SAN FRANCISCO -- Chad Gaudin might just be pitching himself right into a permanent spot in the San Francisco starting rotation. He certainly pitched the defending World Series champion Giants to an important victory to begin the seasons second half against the division-leading Arizona Diamondbacks, striking out eight in seven scoreless innings to build on his impressive monthlong stretch in a 2-0 win Friday night. "Its huge," Gaudin said. "Any win in our division is huge." All-Star Buster Posey hit an RBI double, Hunter Pence added a run-scoring single as San Francisco started a key series to open the second half by pulling within 5 1/2 games of the D-backs in the NL West race. Arizona starter Ian Kennedy (3-7) was denied career win No. 50 yet again in his eighth try. In his past four starts, Gaudin (4-1) has a 0.77 ERA, two earned runs in 23 1-3 innings. He has an 11-inning scoreless streak. "What a great job he did tonight, which we needed," manager Bruce Bochy said. Gaudin is unbeaten in seven starts since joining the rotation in early June to replace the injured Ryan Vogelsong -- and he is making for a tough decision by the Giants brass when Vogelsong is ready to return next month. "Obviously Id like to start and enjoy starting," said Gaudin, so valuable for his versatility. Not bad for a guy who signed a minor league deal with the Giants and had no guarantee of making the team out of spring training. "I signed over here to do what Im doing now," Gaudin said. "Its great. Ive put a lot of time and effort and work into having a good craft and pretty much dedicated myself to getting better and staying consistent. Its kind of surprising, but at the same time I kind of expect it out of myself." Gaudins only loss came in relief during an extra-inning loss April 24 against Arizona at home. Gaudin also got a defensive gem from Giants rookie Kensuke Tanaka. The converted infielder made a sliding catch near the foul line in left field, reaching back over his head after overrunning the play to rob Paul Goldschmidt leading off the fourth. Gaudin tipped his cap to the outfielder. The Giants are determined to put some steady play together -- and Gaudins stellar outing was a start. The club began a key stretch with 10 games at home in AT&T Park, including Tuesdays doubleheader with the Reds in which Cincinnati is the home team in the opener to make up a July 4 rainout in Ohio. Gaudin allowed three hits and didnt walk a batter for the second time in his seven starts. "Everything he does for us, its a big lift," closer Sergio Romo said. Romo, the Giants fifth reliever, finished the five-hitter for his 22nd save and San Franciscos 10th shutout. Arizona was blanked for just the second time after losing 3-0 to Atlanta on June 28. "We had no offence going on at all tonight. They just shut us down," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. Santiago Casilla escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth. Romo has a 29-game scoreless streak against the D-backs spanning 21 2-3 innings and dating to Sept. 6, 2010. Kennedy lost his third straight during an eight-start winless streak in which he went 0-3 since beating the Cubs on June 1 in Chicago. "You just try to be positive. Like, Just get that out of the way," Kennedy said. "Just keep going out there, grind away, find adjustments to do. Thats what I really tried to do." He even shaved his beard during the All-Star break to try to get on track. The right-hander said he had a professional barber give him the trim Monday, his first in 26 months since his daughter, Nora, was born in late April 2011. "I needed a change," he said. But Arizona lost its sixth straight second-half opener. Notes: D-backs RHP Brandon McCarthy is scheduled to pitch a rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Reno and likely one more after that before being re-evaluated. He collapsed at a Phoenix restaurant last month with a seizure related to the head injury he sustained while pitching last September. ... Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong, who had surgery May 21 a day after breaking two bones in the pinkie area of his pitching hand, will face live hitters for the first time Saturday and could begin a rehab assignment early next week probably beginning with Class A San Jose before going to Double-A Richmond during the teams next road trip out East. ... San Francisco INF Joaquin Arias isnt likely to come off the DL on Tuesday when eligible as he returns from an emergency appendectomy. ... Giants CF Angel Pagan has begun baseball activities and agility work in Arizona as he tries to work back before seasons end from left hamstring surgery. ... Giants Hall of Fame broadcaster Lon Simmons celebrated his 90th birthday and threw out the ceremonial first pitch to a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 41,924. "It always has surprised me," Simmons said of the support. ... All-Star fathers: Giants Jeff Francoeur and Sandy Rosario each welcomed baby girls during the break, Emma Francoeur on Monday in Atlanta and Saadet Rosario on Thursday in New Jersey. http://www.ramsrookiestore.com/Rams-Rodger-Saffold-Jersey/ . Robredo, ranked No. 16, bounced back from an upset loss to Leonardo Mayer in the second round of the Royal Guard Open in Chile last week to down Carreno Busta in 1 hour, 25 minutes. On a day filled mostly with qualifying matches, fifth-seeded Marcel Granollers of Spain also entered the second with a 7-5, 3-6, 6-2 win over Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia, while Guido Pella of Argentina defeated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 7-6 (6), 6-4 to advance. http://www.ramsrookiestore.com/Rams-Aaron-Donald-Jersey/ . "Jeff is a hard worker who was an important special-teams contributor for us