PHOENIX -- Declaring that the San Francisco Giants have returned to full strength might be a tad premature. But they're taking the necessary steps that lead to a significant leap forward, as their 11-3 victory Saturday over the Arizona Diamondbacks illustrated.
The Giants continued to regain offensive strength, amassing 19 hits one night after collecting 12 hits Friday. This is the same club that batted .099 while mustering 16 hits in the first five games of its three-city, 10-game trip that ends Sunday. San Francisco provided ample support for right-hander Johnny Cueto (15-5), who allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings.
"Heart of the order, middle of the order, they all swung the bats well," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
San Francisco leads the Cardinals by a game and the Mets by 1 1/2 games in the National League Wild Card standings. The Giants, who won a second consecutive road game for the first time since June 30-July 1, remained four games behind first-place Los Angeles in the NL West.
The Giants might have begun to feel the healthy sense of urgency that propelled them to the postseason -- and World Series titles -- in 2010, 2012 and 2014.
"We have to do what we can to win each game," Bochy said. "That's the stage we're in right now."
D-backs starter Archie Bradley (6-9) took the loss, allowing five runs on eight hits in three innings -- his shortest outing of the year.
"They put together good at-bats and when I missed my spots, they made me pay for it," Bradley said. "I made some pretty decent pitches, but they just put better swings on them."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Good for laughs: Cueto provided one of the season's most hilarious moments when he lined his bases-loaded, third-inning RBI single. As he trotted to first, he windmilled his right arm as if he were a third-base coach, urging more runners to come home. As it turned out, Brandon Crawford was the only runner to score on Cueto's seventh hit of the year. But Cueto did what he could to produce more runs.
The Giants led only 3-1 when Cueto connected.
"That's a big run at that point in the game," Bochy said. More »
Long time between homers:Peter O'Brien's pinch-hit homer in the third was his first homer since June 21 and it came in his first at-bat since being recalled from Triple-A Reno. O'Brien was called up from Reno and got consistent playing time from June 10-29, but hit just .132, and after a few pinch-hit appearances he was optioned back to Reno.
"He just does his job and works hard during BP," D-backs manager Chip Hale said. "When he's called upon, he's ready. He's had some home runs off some really good pitchers up here."
Pence produces:Hunter Pence continued to lead the Giants' offensive resurgence, scoring four runs for the second game in a row. David Wright of the Mets was the last player to accomplish the feat, doing so on Aug. 23-24, 2005.
Pence, who has reached base safely in 10 of 11 plate appearances in the series' first two games, became the first Giants player to score four runs in back-to-back games since Fred Snodgrass on June 4-5, 1912.
The Giants right fielder said he happens to be getting "a lot of ground-attack infield hits. Then the ball finds a hole. That's baseball. The ebbs and flows you have sometimes. You hit 'em at 'em and then sometimes you don't. Just trying to have good at-bats and try to feel good and try to go out there and compete to win."
Pence already has tied a franchise record for most runs scored in a three-game series. Four other Giants amassed eight runs in a three-game set: Melky Cabrera (Aug. 3-5, 2012, at Colorado), Jim Ray Hart (July 11-13, 1968, at Cincinnati), Jim Davenport (Sept. 12-13, 1958, at Philadelphia) and Heinie Groh (May 31-June 2, 1923, at Philadelphia).
Corbin's impressive relief: D-backs left-hander Patrick Corbin had one of his most impressive relief outings as he worked three scoreless innings to keep the Giants at bay. Corbin, who was removed from the starting rotation in mid-August, has a 1.93 ERA over his last five appearances.
"Patrick did a great job tonight, a great three innings," Hale said. "He gave up some hits, some guys got on, but he got the double-play ball and just pitched around it. It was very impressive."
REPLAY REVIEW Brandon Belt's eighth-inning drive off the overhang in center was ruled a home run by the umpiring crew. However, after a crew-chief replay review, it was determined that the ball did not hit above the yellow stripe and Belt was forced to go back to second.
WHAT'S NEXT Giants: Seemingly downtrodden just a few days ago, the Giants will seek a three-game sweep of the D-backs in Sunday's series finale. Left-hander Matt Moore is scheduled to make his eighth start of the season for the Giants in the contest that begins at 1:10 p.m. PT.
D-backs:Zack Greinke will attempt to rebound from a disastrous start against the Dodgers when he takes the Chase Field mound against the Giants at 1:10 p.m. MST in Sunday's series finale between the two teams. Greinke allowed a career-high five home runs last time out in Los Angeles.