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Giants gain valuable insight after tight series

Performances of Arroyo, Moore among reasons for optimism
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SAN FRANCISCO -- From the Giants' perspective, their four-game series against the Dodgers was less about rivalry and more about discovery. The Giants learned plenty about themselves while splitting the series, which ended Thursday in a 5-1, 10-inning setback at AT&T Park.

San Francisco's performance in this series eased, as well as raised, concerns. The calendar has not hit May, so it's still early enough in the season for that sort of thing. Here's a brief list of this week's lessons:

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SAN FRANCISCO -- From the Giants' perspective, their four-game series against the Dodgers was less about rivalry and more about discovery. The Giants learned plenty about themselves while splitting the series, which ended Thursday in a 5-1, 10-inning setback at AT&T Park.

San Francisco's performance in this series eased, as well as raised, concerns. The calendar has not hit May, so it's still early enough in the season for that sort of thing. Here's a brief list of this week's lessons:

View Full Game Coverage

Arroyo's a keeper: The rookie third baseman handled himself like a 10-year veteran during his first Major League series. Christian Arroyo delivered big hits, played slick defense and, most of all, remained poised. When the Dodgers intentionally walked Buster Posey to pitch to him in the sixth inning, Arroyo responded in the best possible way: He lined an RBI single.

Video: LAD@SF: Arroyo's single plates Belt

Arroyo is batting .250 (4-for-16), but given his line-drive power and authoritative contact, it seems like .350.

"He's shown he's not in awe of anything or overwhelmed by being in the big leagues, who he's facing, the upper decks, the bright lights -- he comes to play," manager Bruce Bochy gushed.

As is the case with San Francisco's other promising farm-system products, Arroyo has quickly proven that he understands his purpose. "Obviously," he said, "it's about winning up here."

Moore rebounds: After prompting worry by allowing 11 runs and 19 hits spanning 9 2/3 innings in his previous two starts, Matt Moore regained his form Thursday. He looked as efficient as his statistical line (one run and two hits allowed in seven innings) indicated.

Moore said he maintained "a nice mix of being in a good rhythm and being aggressive in the zone. I gave up some hard-hit balls today. Luckily guys were standing close. It was a good day, something to build on moving forward."

'Pen has potential: The Giants' relievers, maligned as shaky and tentative, often looked efficient and assertive. They relapsed on Thursday, issuing three unintentional 10th-inning walks to hasten the Dodgers' winning rally. "Unraveled" was the term Bochy used.

Video: LAD@SF: Taylor works a bases-loaded walk in the 10th

The bullpen's road ERA is frozen at an unsightly 5.57 until next week. But Hunter Strickland, George Kontos and friends have been able to get the ball to closer Mark Melancon in position to win.

"I know it's early, but I will say it looks like they're starting to get settled in," Bochy said, citing Derek Law's improved command and other factors reflecting the relievers' "sense of comfort."

Start scoring: The Giants (8-15) have scored fewer than four runs -- an essential part of their formula for winning -- in 13 of their 23 games. They'd be much closer to .500 or even above that level with a more productive, consistent offense.

Arroyo's arrival should help. But he can't bolster the Giants by himself.

"When you score one run, it's tough to win ballgames," Bochy said, referring to Thursday's output. "We've got to get this offense going. It's a better offense than what we're doing."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

San Francisco Giants