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Rodriguez adds to Giants' tough choices

Special to MLB.com

PHOENIX -- This rotation thing may be getting complicated. Good-complicated.

On Saturday, right-hander Dereck Rodriguez became the second San Francisco rookie in as many nights to make his case for a continued spot in the rotation, even as the return of Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija is imminent.

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PHOENIX -- This rotation thing may be getting complicated. Good-complicated.

On Saturday, right-hander Dereck Rodriguez became the second San Francisco rookie in as many nights to make his case for a continued spot in the rotation, even as the return of Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija is imminent.

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Rodriguez threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings and was backed by homers from Brandon Crawford, Andrew McCutchen and Joe Panik in a 7-0 victory over Arizona, the Giants' ninth win in their last 11 games.

Video: SF@ARI: Panik drives a solo homer to right field

Rodriguez, who made his first start June 3, has given up six runs in 25 innings over his last four starts, with two wins and two no-decisions in Giants victories.

The present has been solid.

The future is not something to sweat.

"I don't think about that," Rodriguez said. "Just go out there and do what I know how to do best, and that's pitch good games. Whatever happens happens. I'm just enjoying myself right now.

"Whatever they decide, that's their decision."

Rodriguez's outing continued a streak of strong Giants pitching performances, including a 2-1 victory by fellow rookie Andrew Suarez on Friday in the first game of the series at Arizona.

The Giants have given up two runs or fewer in five of their last six games, and Rodriguez has had a hand in two of them. He gave up four hits and one run in seven innings of a no-decision in a 3-2, 11-inning victory over San Diego on Sunday.

Rodriguez gave up six hits, struck out five and walked two Saturday, when the Giants took their second straight series from the D-backs, the only opponent to have won a series from Arizona in its last 10.

The Giants took two of three from the D-backs at AT&T Park from June 4-6. Arizona is 6-0-2 in its other eight series since May 28.

D-backs right-hander Shelby Miller, making his second start since returning from Tommy John surgery, gave up six runs in five innings, including four in the third when San Francisco batted around.

Video: SF@ARI: Crawford crushes a solo homer to right-center

The Giants are embracing the options that Rodriguez and Suarez present as they prepare to welcome back Cueto and Samardzija. Cueto will throw a bullpen session Monday in Sacramento, after which his next start -- rehab or Majors -- will be determined. Samardzija could rejoin the rotation as early as next weekend after a Monday rehab start, his fourth.

"I can't tell you what we are going to do," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We'll answer that when we have to. Just proud of these kids, the way they are pitching. Come into this park and throw the ball like that, that's impressive.

"We want our guys back, but at the same time when they are throwing like this, it does give you the luxury of making sure that the guys are ready. Depth is going to be so important. We're only at the halfway point. You never know what can happen. This has been great the way Suarez and Rodriguez have come up and handled themselves."

Rodriguez mixed four pitches, and threw some cut fastballs later in the game to keep the D-backs from honing in.

"We knew that it would be front to back with that changeup," Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. "He started to throw a curveball and a cutter in the middle innings and it seemed like he had four pitches working. His fastball was in two different areas, three different areas of the plate. So it was one of those special days where I feel like he had everything going in a really good direction."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
D-ing it up: The Giants used a couple of nice defensive plays to keep the D-backs at bay while the game was close early.

Left fielder Alen Hanson bobbled David Peralta's double down the left-field line with two outs in the first inning but recovered in time to make a quick throw back to the infield to catch Arizona baserunner Jake Lamb off third base.

Video: SF@ARI: Lamb overruns third, gets caught in rundown

Center fielder Gorkys Hernandez cut off Ketel Marte's single to left-center with one out in the second inning and threw a strike to Panik at second to retire Marte attempting to stretch it into a double.

"That does so much for the pitchers when you make plays like that," Bochy said. "Saves pitches. Gets guys off base. Defense played a big role."

Video: SF@ARI: Hernandez cuts down Marte at second base

Going deep: Crawford hammered a curveball into the seats to open the scoring in the second inning, and that bought him enough respect to earn a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk to drive in the first run of the four-run third inning.

Video: SF@ARI: Crawford walks to force in a run

Pablo Sandoval followed Crawford's walk with the biggest hit in the third, a single up the middle on a 95 mph fastball to drive in the middle two runs.

Video: SF@ARI: Sandoval plates 2 with single to center

SOUND SMART
The Giants had three homers in a game for the first time since they hit four against the D-backs on June 4 (McCutchen, Crawford, Sandoval and Nick Hundley).

Video: SF@ARI: McCutchen drives a solo homer to right-center

HE SAID IT
"I think they are gaining confidence and we are able to come up with a game plan and they are able to execute it. It's been fun to watch the progression, and hopefully much more of that to come." -- catcher Buster Posey, on what he has seen from Rodriguez and Suarez in recent starts

UP NEXT
The Giants will look to keep rolling after their best month in two years when left-hander Derek Holland starts the final game of a three-game series at Arizona on Sunday. Holland is coming off arguably his best start of the season, giving up one run and striking out a season-high eight in a season-high 6 2/3 innings of a 3-2 victory over Colorado.

Jack Magruder is a contributor to MLB.com based in Phoenix.

San Francisco Giants, Brandon Crawford, Andrew McCutchen, Joe Panik, Dereck Rodriguez