The Giants furthered their cause Tuesday with their third consecutive victory, a 3-2, 10-inning decision over the Padres at Petco Park. Evan Longoria tripled off reliever Phil Maton to open the 10th and scored on Brandon Crawford's single to break a 2-2 tie.
"We have the guys to win," Longoria said. "We need a hot streak to be right back in this thing."
Giants director of baseball operations Brian Sabean appreciated the players' belief in themselves and what they can accomplish with management's support. "We hope we get a bounce," Sabean said.
The Giants are only one game over .500 (55-54), but such records matter little as long as a team remains mathematically in contention.
"Without sounding flip," Sabean said, "it's not how good you are, it's how well you play."
Few Giants have performed as well as Dereck Rodriguez. The rookie right-hander wasn't involved in the decision, but again paved the way for a victory, matching a personal best by working seven innings. He allowed one run and three hits while walking three and striking out seven. His 2.59 ERA tops all NL rookie starters.
Rodriguez has solidified the starting rotation while establishing himself as a legitimate NL Rookie of the Year Award candidate. He noted with some amusement that the Rookie of the Year Award is among the few baseball honors that his father, Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, never claimed.
Against San Diego, Rodriguez took a fresh step by throwing a career-high 112 pitches. "It's going to be fun to see how my body reacts," he said.
The Giants might have been reluctant to discover how their top relievers would react physically after working overtime during the club's winning streak. Reyes Moronta threw the eighth inning after pitching two frames on Monday. Tony Watson has appeared in three consecutive games. So has closer Will Smith.
Fortunately for the Giants, Wednesday is a scheduled off-day.
"You've heard me say many times that we need a day off," manager Bruce Bochy said. "But never like we do right now."
SOUND SMART The Giants recorded their fourth series sweep of the year and the first since taking three in a row from Arizona at Chase Field -- their next stop -- from June 29 to July 1.
HE SAID IT "I don't think I've thrown that many pitches in my life. That was a good one." -- Rodriguez, after flinging a personal-high 112 pitches against San Diego
UP NEXT Following Wednesday's scheduled off-day, the Giants will visit the D-backs for a key four-game series beginning Thursday at Chase Field. It'll be a challenge for San Francisco, which is separated from the first-place Dodgers in the NL West by both Arizona and Colorado. Left-hander Madison Bumgarner, who will start the series opener for the Giants, is winless in his last four outings against the Rockies despite a 2.67 ERA in that span. First pitch is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. PT. No starter has been announced for the D-backs.