If anyone needed a clutch hit to give the Diamondbacks a late lead, it was Kelly Johnson.
Mired in a dreadful slump, Johnson stepped to the plate with the tying and go-ahead runs on base with two outs in the 9th inning Wednesday, facing Giants’ closer Brian Wilson.
Already 2-for-4 on the day, Johnson could have capped his night as the hero.
Instead, he came up five feet short.
Johnson’s flyball was hit well, but fell into Andres Torres’ glove for the final out, sending the D-Backs to their second straight one run defeat at the hands of San Francisco.
The loss secured the second straight series loss for Arizona.
The D-Backs jumped on Giants’ left-hander Jonathan Sanchez for a pair of early runs.
In the first inning, Johnson led the game off with a double and Ryan Roberts drew a walk. After Justin Upton moved the runners up to second and third with a groundout, Stephen Drew made it 1-0 on an RBI groundout.
“We had a ton of chances early,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson told MLB.com. “The results are what they are.”
Getting a rare start, Henry Blanco made it 2-0 with an RBI single that plated Gerardo Parra in the second inning.
Blanco wasn’t done.
Two innings later he blasted his second home run of the season, a solo shot giving Arizona a 3-0 advantage.
Cruising into the fourth inning, it appeared that D-Backs righty Armando Galarraga was headed for his best start as a Diamondback.
With his best command in some time, Galarraga didn’t walk a batter through the first three innings.
His control issues finally caught up to him in the fourth.
Buster Posey led off with a single, but Galarraga came back to get the next two outs. A walk to Aaron Rowand extended the inning and allowed the struggling Miguel Tejada to drive home Posey with a base hit to left.
The inexcusable came when Galarraga walked the pitcher Sanchez and then tossed a wild pitch that allowed Rowand to scamper home to cut the D-Backs lead to 3-2.
Another walk loaded the bases, but Galarraga got Freddy Sanchez to fly out to finally end the frame.
“He was throwing pretty good,” catcher Henry Blanco said. “I think in the fourth he just slowed down a little bit, trying to be too perfect and I think that cost him. The way he started the game, I thought it would be a different story.”
An inning later Galarraga’s other issue bit him, the longball. Aubrey Huff connected for his 4th homer of the year to even the game at 3-3.
It was the 12th home run allowed in seven starts for Galarraga, leaving him on pace to allow a staggering 57 for the season.
Galarraga’s day ended in the sixth after allowing a one-out double to Tejada. Juan Gutierrez replaced him and couldn’t work out of the inning unharmed.
With two-outs, Torres hit a ground-rule double to right-center, easily scoring Tejada with what turned into the game winning run.
The vaunted Giants’ bullpen retired the D-Backs easily in the seventh and eighth, but Arizona mounted a rally against Wilson in the 9th.
In fact, they probably should have tied the game, but a failure to execute burned them in the end.
Xavier Nady led off the inning with a double and Parra drew a walk.
In an obvious bunt situation, Blanco couldn’t get the job done, striking out on a foul bunt attempt.
That proved costly when the next batter, Russell Branyan, hit a soft ground ball to Huff at first, that likely would have scored Nady to tie the game.
Instead it put runners at second and third for Johnson, who couldn’t get the job done.
Johnson and Blanco both had two hits on the day, but couldn’t come through when it mattered most.
Galarraga allowed four earned runs in 5.2 innings, dropping to 3-3 on the season and raising his earned run average to 5.50.
The D-Backs now will try to avoid the sweep at the hands of the Giants tomorrow afternoon in San Francisco.
Daniel Hudson (3-4, 4.47 ERA) will take the mound for Arizona, opposite San Francisco’s Matt Cain (2-2, 3.38).