PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks are celebrating their 20th anniversary this season with a jump-start to remember.
San Francisco, meanwhile, is simply hoping to stay close to the pack until its top pitchers return after an offseason reboot that included adding veteran hitters Andrew McCutchen and Evan Longoria.
The Diamondbacks (11-4) have a three-game lead in the National League West and are off to the best start in franchise history. They have won their first five series, another first for a team that made its debut in 1998 and became the fastest team in major league history to win a World Series when they beat the New York Yankees in 2001.
The Diamondbacks were 6-3 on a recent nine-game trip to St. Louis, San Francisco and the Los Angeles Dodgers, although they played without injured 30-homer third baseman Jake Lamb and right fielder Steven Souza Jr.
“You come on a trip like this — you go to St. Louis for their opening weekend, then you have to travel to San Francisco and here and you go 6-3 … if you told us we would do that before the start of the season, we would be satisfied with it,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “Proud of these guys. They fought this entire trip.”
The Dodgers on Sunday broke an 11-game losing streak against the Diamondbacks, the longest skid against one team in franchise history, when Clayton Kershaw struck out 12 in a 7-2 victory.
The Diamondbacks had won the last two three-game series against the Dodgers in 2017 and took the first series between the two the first week of the season.
“We’re pretty excited about the series when you look at the whole,” Lovullo said. “But still it hurts. You want to win every game you play, and we didn’t play an exceptionally good game.”
Arizona will send left-hander Patrick Corbin (2-0) to face the Giants in the first game of a three-game series on Tuesday night at Chase Field.
The Giants (6-9) have not announced a starter, although Johnny Cueto (sprained ankle) is eligible to return from the disabled list. Rookie Andrew Suarez, who made the first start of his career against Arizona on April 11, would be on five days’ rest if the Giants went with him.
David Peralta, Chris Owings, A.J. Pollock and Paul Goldschmidt have kept the Arizona offense running without Lamb, who suffered a shoulder injury in a home series against the Dodgers and missed the road trip.
Peralta is batting .340 with a .971 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, Pollock had a two-homer game Saturday to give him 12 RBIs, and Goldschmidt is on a roll after a slow start. Goldschmidt has four homers and eight RBIs in his last six games, going 10-for-24 with a double, a triple and eight runs.
After some early walk-off heroics by McCutchen, the Giants have lost six of eight while playing through the loss of top starters Madison Bumgarner, Cueto and Jeff Samardzija.
Cueto is 1-0 with an 0.69 ERA in two starts but has been out since with a sprained ankle.
Bumgarner and Samardzija have not pitched this season, although Samardzija is said to be close to returning from strained pectoral muscle. He is expected to make one more rehab start this week.
Rookie Tyler Beede, who made his first career start last Tuesday against Corbin, was roughed up in a 10-1 loss to San Diego on Sunday and was optioned to the minors after the game.
“It was disappointing,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy told reporters. “I think it showed a little bit today how we’ve been nicked up with this pitching.”
The Giants lost three of four to the Padres and played without Buster Posey on Sunday. Posey missed the game with a thumb injury, but the Giants expect him to play Tuesday.
Corbin has been dominant with his signature slider this season, striking out 29 in 18 1/3 innings while giving up 13 hits and four walks. He allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings to the Giants in a no-decision in his last start, a 5-4 loss in which McCutchen hit a walk-off single with one out in the ninth inning.
Corbin is 5-7 with a 3.42 ERA in 20 career games (18 starts) against the Giants and has a 2.78 ERA in his last 13 appearances against them.