PHOENIX -- Matt Moore said it took him three or four starts to get fully used to being a Giant, to not blink when he looked down and saw orange shoes or looked up and saw Buster Posey's glove.
It took considerably longer for Moore to see the normal version of the Giants' lineup.
Finally, the Giants are hitting like they are used to. A 5-3 victory over Zack Greinke and the Diamondbacks clinched a series sweep, the first of the second half. The Giants had 23 runs and 39 hits over three days at Chase Field, consistently tacking on.
“I’ve seen a lot of stubborn at-bats on our side and a lot of tough at-bats, a lot of guys up there battling through good pitches,” Moore said. “I don’t think you can hold back a lineup like this for too long. There’s going to be a boiling point.”
That point was this weekend, and Moore made sure Sunday’s production didn't go to waste. Given the lead, he showed the Giants his best. After a long two-run rally made it 3-2 in the sixth, Moore struck out the side on just 11 pitches. His fastball sat at 95 mph during the impressive display.
“It’s one of those moments when the momentum, you want to keep it on your side,” Moore said. “There was a lot of conviction there in that inning.”
For the first time since the All-Star break, the Giants have momentum. Their three-game winning streak is the longest since a sweep of the Diamondbacks at the end of the first half. The trip was brutal at times — and dramatic — but the Giants finished 5-5 on a tour through Chicago, Denver and Phoenix. The rest of their regular season will be spent in California, and they are still just three back of the Dodgers in the National League West.
“This was a huge series for us,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “To salvage a .500 road trip after some very difficult losses made the trip not too bad.”
More than the record, the Giants figured some things out during this trip. Hunter Pence became a force at the plate, and he drove in two more runs Sunday to cap a huge series. There were signs of life all around him. Denard Span has three hits in 37 at-bats since the last time he was home, but one of them was a leadoff homer Sunday that jolted a dugout. The Giants have not had that kind of success against Greinke in the past.
Brandon Belt showed a good approach by poking an 0-2 curveball into left for an RBI. Posey had much better swings over the weekend, and he had two hits Sunday and a 400-foot fly to center that nearly ended his lengthy streak without a homer.
The Giants believe the lineup will be fine, and they might finally have a better solution for the ninth, too. Bochy talked to Santiago Casilla and told him he would try to find a spot earlier in the game for Casilla to get back to a comfort level. That left the ninth open, and the plan was for Hunter Strickland to fill the void. Instead, Strickland was needed in the eighth as the Diamondbacks tried to build a rally.
He struck out Brandon Drury on a 97 mph two-seamer. In the ninth, Strickland allowed just a broken-bat double. Afterward, he said he’s up to the challenge of getting the final out.
“I’m up for anything,” Strickland said, adding that he loves the pressure of the ninth.
If the Giants play it right, Strickland should get a few more opportunities this week. The lowly Padres are coming into town with a patchwork rotation, giving the Giants another chance for a big series — and some revenge on the team that started this second-half slide. Then they’ll host the Cardinals for four.
The sweep allowed the Giants to get back to a 1 1/2 game lead over the Mets in the Wild Card race. They are two up on St. Louis.
“This gives us good momentum going home,” Posey said. “At this point, every game is crucial, which is always a lot of fun. They all count the same no matter what, but we tend to put more emphasis on the last three weeks. That’s what makes it fun.”