SAN FRANCISCO - No need to see an optometrist. That was, in fact, Russ Ortiz walking off the mound at AT&T Park to a standing ovation. On Friday the Giants got the Ortiz performance Arizona thought it was getting in 2005 when the Diamondbacks plopped down $33 million for four years for his services.
The Diamondbacks lost, 4-2, to the Giants on Friday night, beaten by the man they’re still paying millions.
A slimmer-looking Ortiz was back throwing in the low 90s and locating his off-speed pitches. He induced the D-Backs into a horde of ground balls, walked two batters, and only three Arizona runners reached second base in the final six innings.
“He looked like the pitcher the Diamondbacks signed,” outfielder Eric Byrnes said.
Arizona got to All-Star Jake Peavy for five runs on Thursday, but left 10 runners on base and only made three serious threats Friday night.
That included the ninth when the D-Backs put runners on first and third with two outs against Armando Benitez, but a groundout gave Benitez his third save of the season.
A rare infield mistake proved costly with two out in the first, when shortstop Stephen Drew and second baseman Orlando Hudson collided on a pop fly in the infield.
Two runs scored, and the Giants were ahead for good after one inning.
“I called it three times, and it was loud,” Drew said. “'O’ said he heard me the last time and by then we already collided.
“What can you say? That’s baseball for you.”
In addition to the error, fundamental flaws bothered manager Bob Melvin the most.
A first-inning RBI double by Hudson — who drove in both D-Backs runs — in the third was all she wrote for Arizona’s offense, but after doubling home Drew in the third, Hudson was thrown out trying to advance to third with no outs.
Then with Chris Young at third and one out in the fourth, Doug Davis tapped out to Ortiz for the second out, and the D-Backs didn’t score.
“In a ballpark like this you can’t give them runs like that and you have to be crisp in situational at-bats, and we weren’t,” Melvin said.
The Giants tacked on another run in the fifth on a double by Barry Bonds and RBI-single by Bengie Molina.
For the third time this season, Davis was an unfortunate victim of circumstance. The lefty survived a rocky first inning and threw six quality innings to give most of the D-Backs bullpen the night off.
“Definitely my best start control-wise,” he said. “Errors are going to happen. We just have to pick them up.”
Davis spent extra time this week throwing since his last start on April 15, and worked on mechanics. He threw three perfect innings and pitched out of jams in the second and fourth innings.
“He made his adjustments quicker and pitched pretty darn well,” Melvin said. “Well enough to win a game.”