Pence's tear continues as Giants sweep D-backs

Pence's tear continues as Giants sweep D-backs

PHOENIX -- Hunter Pence concluded a torrid series with a two-run double in Sunday's seventh inning that fattened San Francisco's slender lead and backed Matt Moore's 11-strikeout performance as the Giants completed a three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks with a 5-3 decision at Chase Field.

Trailing, 2-1, the Giants reversed matters by scoring twice in the sixth inning and adding another pair of runs in the seventh. Brandon Belt highlighted the sixth with a single that scored the tying run after Arizona starter Zack Greinke walked the bases loaded. One inning later, Pence delivered the hit that improved his series batting average to .727 (8-for-11).

Moore, who matched his personal best for strikeouts in a game, got the better of Greinke, who entered the game with a 9-1 career mark against the Giants.

"He was very good, his fastball. I kept hearing guys talk about it, had a lot of life today," D-backs manager Chip Hale said of Moore. "It was jumping on them, and breaking ball and changeup were effective. I thought we did a good job getting the two runs off of him, and with your ace on the mound you feel pretty good about that, but it didn't work out."

Moore fans career-high 11 in road trip finale

The outcome left San Francisco 1 1/2 games ahead of the Mets and two games ahead of the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card race. The Giants also trimmed their NL West deficit to three games behind first-place Los Angeles, which lost in Miami on Sunday.

The Giants will now return home, where they'll play 13 of their final 20 games. Giants catcher Buster Posey said that sweeping the D-backs "gave us good momentum" as the ballclub approaches its stay at AT&T Park.

"At this point, every game is crucial," he added.

Pence getting hot at just right time

Belt brings it: San Francisco's first baseman has endured a rough second half, entering Sunday with a .216 batting average since the All-Star break. But Belt provided encouragement along with some much-needed offense by lining Greinke's 0-2 curveball to left for an opposite-field RBI single that tied the score, 2-2, in the sixth inning.

Despite Belt's struggles, Bochy said that the six-year veteran "has a good approach at the plate. That's why he has the walks [a team-high 90]. You'd like to see him avoid the strikeouts [132, another team high] and put the ball in play."

Belt's RBI single

Better for Greinke: Coming off one of his worst career starts, Greinke was much improved. After allowing a homer to Denard Span to lead off the game, Greinke kept the Giants off the board until the sixth, when his command seemed to fail him and he issued four walks (one intentional) and allowed a pair of runs.

"The leadoff home run, Span did a good job on that ball, and then [Greinke] was good after that until the sixth," Hale said. More >

Greinke works out of a jam

Closer du jour: Having declared that he'll probably select his closer each day depending on matchups and who's on a roll, Bochy entrusted Sunday's lead to Hunter Strickland, who finished the eighth inning and fended off the D-backs in the ninth after pinch-hitter Socrates Brito drilled a leadoff double.

Asked whether he was told he might receive a chance to close, Strickland responded that nobody addressed the issue with him.

"They just said, 'Be ready,'" Strickland said. "I'm up for anything. It's fun. I love the pressure. But my job's the same whether it's the fourth inning or the ninth inning."

Strickland closes the door

Triple Lamb: Jake Lamb's triple in the second inning gave him nine for the season and tied him for the NL lead in that category. Lamb wound up scoring when Brandon Drury followed with a single to center, tying the game at 1.

Drury's RBI single

The three-game winning streak by the Giants marks the first time they've won three consecutive games since they swept a three-game series from the D-backs on July 8-10 as part of a four-game streak.

Span's leadoff homer

Giants: San Francisco plays 13 of its final 20 games at home, including a seven-game homestand beginning Monday with the opener of a three-game series against San Diego. Jeff Samardzija will start the 7:15 p.m. PT contest for the Giants against San Diego right-hander Paul Clemens.

D-backs: Shelby Miller will make his third start since since being recalled from Triple-A Reno, and his first at Chase Field, on Monday night when the Rockies come to town. Miller allowed five runs (four earned) on 11 hits in 4 1/3 innings against the Dodgers in his last start.

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Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for 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.