Slade Cecconi, Diamondbacks earn 5-3 victory over the Giants

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Right-hander Slade Cecconi held the San Francisco Giants to two runs in six innings in his 2024 debut, and Gabriel Moreno hit a two-run, go-ahead single in the sixth inning to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a 5-3 victory Sunday.

Cecconi (1-0) started in place of an injured Merrill Kelly to help the Diamondbacks earn a split of the four-game series. He was recalled from Triple-A Reno to make his fifth career start to replace Kelly, who was scratched with a shoulder injury.

Most Diamondbacks came to the park unaware they would not be playing behind Kelly, the team's No. 2 starter. Cecconi flew in from Reno on Saturday night and was not told he was starting until a few hours before the game. Manager Torey Lovullo said that made Cecconi's performance, and the team's reaction to the injury news, more impressive.

"It was not an easy day," Lovullo said. “You wake up and get the news on Merrill. It takes a toll on the team. And then what Slade did just kind of gave us a chance to catch our breath, and we won a big game.”

The Giants did not have a hit against Cecconi until Thairo Estrada had an infield single with two outs in the fifth. Mike Yastrzemski then homered over the right-field wall to give the Giants a 2-1 lead. It was his first homer of the season.

Moreno hit his go-ahead single in the sixth off left-hander Erik Miller (0-1) to give Arizona a 3-2 lead.

Arizona scored twice in the ninth to extend its lead to 5-2, during which Giants manager Bob Melvin and third base coach Matt Williams were ejected for yelling at plate umpire Stu Scheurwater over a foul-tip call.

Melvin's ejection was his second this season. Replays showed Kevin Newman appeared to swing over Nick Avila's two-strike pitch. Scheurwater ruled the ball hit Newman's bat. The ejections came after Newman, his at-bat extended, hit an RBI double.

“It's an out right there, instead of a hit and a run,” Melvin said. “It looked to me like it was fairly clear.”

Kevin Ginkel allowed Estrada's RBI double with two outs in the ninth, but struck out Yastrzemski for his fourth save of the season.

Giants starter Jordan Hicks allowed one run and one hit in five innings. He kept the Giants in the game despite walking four and hitting two batters. Hicks did not have a strikeout and allowed a run on Jake McCarthy's sacrifice fly in the second inning.

Kelly developed shoulder discomfort throwing between starts. He had an MRI that revealed a mild strain, but he likely will get another MRI in Phoenix.

Kelly began the season 2-0 with a 2.19 ERA in four starts. He pitched effectively during the 2023 postseason, contributing one win each in the National League Division Series against the Dodgers, the NL Championship Series against the Phillies and the World Series against the eventual-champion Rangers.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Diamondbacks shortstop Blaze Alexander left the game in the fifth inning with a hamstring cramp. Alexander said he did not believe it was serious.

UP NEXT

The Giants, behind RHP Keaton Winn (1-3, 4.09 ERA), open a three-game home series against the Mets and RHP Jose Quintana (1-1, 3.05) on Monday.

The Diamondbacks continue their 10-game trip in St. Louis on Monday, with RHP Brandon Pfaadt (1-1, 5.32) facing RHP Lance Lynn (1-0, 2.18).

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