SAN FRANCISCO — For four innings, Johnny Cueto looked like the pitcher who won 13 games before the All-Star break and was the NL’s starter in the Midsummer Classic.
The fifth inning was a sharp reminder of how the Giants right-hander has struggled since.
The Diamondbacks first six hitters reached base in the inning, capped by Welington Castillo’s two-run single, and Arizona held on to beat Cueto and San Francisco 4-3 on Tuesday night.
“I think the pitches caught up with him,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “His command was a little off. … He started missing his spots. It’s unfortunate because he was really throwing the ball well. It just got away from him.”
Cueto (14-5) cruised through the first three innings and escaped a two-out, two-on jam in the fourth before the Diamondbacks batted around in the fifth.
Chris Owings hit an RBI triple, and after Cueto walked pitcher Zack Greinke, Jean Segura singled in Owings. Two batters later, Castillo’s two-run single gave Arizona a 4-1 lead and ended Cueto’s night.
It marked the first time this season that Cueto — who has one win in eight starts since the break — failed to make it out of the fifth. He allowed four runs, walked four and struck out five.
“It was a bad inning,” Cueto said through an interpreter. “I don’t know what happened. I felt really well from the first to the fifth but sometimes it just happens. Unfortunately it didn’t go my way.”
The loss keeps the Giants 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers in the NL West.
Zack Greinke threw six solid innings to continue his mastery of San Francisco while A.J. Pollock singled twice and reached four times to help the Diamondbacks end a four-game losing streak to their division rival.
Greinke (12-4) allowed two runs — one earned — and six hits to earn his ninth win in 13 career starts against San Francisco and his first overall since Aug. 9.
“Some luck involved in it,” Greinke said. “I have pitched better than average in a lot of these games and they usually have really tough at-bats with me.”
Pagan and Hunter Pence had three hits apiece for San Francisco.
Brandon Crawford drove in San Francisco’s first run with a sacrifice fly in the third.
Pence and Joe Panik hit back-to-back doubles in the sixth to make it 4-2.
ANGEL IN THE OUTFIELD
Pagan has made his share of defensive blunders this season but the Giants left fielder made a nice running catch on a sinking line drive in the sixth to rob Owings of a hit. Pagan’s six errors lead all San Francisco outfielders.
Giants: Span left the game with a stiff neck in the seventh. … Pence had missed the last three games with a strained right hamstring. … Jake Peavy received a cortisone shot to alleviate some of the pain in his lower back.
Diamondbacks: RHP Shelby Miller (2-9) will be called up from Reno to make his 15th start of the season Wednesday in the second half of this two-game series. Miller hasn’t pitched in the majors since July 6 and his 7.14 ERA is nearly double that of any previous season.
Giants: LHP Matt Moore (8-10) pitches the finale for San Francisco. Moore lost his bid for a no-hitter with one out in the ninth inning against the Dodgers in his most recent start.