Homestand builds SF's confidence, momentum

Giants work on offensive production, post 5-2 record ahead of road trip

Homestand builds SF's confidence, momentum

SAN FRANCISCO -- Almost lost in the fuss over the Johnny Cueto-Yasmani Grandal heavyweight bout that never developed was one simple fact:

The Giants finished 5-2 on their homestand, building a five-game winning streak that ended with Wednesday's 6-1 defeat at the hands of the Dodgers.

Over the course of a season, this surge would be a modest achievement. Yet given the depth and breadth of its struggles entering the past week, manager Bruce Bochy's club could legitimately feel relieved while packing for the upcoming seven-game trip to St. Louis and Chicago.

The Giants (17-25) can't entertain ambitious goals such as returning to the postseason until they climb to the .500 mark. At least for now, they bore a passing resemblance to a contender.

"It was a really nice homestand for us," Bochy said. "It's a start. The thing I do like about this team is the sense of confidence. Despite some injuries, we've had some guys fill in and do a nice job."

Consistency remains elusive for the Giants, especially among the starting pitchers. San Francisco owns a 3.12 ERA at home, third-best in the National League. But its 5.82 road ERA ranks next-to-last in the NL.

Bochy hopes that the members of the pitching staff can do whatever's necessary to bring their home success with them on the road. "We're not asking [pitchers] to shut them out," Bochy said, but he did caution, "Stay away from the big innings." That was a particular shortcoming from May 2-6, when the Giants allowed 13 runs or more in three of four games.

San Francisco's offense remains a work in progress. The Giants mustered 27 runs in six games during the homestand, barely reaching the per-game average of four that separates success from failure. They're 12-6 when they score four runs or more.

The Giants still aren't producing runs steadily. They scored 16 runs in two games, eight each night, but they eked out 11 runs in the other five games.

The Giants' upcoming trip offers them an opportunity to prove themselves against quality pitching. St. Louis, which ranks second in the NL in ERA, and Chicago, fourth in the league in that category, are guaranteed to test San Francisco's hitters.

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.