PHOENIX -- The Giants are heading to high-altitude Colorado with perhaps the perfect prescription for Coors Field.Their bullpen is rested. Their offense is rolling after the work it has done the last four games. And the road has smoothed considerably.The Giants rapped out 16 hits while completing a sweep of
PHOENIX -- The Giants are heading to high-altitude Colorado with perhaps the perfect prescription for Coors Field.
Their bullpen is rested. Their offense is rolling after the work it has done the last four games. And the road has smoothed considerably.
The Giants rapped out 16 hits while completing a sweep of National League West leader Arizona with a 9-6 victory at Chase Field on Sunday. They are the only team that has taken a series from the D-backs since May 28, and they have done it twice to get within 2 1/2 games of the division lead.
"We feel like we are in a good rhythm," said Hunter Pence, who contributed a key pinch-hit double in a four-run fifth inning that gave Giants an 8-3 lead.
"We feel like we are working on all cylinders, and that's momentum. We feel it right now."
Joe Panik and Brandon Belt had two hits and two RBIs apiece and Nick Hundley had three hits as the offense continued a recent trend. The Giants have at least 12 hits in three of their last four games, including an even dozen in a 7-0 victory Saturday when none of their late-inning relievers were needed.
Manager Bruce Bochy dipped into the back end of the his bullpen Sunday, using Sam Dyson, Tony Watson and Will Smith after a Paul Goldschmidt homer brought Arizona within 8-5 in the seventh inning, but the group will head to Colorado not overly taxed.
"Pence, that was a huge hit," Bochy said.
"Pitching. Timely hitting, too. Our defense. Everything. You win all three, you better play really good ball, especially against this team. The bullpen. Overall a really great series."
The Giants, who entered the series with an NL-low 16 road victories, became the second team with a sweep in Arizona this season. They have a four-game road winning streak after taking the final game of a series in Dodger Stadium on June 17.
"The Giants are a hot team right now," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said.
"You can just tell by the way they're approaching the ball. You can tell by the way they're grinding out at-bats. They had a really good game plan today against Zack Godley. They put a lot of pressure on our pitchers throughout the weekend."
Next up, a Colorado team that took two of three from the Dodgers over the weekend to close to within six games of Arizona in the NL West. The Giants and Dodgers are in a virtual tie, 2 1/2 games back with two weeks to play before the All-Star break.
Bochy pointed to the six-game trip as an important step before finishing the pre-break schedule with a 10-game homestand.
"You are playing a team in front of you and a team that is playing well, it is important that we play well," Bochy said.
"You just don't want to create such an uphill climb. This team in here is focused and really playing great baseball."
The sweep in Arizona was an indicator of the Giants' ability to rise to the occasion. They have swept NL East-leading Atlanta on the road and have taken two of three at the Angels and at Washington.
"It says a lot about this club that they can make their play when they need to," Bochy said.
"Some things are hard to explain, but these guys knew they had to come in here and play well."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Acrobats get the out: Belt and right-hander Cory Gearrin combined on a nifty play to get the Giants out of a bases-loaded situation in the fourth inning to maintain their 4-3 lead.
With two outs, Christian Walker hit a grounder behind the first-base bag that Belt caught on a hop and shoveled a throw to Gearrin, who reached up and caught the throw just ahead of Walker.
Pence described it best: "That was a very difficult play. [Belt] covered a lot of ground. Had to do the jump-hook-shot throw to Cory, and Cory had to be the wide receiver flying through the air. That's a much tougher play than it looks. That's a big, big play in the game."
What a relief it is: Left-hander Smith struck out Jake Lamb with runners on second and third in the ninth inning for his second save of the series and second of the season, and while he appears to be the closer du jour, nothing is official.
"We're going to use everybody," Bochy said. "They are all late-inning guys. Once we get to that point with [lefty] Lamb up, that was a no-brainer. I like the fact we have these guys that are interchangeable. They can pitch the seventh, eighth. Even the sixth. We'll mix it up."
Dyson, who failed to hold an 8-7 lead in the ninth inning of a 9-8 loss to Colorado on Thursday, pitched the seventh inning Sunday. Watson pitched in the eighth inning in a 2-1 victory Friday and pitched the eighth again Sunday. Reyes Moronta had the seventh inning Friday.
"We all kind of consider ourselves closers down there," Smith said. "You're either the closer of the sixth inning or the closer of the seventh inning or the closer of the eighth inning. Just one guy happens to throw the ninth.
"I feel like as a bullpen if everybody keeps that mentality, everybody will stay sharp and just try to hand it to the next guy. It's as simple as that."
HE SAID IT
"I'm good. My hand was numb. Nothing serious. A little scared, but it's fine." -- Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who was removed from the game in the bottom of the third inning after being struck in the right elbow in his plate appearance in the top of the inning
Madison Bumgarner will start in Colorado on Monday for the first time since that skid on a rented dirt bike cost him two months of the 2017 season. He enters the clash with the Rockies riding a 16-inning scoreless streak, including eight shutout innings in a win over San Diego on June 21 and seven in a no-decision against the Rockies on Wednesday. Colorado counters with Kyle Freeland, who's 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA in three starts against the Giants this season.
Jack Magruder is a contributor to MLB.com based in Phoenix.