SAN FRANCISCO -- In the big picture, Bruce Bochy, Jake Peavy and the rest of the Giants still like the direction they're headed. It's hard to see positives on days like this, though.
Jacob deGrom was brilliant and the Giants made a few costly mistakes while falling 4-1 to the Mets in what was their 11th loss in 16 games. They're 13-23 since May 30, posting the second-worst record in the Majors in large part because the lineup continues to scuffle. Few pitchers in baseball are more underrated than deGrom, and he struck out 10 in eight scoreless innings.
"He was really good," Bochy said. "You've got a guy out there throwing that hard with command and with his other pitches, that's why he's on the All-Star team. When you're going against a guy like this you've got to play perfect ball, and we didn't do it."
One play in particular stuck with Bochy: Justin Maxwell's poor jump on a flare to left in the third inning. Maxwell was thrown out going from second to third and instead of having the bases loaded for Matt Duffy, the Giants had two on with two outs. When Duffy hit a blast that was caught in Triples Alley, deGrom was out of the inning without giving up a run.
"That's a turning point," Bochy said.
[INSTANT REPLAY: Giants dominated by deGrom, lose 4-1 to Mets]
The Giants are still looking for their turning point, but at least they now feel they've found an anchor. A question mark going into the season and for chunks of the first half, the rotation has stabilized. Madison Bumgarner is Madison Bumgarner, Chris Heston has been a big surprise as a rookie and Ryan Vogelsong has a 2.67 ERA since the start of May. A night after they got a strong second start from Matt Cain, the Giants got another good one from Peavy. In his second start back from the DL, Peavy gave up two runs -- only one earned -- in seven innings. He looks, Bochy said, very much like the pitcher who helped carry the staff last August and September.
"When he's healthy, he's like that," Bochy said. "With those two (Peavy and Cain) I'm very pleased with where they're at. I'm encouraged, I really am, at where they're at. Both of them. We'll be a stronger team with those two in the rotation."
The Giants thought this would be the year a deep lineup carried a heavy load for six months, but they scored just four runs in this series and have just nine in the last six games, five of them losses. Bochy insisted that he still has faith.
"I think this is too good an offense not to put runs on the board consistently," he said. "I really do. I really think this club is going to bounce back and this offense is going to get going."
It's a message being echoed by Bochy's hitters.
"It's definitely encouraging," shortstop Brandon Crawford said of Cain and Peavy's returns. "We just need to put up some runs for them."
Against deGrom that was a tough road, and it doesn't get any easier Friday night when Cole Hamels comes into town. The Giants are hopeful their lineup turns it around, and if not, they're hoping their starters start topping the numbers put up by visiting starters. Peavy said he's up for the challenge and he's looking forward to the second half. He wasn't able to lift weights while sidelined by back and hip injuries but recently has returned to a more normal routine and has put on 10 pounds. In theory, the long stints on the DL should leave Peavy and Cain fresh for the second half.
"I feel good. I was excited to get back out there a couple of times before the All-Star break and get my feet wet," Peavy said. ""We hope we can be a big shot in the arm. Me and (Cain) are going to push each other. We know what we've got to be."
So do the hitters. Now they've just got to get there.