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ARI@SF: Bumgarner fans five, hits grand slam in win

The last time the Giants went on the road, they were trying to recover from a June swoon that saw the team win just 10 of 26 games in the month. They ended up going 2-3 in visits to San Diego and Oakland from July 4-8, before going home for five games heading into the All-Star break.

San Francisco, which is 24-18 on the road this season, will travel to Miami to open the second half with a three-game series against the Marlins starting Friday. The Giants are 11-6 against National League East opponents this year, and the Marlins have a 12-12 mark against the NL West.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced after the Giants' first-half finale Sunday that Madison Bumgarner would make his second consecutive start, a rare feat that will still let the southpaw have a normal four days of rest.

Bumgarner made his last start against the D-backs on Sunday, allowing four runs in 6 1/3 innings and launching his second grand slam of the season to aid his cause. The 24-year-old was 10-7 with a 3.47 ERA in 20 starts in the first half. Selected to the All-Star Game for the second season in a row, he's dominated on the road with a 1.98 ERA and 6-2 record while holding opponents to a .220 batting average.

So he could prove to be a challenge for Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi, who will be making his 20th start of the season and has had an up-and-down year. From his first start on April 1 to his eighth on May 10, the right-hander was one of the team's most effective starters. He posted a 2.86 ERA in 50 1/3 innings and recorded six quality starts.

But, beginning with a loss in San Francisco on May 15 in which he allowed six earned runs in 4 1/3 innings, Eovaldi generally struggled in his next 11 outings. He gave up 32 earned runs in 69 1/3 total innings and won just three games in that span. The Marlins were 3-8 behind him.

Of late, however, Eovaldi has shown signs of improvement, despite having a loss to his name in July. He's managed to limit damage done on him in the first inning, which has been a trouble spot for him all season. In his last start in Arizona on July 9, he threw seven innings of one-run ball, but ended up with a no-decision.

One of the things Eovaldi has been able to control is his issuing of free passes. He's allowed only 23 walks compared to 83 strikeouts.

"I think that's the best I've done with my walks-to-strikeouts ratio," Eovaldi said. "I was pleased with [the first half]. I just had those few bumps in the road, where I had that one bad inning. If I can eliminate that, I'll be good."

Marlins: Looking to get on track in second half
Struggling heading into the All-Star break hasn't dampened the Marlins' hopes of getting on track in the second half and making a playoff push.

The Marlins start off with a tough challenge in the Giants.

In spite of losing their ace and sustaining injuries to key players like Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Christian Yelich and A.J. Ramos -- and even seldom-used Rafael Furcal, who's on his third DL stint -- Miami had stretches of playing at a high level in the first half.

"You know you're going to have to deal with adversity," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "You're going to have to deal with injuries, youthful mistakes. That hasn't changed. We know what we have, and we're going to try to continue getting better. That's all we said we'd try to do from Day 1, is to play as hard as we could, to win as many games as we could. We hope when the dust clears, we'll be one of 10 [playoff teams] and heading into October."

Giants: Bochy pleased in spite of struggles
After completing a three-game sweep of the Mets on June 9, the Giants were 42-21 and had the Majors' best record and a 9 1/2-game advantage on the Dodgers in the National League West. Bochy said after the game he had "nothing to complain about."

Since that afternoon, the Giants have put up the worst record (10-22) in the Majors.

They've also had a hard time on offense in that span, averaging just 2.97 runs per game.

But while the team's month-long slide has erased the cushy division lead, it hasn't left Bochy devoid of perspective.

"I think you have to be, particularly with how we've struggled here the past two or three weeks," Bochy said when asked before the All-Star break if he was happy where the team stood, one game behind the Dodgers. "We're right there. Still got to pick it up to get to where we want to go, but if you would've looked at what we've done the past few weeks and told me we'd only be one game out, I would've done cartwheels around this ballpark."

Worth noting
• Giants first baseman Brandon Belt was scratched from Sunday's game with back stiffness.

• Bochy said after Bumgarner pitches Friday, the Giants will pitch Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum against the Marlins to complete the weekend series before turning to Ryan Vogelsong and Matt Cain on Monday and Tuesday, respectively, on the road against Philadelphia.

• All-Star Giancarlo Stanton went 4-for-33 on the Marlins' last road trip, which the team finished 3-6.

• Ramos (right shoulder inflammation) is expected to come off the disabled list Friday. The right-handed reliever will pitch in rehab-assignment games this week at Double-A Jacksonville. Comments