(Photo credit: Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK)
The Arizona Diamondbacks are ascending at a good time, and they possess the National League's second wild-card spot with 10 games remaining.
The San Francisco Giants are descending and have lost 10 of their past 11 road games and sit three games behind the Chicago Cubs for the third wild-card berth with 11 contests left.
The two teams face off Wednesday afternoon in Phoenix in a pivotal matchup to close a two-game set.
Arizona (80-72) notched an 8-4 victory on Tuesday to remain a half-game ahead of the Cubs (79-72). The Diamondbacks also tied the season series with San Francisco at 6-6, meaning Wednesday's winner will hold the tiebreaker edge.
The Diamondbacks are thriving with four straight wins and nine in their past 13 contests.
Arizona had 13 hits in the opener after spotting the Giants a 2-0 first-inning lead.
"We made a ton of statements in the four-run second (inning) with good hitting and timely, aggressive baserunning, and that was a big difference in the game," Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.
Arizona's Ketel Marte drove in two runs and reached base five times on four hits and a walk. Marte is 6-for-8 with a homer, four RBIs, three runs and two walks over the past two games.
Marte and Corbin Carroll (who also had two RBIs) worked a double steal in the second inning in which Giants third baseman Wilmer Flores committed two errors -- one on the catch, one on a throw -- to allow both Carroll and Marte to score.
"Once that ball got away and Ketel scored, too, I was fired up," Carroll said. "That felt good."
The steal was Carroll's 48th of the season. Only two Diamondbacks have ever reached 50 -- Tony Womack (72 in 1999) and Eric Byrnes (50 in 2007).
San Francisco (76-75) has dropped four of its past five games overall and is just 15-26 since taking three of four against the Diamondbacks from July 31-Aug. 3. The Giants were 12 games over .500 at the time.
"We've just got to worry about trying to win (Wednesday) and then go from there," Flores said. "But we put ourselves in this situation, so we're going to keep going."
Logan Webb (10-12, 3.31 ERA) will be on the mound for the Giants on Wednesday against fellow right-hander Merrill Kelly (11-7, 3.45).
Webb is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA in three starts against Arizona this season. Kelly gave up seven runs (five earned) and 10 hits in five-plus innings on June 24 while losing his lone 2023 outing against the Giants.
Webb has been inconsistent over the past two months, going 2-5 with a 3.71 ERA over 11 starts. He has allowed one run or none four times during the span while allowing four or more three times.
In his latest outing, Webb gave up one run and four hits over eight innings in a no-decision against the Colorado Rockies on Friday in Denver.
Webb, 26, is 5-2 with a 2.62 ERA in nine career starts against the Diamondbacks. Marte has homered off Webb but is just 3-for-17 in their matchups. Carroll is 1-for-8 and Alek Thomas is 1-for-13 vs. Webb.
Kelly, 34, was rocked for seven runs in two of his past five starts. He gave up one run in two of the outings and pitched seven innings of one-hit shutout ball in the other.
He is 1-2 with a 4.85 ERA during that stretch, twice striking out a career-high-tying 12 batters.
Kelly is 6-5 with a 3.48 ERA in 17 career starts against San Francisco. Mike Yastrzemski (8-for-36) has three homers vs. Kelly.
--Field Level Media