With 29 games left in the regular season, the D-backs are fully aware of just how important every contest is if they hope to keep playing into October.
Arizona's aspirations took a blow on Friday night with a 1-0 loss to the Giants to remain six games back of the Reds for the second National League Wild Card spot.
The D-backs will look to regroup and get back on track Saturday as they face the Giants at Chase Field.
Trevor Cahill gets the nod for Arizona and has been much better since his return from the disabled list earlier this month. Especially brilliant in his last two outings, the right-hander has allowed just one run in 11 innings.
That last outing came in a 18-inning contest between the D-backs and Phillies last Saturday, in which Cahill tossed four innings in relief for the win.
"Even when I was down there, I was like, there was still no way. Then they said, '[Brad] Ziegler has one more [inning],' and I was like, 'Oh, gosh.' So, I jumped on the bike and put heat on my arm and stretched out," Cahill said after the game. "I definitely had enough time. I usually watch some video and try to eat a balanced meal, but I think they were in a little more of a rush than that."
Meanwhile, Ryan Vogelsong will be on the hill for the Giants. He's been spectacular in his last two starts and has yet to lose since coming off the disabled list in early August.
Vogelsong tossed eight scoreless innings in his last outing against the Pirates, which matched a career high. He allowed just two hits and one walk while striking out five for his third win.
"He really put on a show in the art of pitching," manager Bruce Bochy said of Vogelsong after the game. "That's one of the best-pitched games we've had this year."
In 14 career games (eight starts) against the D-backs, Vogelsong is 2-3 with a 4.22 ERA. In one start against Arizona this season, he allowed four runs on seven hits in seven innings for a no-decision.
Giants: Pagan activated
Outfielder Angel Pagan rejoined the Giants two days ahead of schedule on Friday, feeling confident he'd healed enough from a left hamstring surgery.
Bochy inserted Pagan into center field and in the leadoff spot for the series opener against the D-backs. He finished the game going 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored in the first inning.
"Right now, I want to say I feel 90-95 percent," said Pagan, 32. "But there's no way I can feel 100 percent this fast. This is part of the rehabilitation. But I feel great to play and to be the same player that I was before I got hurt."
D-backs: Kubel sent to Indians
The Indians and D-backs agreed to a deal on Friday that sent Jason Kubel to Cleveland in exchange for a player to be named later or cash.
Kubel was designated for assignment by the D-backs on Tuesday when the team needed to clear a spot on the 25-man roster for left-hander David Holmberg, who was called up from Double-A to start that night.
Kubel, 31, is in the final year of a two-year, $16 million contract and is making $7.5 million in 2013. There is a mutual option for $7.5 million for '14, which includes a $1 million buyout. The Indians will receive cash from the D-backs to offset the remaining salary and likely buyout.
• The Giants made a minor adjustment to the sequence of their starting rotation, announcing Friday that right-hander Yusmeiro Petit will pitch Sunday against Arizona, followed by left-hander Barry Zito on Monday at San Diego.
• The Giants have won 15 of their last 19 games in which they have scored at least four runs.
• The D-backs have won five of their last seven home games and are 11-8 at Chase Field since the All-Star break.
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.