BOSTON -- The Giants felt free to regard Wednesday's 11-7 Interleague loss to the Boston Red Sox as a moral victory, though nobody has yet developed a column for that kind of game in the standings.
Given their woes since the All-Star break, performing competitively and interrupting their offensive funk had to encourage the Giants, though they matched a season high as their losing streak lengthened to five games.
"I can't say enough for how these guys battled," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "They didn't quit. They kept coming. If we keep fighting like we're doing, we'll come out of it."
The determination Bochy cited was particularly evident after San Francisco fell behind, 8-0, through three innings. The Giants responded with seven runs in the fourth and fifth innings, thrilling the legions of Giants fans in the season-high Fenway Park crowd of 38,201.
Entering the game with a .197 batting average since the All-Star break, the Giants amassed 15 hits as each member of the lineup collected at least one.
"That's a great sign to see how they fought with this little rut we're in," Bochy said. "To get down eight runs and come back like that shows a lot of heart."
Yet while the Giants' momentum continued to simmer, it didn't quite boil over. They loaded the bases with nobody out in the sixth and couldn't score, then staged another fruitless rally in the seventh when Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes fanned Brandon Belt with two on and two out.
The sixth inning hinged on the outcome of Bochy's decision to use Gregor Blanco as a pinch-hitter for Mac Williamson, whose three-run homer opened San Francisco's scoring in the fourth inning.
Bochy reasoned that Blanco has been his best hitter off the bench. Also, the right-handed Barnes had just entered the game, giving San Francisco a platoon edge with the left-handed-swinging Blanco. Furthermore, Blanco might have had a better chance of simply making contact than Williamson, who struck out in his other two plate appearances.
"He's the guy I wanted up there," Bochy said of Blanco, who proceeded to ground into a double play that was highlighted by a sliding Belt being thrown out at home. The Giants challenged the call, but the call stood.
Williamson, a rookie, understood Bochy's logic.
"Blanco's a great pinch-hitter," said Williamson. "He's proven it time and time again. He's a veteran. [Bochy] was going with the odds there."
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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.