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Moore sees positives in improved starts

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

LOS ANGELES -- Matt Moore is looking forward to repeating the past, as athletes facing a challenge tend to do.

Pitching 6 1/3 capable innings in the Giants' 6-4 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night encouraged Moore, who'd like to finish this season like last year's.

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LOS ANGELES -- Matt Moore is looking forward to repeating the past, as athletes facing a challenge tend to do.

Pitching 6 1/3 capable innings in the Giants' 6-4 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night encouraged Moore, who'd like to finish this season like last year's.

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Moore lost his first three decisions last year after joining the Giants in a Trade Deadline deal from Tampa Bay, then won six of his next eight starts to help the Giants reach the postseason. Though "postseason" is a memory for the Giants, Moore still has time to salvage his campaign and propel himself into 2018 with momentum if he can duplicate efforts like this one more frequently.

This was Moore's third decent start in a row. He began the second half by allowing four runs (two earned) in seven innings against Cleveland, then limiting San Diego to four runs over six innings in a Giants victory.

"I've felt better about what was coming out and the prospects heading into the game," said Moore, who's 3-10 with a 5.74 ERA overall. "I think that moving forward, while I didn't finish very strong, I think the work in the middle was fine and it's something to build off of."

Moore limited the Dodgers, one of baseball's most offensively potent teams, to two hits and two runs (one unearned) through six innings. His magic deserted him in the seventh, when the Dodgers scored four runs to wrest control of the game from the Giants. But Moore made his impact nevertheless.

"I thought I had a good curveball," Moore said. "I thought I had decent command. The cutter was going where I wanted it to."

Moore's evening began in ominous fashion when Corey Seager, the second hitter he faced, lofted a home run to left field. Opposing left-handed batters -- that is, those who hit from Seager's side -- entered the game with a Major League-high 1.082 OPS.

Moore responded by retiring 11 of the next 12 hitters he faced. This stretch was besmirched only by Joc Pederson, who dribbled a single in front of the plate.

Moore vanished in the seventh after yielding Pederson's one-out double. The left-hander walked Austin Barnes on four pitches to open the inning.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy wanted to stick with Moore as long as he could. But, said Bochy, "once he hung a breaking ball [to Pederson]. ... We had a fresh 'pen with the day off."

The Dodgers flexed their muscles against Giants relievers as they have done against most opponents all year. But that didn't dash Moore's hopes.

"The results haven't been there quite yet," he said. "But -- you probably hear this a lot -- the process of getting to the result is getting a lot smoother. It's cleaner. I feel like the stuff that's coming out has been more consistent. It's been swing-and-miss stuff at times, which earlier in the year maybe it wasn't, which tells me maybe I'm getting some of the things back that used to be in there. I feel good where I'm at right now."

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, Matt Moore