Arizona's grip on the National League West lead continues to loosen. San Francisco's win Saturday night pulled the Giants to within 4 1/2 games of the D-backs. The Dodgers inched to within a half-game.
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said he is approaching the start of the second half with a plan to involve his reserves as much as possible. On Saturday, he sat shortstop Didi Gregorius in favor of Cliff Pennington.
Gregorius, in his first full big league season, is batting just .188 (6-for-32) in July with one extra-base hit.
"I think the way he approaches some of the pitches, he just needs to change his at-bats a bit," Gibson said. "It affects pitches you should get to over the plate. It's just a natural progression."
Arizona has totaled just four runs over its last three contests, all losses. The task doesn't get any easier Sunday, when the D-backs will try to avoid a sweep against Giants southpaw Madison Bumgarner.
The 23-year-old has compiled a 10-5 record and 3.02 ERA this season and has submitted six consecutive quality starts, having tossed seven innings each time out. In those 42 innings, he has allowed only 21 hits. He has dazzled in his three encounters with the D-backs this season, to the tune of a 1-0 mark and 1.86 ERA.
In his most recent endeavor, Bumgarner limited the Padres to two runs on four hits over seven frames.
"They still hit some balls hard," Bumgarner said. "They just happened to be at one of our defenders, so it worked out in my favor."
D-backs: Delgado to take the hill
Since joining the D-backs' rotation in mid-June, Randall Delgado has recorded five quality starts in six outings and hasn't surrendered more than three earned runs in any game. Overall, he has logged a 3.65 ERA in that span, despite a 1-3 record to show for it. The 23-year-old right-hander will toe the rubber Sunday.
Delgado has only faced the Giants once in his career. In his second Major League start on Aug. 16, 2011, while pitching for the Braves, he held San Francisco to one run on one hit and one walk over six frames. He did not factor into the decision.
Giants: Vogelsong takes next step
Ryan Vogelsong could pitch for the Giants by the second week of August, should his recovery continue without any additional impediments. The right-hander, who suffered a fractured right pinkie May 20, threw 35 pitches of live batting practice Saturday and could appear in an Arizona League game Tuesday.
"I came out of it healthy and I was able to work on my pitches," Vogelsong said.
In nine starts this season, Vogelsong has compiled a 2-4 record and 7.19 ERA.
• How streaky are the D-backs? Just since mid-June, Arizona has had three winning streaks of three or more games and five losing streaks of three or more games.
• Arizona hitters are 10-for-58 with runners in scoring position over their last nine games.