|D-backs' Marte aims to rough up Giants again|
Ketel Marte hopes to continue his march to the All-Star Game at a site where he's had more than his fair share of success when the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks open a four-game series against the San Francisco Giants on Thursday night.
The Diamondbacks swept a three-game set at San Francisco earlier this season as part of an unusual season series in which the visiting team has gone 7-2, including the Giants taking two of three at Arizona last week.
Marte went 2-for-2 in the opener of last week's series before sustaining a left groin cramp that sidelined him the final two games. He returned to go 5-for-9 while the Diamondbacks took two of three from the visiting Los Angeles Dodgers before heading to San Francisco.
Marte wasn't running at full speed in his return to the lineup Monday, but he said he felt progressively better, even though he was limited to pinch-hitting duties Wednesday in the Diamondbacks' 8-2 win.
"The injury was in the leg, not in the bat," he said before the series. "That's why I've been able to pick (the hitting back) up."
Marte had seven hits during Arizona's sweep at San Francisco in May. It raised his career average at Oracle Park to .375, with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 15 games.
The All-Star starter finalist hasn't just hit in San Francisco this season. He has recorded multiple hits in his past eight starts, and counting Wednesday's pinch-hit single, he is 22-for-34 (.647) in his past nine games.
The Giants will counter with an offense that totaled just 22 hits in three games against the Colorado Rockies to open their weeklong homestand.
Buster Posey went 0-for-8 in the series with three strikeouts. He grounded into a game-ending double play as a pinch hitter Wednesday in San Francisco's 6-3 loss, making him 2-for-25 (.080) in his past seven games.
When asked if he were considering moving the six-time All-Star down in his lineup, Giants manager Bruce Bochy indicated it's hard to ponder when his options are limited.
"You're looking at a guy who can do different things," Bochy said during the Colorado series. "Buster is a guy you can hit-and-run with, he's a contact guy. You look at the numbers and say, 'Why is he hitting there?' But as a club, we're not hitting well, let's be honest. We're around .220."
The series-opening pitching duel is a matchup of rookies, with Arizona calling up left-hander Alex Young from Triple-A Reno to make his major league debut against Giants right-hander Tyler Beede (1-2, 6.96 ERA).
Young, 25, was 4-3 with a 6.09 ERA in 20 games (eight starts) for Reno.
"I remember a couple of his outings, I remember a couple things that he did in spring training," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said Wednesday, according to ArizonaSports.com. "I was impressed with the short looks that we got. And that's what spring training's all about: Make a positive impression on the staff. You know you're not going to make the team. You're there just for a quick shot."
Beede faced the Diamondbacks on Saturday, and he didn't take advantage of early run support, failing to get the required five innings needed for a win. He was pulled after four-plus innings, having allowed four runs and six hits in a game San Francisco won 7-4.
The Giants are 5-1 in Beede's starts this season, having scored 31 runs in those games. He has just one win to show for it.
The second-year major-leaguer is 0-0 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts against Arizona.
--Field Level Media