 13, when they defeated the Giants after trailing by four runs. It was their first come-from-behind win, period, since a 3-1 triumph at Cincinnati on Aug. 13.
Giants southpaw Kirk Rueter is one of the D-Backs’ least favorite opposing pitchers. He entered Friday’s game with a 1.75 ERA in his previous seven outings against Arizona. However, he also came in winless since June 3.
Rueter would not find relief on Friday, as the D-Backs touched him for five runs on seven hits in just four innings. All of the runs came with two out.
“I couldn’t get a release point where I could get some good movement on the ball,” Rueter said. “I left balls up. They did a good job with two out.”
Arizona’s game plan against Rueter, who loves to work the outside corner of the plate, was to go up the middle and the other way.
“We had a good approach at the plate,” manager Bob Brenly said. “We had some good, patient at-bats. Some of the outs we had, I felt, were hit hard.”
In the third inning, Arizona put runners on second and third with no outs, but the next two hitters popped up. The D-Backs saved face, however, when Shea Hillenbrand singled to right for two runs, tying the game at 3-3.
The next batter, Junior Spivey, broke a 1-for-19 drought with runners in scoring position (RISP) by giving Arizona the lead with an RBI single.
Spivey was 3-for-33 with RISP and two out before Friday, but during the first five innings against San Francisco, he was 2-for-2 in that situation. His fifth-inning single brought in Alex Cintron with Arizona’s fifth run.
“I tried to do a little too much with Rueter in the past, and he pretty much abused me,” Spivey said. “I had a better game plan this time.”
After a string of six starts without a win, Miguel Batista won for the second outing in a row. The right-hander gave up six runs and three hits over six innings, but was then removed after only 88 pitches.
“He had complained that his back was a little tight, but we sent him out for another inning,” Brenly said. “His turn at bat was up (in the bottom of the sixth), so we figured that was enough.”
It was Batista’s first victory over San Francisco since winning consecutive games in relief on May 28-29, 2001.
“I was almost glad to see him leave,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said.
Mantei’s scoreless streak of 21 innings ended when Galarraga’s homer landed in Friday’s Front Row Sports Grill.
“It was a slider, a bad pitch,” Mantei said. “If you give up a home run, I guess, that’s the way to give it up.”
Willie Banks holds the franchise record for relievers, pitching 21 2/3 innings without a run in 1998.