SAN FRANCISCO -- After nearly five months of hand-wringing and head-scratching, lefty Matt Moore is finally pitching the way the Giants expected him to.It's far too late to salvage San Francisco's season, but Moore's performance during Wednesday's 4-2 win over Milwaukee was indicative of how well he's been throwing lately.Moore
SAN FRANCISCO -- After nearly five months of hand-wringing and head-scratching, lefty Matt Moore is finally pitching the way the Giants expected him to.
It's far too late to salvage San Francisco's season, but Moore's performance during Wednesday's 4-2 win over Milwaukee was indicative of how well he's been throwing lately.
Moore (aka "Matty Moe" during Players Weekend) allowed one run on five hits over six-plus innings in one of his most effective outings of the year. While he didn't factor in the decision -- the Giants scored three runs after Moore was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the seventh -- it did mark his third consecutive strong outing.
Not a bad bounceback for Moore, who went 1-8 from May 24-Aug. 7.
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"It's about how you finish in this game," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I think it's a case where less is more. He's backed off a little bit, he's not overthrowing. He's using all his pitches. He's got a good changeup going along with the curveball and the cutter and using the fastball still, effectively, to both sides."
Milwaukee scored its run off Moore in the first on a pair of doubles from Domingo Santana and Travis Shaw. The Brewers managed just two runners past first base against Moore after that, including one who advanced on an error by first baseman Ryder Jones.
Moore was pulled after walking Milwaukee's No. 5 hitter, catcher Manny Pina, to open the seventh. It was the one time all afternoon when Moore felt as if he were slipping into old habits.
"All day, I didn't feel like I overthrew until that at-bat," Moore said. "Probably just getting back to overthrowing, gripping a little too tight and wanting to make it happen before it's going to."
Since a rough outing against the Cubs on Aug. 7, Moore has been the Giants' most effective pitcher. He's got 19 strikeouts in his past 20 1/3 innings, covering three starts, and he has a 2.21 ERA over that span.
Considering how Moore's season had been going, some might call his recent stretch bittersweet. Moore, however, says his focus is finishing the season on a positive note.
"I can't take back some of those losses and putting us in a hole at certain times," Moore said. "It's just as important to focus up and try to finish as strong as you can. We can't take any of the numbers off the board that have already happened but for me, five weeks left, I'm trying to build up something I can sit on for the wintertime and think about heading into Spring Training.
"I'm through being frustrated with the way the first few months went, but it's something that I think I'm better off for."
Michael Wagaman is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area.