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ATL@SF: Zito gives up just two runs over eight-plus

A season ago, the D-backs won five of six games against the Giants in September as they ran away with a surprise division title in the National League West.

This year, however, Arizona might need to perform even better against its division rival if it has a chance to get back in the playoff picture.

Entering 10 1/2 games back in the NL West and 6 1/2 games off the second Wild Card pace, the D-backs will open up a three-game series in San Francisco on Monday, playing the first of nine games against the Giants in September.

Hoping to get his club started on the right foot will be rookie lefty Patrick Corbin. The 23-year-old is coming off a heart breaking defeat his last time out against the Reds.

Corbin tossed six scoreless innings to start his outing, giving up just two hits, but fell victim in the seventh inning to two home runs as he took the hard-luck loss.

"I was able to throw all my pitches today and located really well," Corbin said. "They're an aggressive team so I had to throw everything today, and that's what I was able to do until the seventh."

The last time Corbin saw the Giants on May 11, the rookie threw seven innings, surrendering just one run and earning a victory.

Opposing Corbin for San Francisco will be veteran left-hander Barry Zito, who has defeated the D-backs twice already this season.

In his last start, the 34-year-old lasted just 2 1/3 innings against the Astros even though he only allowed three runs.

"I'm upset I threw a couple of changeups, but it's my job to shake [off Buster Posey]," Zito said. "It's just a matter of me throwing the pitch I want to throw."

Giants: Sandoval sliding
Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval has been struggling of late and manager Bruce Bochy attributed his lost power to leftover effects from his injuries. His fractured left hamate bone and a strained left hamstring forced Sandoval to miss a total of 53 games, disrupting his continuity. "His timing was off a little bit," Bochy said.

Bochy indicated that Sandoval's weight, a perpetual issue, could be affecting his hitting. Without citing a specific figure, Bochy said that the Giants are "happy" with Sandoval's weight, but added, "I won't lie to you. We'd like to get him down a little bit."

Sandoval hasn't homered since July 8 at Pittsburgh off A.J. Burnett. He went 2-for-5 on Sunday with a RBI.

D-backs: Montero healthy after collision
Less than 24 hours after a jarring collision at the plate, D-backs catcher Miguel Montero was in the starting lineup Sunday.

"I feel good, man," Montero said.

Any soreness he felt was just normal day-to-day aches that come with catching and not as a result of Dodgers outfielder Shane Victorino running him over in the eighth inning Saturday night.

"He's fine," manager Kirk Gibson said. "I guess the biggest thing is his shoulder came up into his mask and jammed his mask against his face."

Showing no ill effects, Montero came through with a two-run homer in Sunday's game vs. the Dodgers.

Worth noting
• The Giants are 18 games over .500, a season high.

• The D-backs are 26-22 vs. the NL West this year. Comments