Arizona ends another poor homestand with loss

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By Natalie Rivers By Natalie Rivers

PHOENIX (AP) Home field has been no advantage to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The team completed its second miserable homestand in a row on Sunday with a 7-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants. Arizona finished the stand 1-5 and has dropped 12 of its last 15 home games.

"It was a tough week, a tough homestand," said manager Kirk Gibson, whose team was swept by St. Louis before the Giants came in. "We didn't play well. We got our butts kicked. Not very good execution again, anywhere."

The reigning NL West champions are looking nothing like the contenders they expected to be. Then again, the Diamondbacks weren't very good early last season, either.

"You think about last year, we were in a similar situation. I think we were 15-22," Gibson said. "We lost five one-run games in a row."

That perspective doesn't make the current struggles any easier to bear, though.

"It is pretty frustrating," said Joe Saunders, who had his second rough outing in a row. "You see the frustration with everybody right now. We are going through a bad stretch."

Melky Cabrera singled four times to extend his hitting streak to 11 games for the Giants, and Gregor Blanco drove in three runs with a pair of hits.

After dropping nine in a row to the Diamondbacks, the Giants won the last two of the three-game series to leave town at .500 (17-17).

"We had some good at-bats there," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "Guys did a nice job on this trip bouncing back. This has been a tough place for us."

Brett Pill hit a two-run homer and Barry Zito (2-1) earned his first win since his opening start.

Jason Kubel went 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles and drove in two runs for the Diamondbacks.

San Francisco had a season-high 14 hits, 10 of them against Saunders (2-3).

Zito allowed three runs and five hits in six innings. He struck out five, walked three and hit a batter with a pitch.

"I was kind of in and out today. I got into some jams but was able to pitch out," Zito said. "It wasn't a great day for me as far as stuff goes, but the curveball bailed me out a few times."

Cabrera hit .500 on the seven-game road trip (13 for 26).

"He's on fire," Bochy said, "from both sides. He's a good hitter. He had a breakout year last year and we're excited to have him, believe me. He's a smart hitter, can go with the pitch and he can hit the ball out of the ballpark, too. He threw up some great at-bats today, all series really."

Saunders, who allowed six runs in five innings, retired his first seven batters before running into trouble. Brandon Crawford doubled, then with two outs consecutive singles by Blanco, Joaquin Arias and Cabrera brought in two runs in the third inning.

San Francisco scored two more in the fourth on a two-out, bases-loaded single by Blanco to make it 4-1. Angel Pagan and Hector Sanchez started the inning with singles.

The Diamondbacks, up briefly 1-0 on Kubel's RBI single in the second, cut the Giants' lead to 4-3 in the fourth. Ryan Roberts led off with a single, was sacrificed to second by Saunders' bunt and scored when A.J. Pollock doubled over the head of Blanco in right. Kubel followed with his second double of the game to bring home Pollock.

The Giants padded the lead their next time up. Cabrera, whose four-hit game matched his career best, led off the fifth with a single, then Pill hit the next pitch into the left-field seats and San Francisco led 6-3. Sanchez's RBI single made it 7-3 in the seventh.

Jeremy Affeldt, activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game (right knee strain), pitched a scoreless eighth.