last season," said Stamps GM John Hufnagel. http://www.ramsrookiestore.com/Rams-Sammy-Watkins-Jersey/ .Y. - Free agent outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, fresh off winning the World Series with Boston, reached agreement with the rival New York Yankees on a seven-year contract worth about $153 million, a person familiar with the negotiations said Tuesday night. http://www.ramsrookiestore.com/Rams-Andrew-Whitworth-Jersey/ . "It doesnt get any better than that," Giambi said. "Im speechless." The Indians are roaring toward October. Giambi belted a two-run, pinch-hit homer with two outs in the ninth inning to give Cleveland a shocking 5-4 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday night, keeping the Indians up with the lead pack in the AL wild-card race. http://www.ramsrookiestore.com/Rams-Robert-Woods-Jersey/ . The 17-year-old native of Marystown, N.L., pulled out of Skate Canada International last month in Saint John, N.B., with the same problem. MIAMI -- Almost having a perfect game pitched against them was stinging enough for the Miami Marlins. Squandering another opportunity to remain in wild-card contention hurt even more.The Marlins couldnt get a runner on base against Los Angeles Dodgers starter Rich Hill through seven innings and managed two hits against the bullpen in a 5-0 loss Saturday night.This time of year you turn it because you have a game (Sunday), Marlins manager Don Mattingly said But this time of year youre running out of games. Theyre not just losses now. They hurt you pretty good. It kind of takes your spirit a little bit.The Marlins (70-72) have lost 11 of their last 15 and are 5 1/2 games behind San Francisco in the wild-card standings.Hill (3-0) pitched seven perfect innings but first-year Dodgers manager Dave Roberts removed him to start the eighth. Hill had thrown 89 pitches and struck out nine before giving way to Joe Blanton to start the eighth inning.I feel sick to my stomach, Roberts said. Rich had an opportunity of a lifetime. You take the personal aside. As a manager you are taking a lot of information.We have been dealing with Richies blister and that caused him to miss a lot of time this season.Acquired from Oakland on Aug. 1, Hill spent three weeks on the disabled before making his Dodgers debut Aug. 24. Facing a group of more than 20 reporters in front of his locker, Hill felt he could have continued pitching.Obviously, I didnt want to come out of the game, Hill said. But I think there is a bigger picture here and we all know what it is. Dave was in a very difficult position. You look at it and move on. Thats all you can do.Blanton struck out Christian Yelich and retired Marcell Ozuna a groundout before Jeff Francoeur singled to left. Grant Dayton gave up Dee Gordons two-out infield hit in the ninth that put two on and Kenley Jansen retired Martin Prado on a grounder to complete the two-hitter.In 11 years in the big leagues Ive never had a no-hitter against my team, Francoeur said. I was praying to God this wasnt the first time tonight. Luckily, we were able to come through with two hits.Hill didnt pitch in the majors between May 29 and July 2 because of a strained left groin. The blister in the middle finger of his pitching hand began in his final month with the As.On April 8, Roberts removed Ross Strippling with a no-hit bid after 7 1/3 innings and 100 pitches in a game the Dodgers lost to San Francisco 3--2 in 10 innings.ddddddddddddSaid Roberts, to go 89 pitches, weighing the risks versus the opportunity and talking to the training staff and getting their advice and weighing it all up and what is right for Rich and the Dodgers, this is the decision I made.Hill entered a combined 11-3 with a 1.94 ERA in 16 starts this year. He has just three complete games in 91 big league starts over 12 seasons.Left fielder Yasiel Puig, brought back from the minors on Sept. 2, made an outstanding diving catch for the final out of the seventh. Prado hit a drive to deep left-center and Puig sprinted and as he approached the warning track dived toward the wall to make the catch.Joc Pederson made a sliding and diving catch on a drive to center by Ozuna in the second.That was an incredible play and when you see a no-hitter or perfect game, you never know whats going to happen, Mattingly said.Pederson connected in the fifth and seventh innings and Corey Seager and Justin Turner hit consecutive homers in the sixth, with Seager connecting for a two-run drive.Tom Koehler (9-11) allowed four runs and six hits in five plus innings and Brian Ellington gave up Pedersons second homer -- his 22nd this season. Koehler is 0-3 in his last five starts and has not won since Aug. 9.CLOSE CALLFor the second consecutive night, a foul ball hit the plate umpire. Tony Randazzo absorbed the shot after Josh Reddicks foul swing bounced off Miami catcher Jeff Mathis mitt and struck Randazzos mask in the second inning. Temporarily dazed, Randazzo stayed in the game. On Friday, Brian Knight was hit in the mask area with a foul ball and left the game in the fifth. Chris Guccione replaced Knight on Saturday.ETHIER RETURNDodgers outfielder Andre Ethier pinch-hit in the ninth and grounded out to first in his season debut. Ethier broke his leg during spring training.TRAINERS ROOMMarlins: Pitchers Wei-Yin Chen and Bryan Morris are to throw simulated games Sunday in attempts to determine if they will return during the final three weeks of the season. Chen has been sidelined since July 24 because of left elbow inflammation. Morris has missed the last three months because of a herniated lumbar disk in his back.UP NEXTRHP Kenta Maeda (14-8) starts Sundays series finale for the Dodgers and RHP Jose Urena (3-6) hprd for the Marlins. 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