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ARI@SF: Duke singles home Ransom in the seventh

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jason Marquis' first start in an Arizona uniform did not go the way he hoped, and the D-backs didn't finish their road trip the way they wanted.

However, despite the 8-1 setback to the Giants on Wednesday, the D-backs headed back to Phoenix a happy bunch.

A 6-3 road trip to San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco will do that for a team.

In addition to the winning record on the trip, the D-backs gained three games on the Giants to cut the deficit to just a single game with 51 left to play.

"It was real good overall," D-backs outfielder Chris Young said. "You'd like to forget about today, but in the grand scheme of things we got a lot accomplished on this road trip. We played good baseball, we got a lot closer in the race. Just keep pushing forward from there."

The D-backs acquired Marquis last Saturday in part because of his past success against the Giants. The right-hander threw a shutout against them earlier this year as a member of the Nationals, but he had no such luck this time around.

"They came out of the box swinging, they were able to find some holes and I wasn't able to stop the bleeding early on," Marquis said. "So I have to do a better job of making quality pitches early in the count. To come in here -- I don't want to use the word impression -- but you want to come out here and contribute to a team that's on the verge of making the playoffs. To not do that today, I'm a little frustrated."

The Giants jumped on Marquis for four runs in the third inning and tacked on another four in the fifth for good measure.

"There were a lot of ground balls. They were aggressive early," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "I think the one inning they scored four runs, seven of eight balls were on the ground and they found holes, but they hit the ball good, give them credit. I think he's a ground-ball pitcher. We haven't played behind him yet. It will help us next time, maybe have a better understanding of what he's trying to do."

While they were unable to pull off a sweep against the Giants, the D-backs did serve notice that they intend to give the defending world champions all they can handle in the race.

"They approached the first two games like they wanted to be in first place," said Giants outfielder Carlos Beltran, whom the Giants acquired last week to help bolster their offense for the stretch drive.

After starting the trip with a four-game deficit, the D-backs managed to pull into a first-place tie following Tuesday's win and certainly got the Giants' attention.

"This game, to me, probably was our biggest game to this point of the season," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

The D-backs were also able to exorcise some demons at AT&T Park. Coming into the series, they had lost 17 of their last 21 there and were swept in a three-game series earlier this year, with each loss coming by one run.

The D-backs were able to beat the Giants' top two pitchers -- Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum -- in the first two games, but they struggled to solve Ryan Volgelsong (9-1) in the finale.

"They've always played well against us and we were able to come out and get their top two guys," Young said. "When they're throwing Cain, Lincecum and Vogelsong at you, to think you even have a chance to go into the last day with a sweep is unheard of for a lot of teams. We came and battled them well and got a couple of wins early and then Volgelsong pitched a good game today."

"We know they're the world champions, a very good team, very well managed," Gibson said of the Giants. "We got swept last time we were here, so we'll go out of here feeling good about ourselves."

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