Matos hits first career HR to lift Giants past Diamondbacks 7-6 for 12th win in 13 games

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San Francisco Giants' Luis Matos gestures after hitting a two-run home run during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in San Francisco, Saturday, June 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Jed Jacobsohn)

SAN FRANCISCO – Luis Matos took a few slow steps toward first base, followed by a pair of quick hops. The Giants' rookie wasn’t admiring his first career home run down the left field line so much as he was trying to will it to stay fair.

″I knew it had the distance to go out,” Matos said through an interpreter. ”I just wanted to make sure that it stayed fair.”

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Matos’ go-ahead, two-run drive in the sixth inning provided the Giants with their biggest moment as they beat the division-leading Arizona Diamondbacks 7-6 on Saturday for their 12th win in 13 games.

Joc Pederson and Blake Sabol added two hits each as San Francisco won its second straight against Arizona to pull 1 1/2 games back in the NL West.

Like several others who have played well for the Giants after coming up from the minors. Matos was the team’s No. 4 prospect when he was called up June 14. He has scored at least once in seven of the 10 games he’s played in since then batting primarily in the middle of the order. On Saturday, Matos hit ninth.

“Really good contact hitter. It’s one of the things we’re noticing,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “He’s got really good bat-to-ball skills, a really good understanding where the sweet spot is on the bat. Nice to have a hitter down at the bottom of the lineup that can do that kind of damage.”

Christian Walker extended his hitting streak to nine games with a three hits and three RBIs for the Diamondbacks. Ketel Marte added his 13th home run and two RBIs. Arizona is the only team in the majors to avoid getting shut out this season.

Taylor Rogers (4-2), the fifth of seven Giants pitchers, retired three batters in the sixth to pick up the win. Camilo Doval allowed an RBI single to Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in the ninth but struck out Pavin Smith swinging with runners at second and third for his 22nd save.

The Giants trailed 3-1 and 5-3 before tying the game with two runs in the fifth and then taking the lead for good on Matos’ milestone moment.

After Brandon Crawford’s leadoff single, Matos crushed a 2-0 fastball from Arizona starter Merrill Kelly (9-4) over the fence in left field. San Francisco’s 21-year-old outfielder, making his second consecutive start in center after Mike Yastrzemski went on the Injured List, had one hit in his previous 10 at-bats and had been picked off first base.

“(Kelly) started me with two balls and no strikes so at the moment, I knew he had to attack the zone,” Matos said. “I knew he was going to come in and give me a good pitch to hit, and that’s what I got.”

Kelly, who came in tied for the NL lead in wins, suffered his first loss in eight road starts this season. He allowed 10 hits and seven runs (five earned) in five innings.

Arizona got off to an early start with Marte’s 13th home run off opener Ryan Walker in the first but San Francisco scored a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the inning to go up 2-1.

Diamondbacks center fielder Corbin Carroll dropped Thairo Estrada’s fly ball for an error, one batter after LaMonte Wade Jr. lined a leadoff double to right-center. It was Carroll’s first error this season and second in 31 career games in center.

Immediately after the gaffe, Pederson’s groundout drove in Wade. Michael Conforto’s double scored Estrada.

The Diamondbacks regained the lead with four runs in the fourth off reliever Keaton Winn. Jake McCarthy reached on an infield single then stole second. Geraldo Perdomo followed with a liner that Giants second baseman Estrada made a diving stop of but lost control. Marte then blooped an RBI single over Estrada into right.

The game was then halted for several moments during a video review after Marte took second on Carroll’s fielder’s choice grounder against reliever Sean Manaea. Crawford fielded the ball behind the base and appeared to beat Marte to the bag but the runner was ruled safe. San Francisco challenged but the call was upheld.

Walker, working as San Francisco’s opener for the third time in six games, allowed two hits including Marte’s home run, in one inning.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Diamondbacks: Carroll was playing in center field for the first time in a week because manager Torey Lovullo gave Alek Thomas the day off.

Giants: Reliever Luke Jackson left for unknown reasons after facing one batter in the sixth. ... Optioned SS Dalton Guthrie to Triple-A Sacramento after acquiring the infielder from the Phillies earlier in the week.

UP NEXT

Diamondbacks RHP Ryne Nelson (3-4, 5.31) faces the Giants for the second time in his career in the series finale Sunday. Anthony DeSclafani (4-6, 4.38) pitches for San Francisco and is looking for his first win since May 29.

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