PHILADELPHIA — The Giants could have stashed Matt Moore in a downtown hotel room for two days after Monday’s trade, using the roster spot for an extra reliever. But general manager Bobby Evans wanted Moore to get comfortable with his new teammates, so the left-hander was activated right away and spent Tuesday and Wednesday night on the bench, watching the Giants fall to the Phillies in games started by Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto.
It wasn’t exactly the start Moore was expecting when he traded a last-place team for one in first, but he enjoyed those two days nonetheless. As Moore got to know his new teammates, he found the same mindset in every corner of the clubhouse.
“I get the vibe that something good is always right about to happen,” he said. “They believe it. I don’t see that panic. They know that something right here is about to go our way.”
On Thursday, something finally did. Denard Span hit a screamer just inside the right-field foul pole in the top of the 10th and the Giants salvaged a win on their final day in Philadelphia.
This was mostly another quiet day for the lineup, but Moore kept the Giants right there, mixing a mid 90s fastball with a curve that Bochy described as “plus-plus.” Moore said he likes to establish the fastball early, and he threw 72 of them in all, averaging 94.5 mph and maxing out at 96. He also threw 33 curveballs, 24 of which were strikes.
“I didn’t realize the curve was that good,” said Span, who had a direct view from center field. “That’s the equalizer. I don’t think anyone put a good swing on it all day.”
Moore struck out seven and allowed just three hits, but he also walked six. He said he was a little “too geared up” in the first, when he walked two and allowed a run. Both pitchers certainly dealt with a tight zone, and Bochy noted that Moore was around the plate all day.
“Some of those pitches were close, man,” he said. “He wasn’t far off. It wasn’t like he was wild wild. Those were borderline pitches.”
Moore gave up two runs in his six innings and Hunter Strickland and Derek Law followed with scoreless frames. Will Smith and Sergio Romo teamed up for a scoreless ninth, with an assist from Trevor Brown, who threw Cesar Hernandez out at second to end the inning. (Romo became the first Giant since Tyler Walker in 2005 to get a win without officially facing a batter.)
Bochy was running out of fresh arms at that point after playing 12 innings the night before, but Span made it a moot point. His solo shot gave him seven hits in the series.
“It’s August — so now or never,” Span said. “But it felt good today. The last month or so, I’ve been feeling like myself. I’m moving around and chasing fly balls better. The weather is starting to get a little warmer and I’m hoping this points to a good direction for me.”
The weather will be much toastier in Washington D.C. this weekend, and it’s a homecoming for Span, the former National who has dealt with injuries for chunks of his first season in orange and black. He said that didn’t provide extra motivation on this road trip, and the addition of Eduardo Núñez, a potential leadoff hitter, didn’t either. Span admitted the thought did cross his mind that he could be in a platoon, but ...
“I don’t need motivation,” he said. “I’ve been in this game long enough. I’m my own hardest critic.”
There wasn’t much to pick at Thursday. Span singled twice, drove in a run with a sac fly, and hit the game-winning homer. Afterward, the clubhouse thumped with the victory soundtrack for just the second time in the second half.
“If you’re going to win one,” Bochy said with a smile, “I think the last one is the one to win.”