The Giants buckled down for a pivotal, 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers, just one night after a ninth-inning meltdown in a 2-1 loss seemed to send the San Francisco into a freefall.
Instead of finding themselves on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, the Giants (80-71) go into Wednesday's action tied with the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals in the National League wild-card race.
They also pulled within five games of the Dodgers in the NL West. So a victory at Chavez Ravine would not only give San Francisco a win in the three-games series but would keep alive the team's hopes in the division, given the Giants host Los Angeles Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 in the final series of the season.
"It's going to be a dogfight the rest of the way," Bochy said after his team snapped a three-game losing streak. "But tonight we grinded one out and got the job done, and that's a good start. It's the type of win you can build on, and we know we have guys who have gotten the job done before."
If they're going to build on that momentum, they've got the right guy on the hill. Lefty Matt Moore carries an 11-11 record, but he has saved his best stuff for the stretch drive. Moore sports a 4-1 record in his past five starts. That included a workmanlike effort in his last start on Friday against St. Louis, in which he allowed two runs in five innings of an 8-2 San Francisco victory.
Even better, he has found success against the Dodgers. Moore is 2-1 in three starts against them this season, holding them scoreless for 15 1/3 innings at one point.
The Dodgers will counter with rookie sensation Kenta Maeda (15-9). The 28-year-old right-hander from Osaka, Japan, recorded his 15th win of the season in his last start, Sept. 16 at Arizona. In five innings, Maeda struck out six and allowed one run on three hits, getting the decision in Los Angeles' 3-2 victory.
The win put Maeda within two of the Dodgers rookie record set by Rick Sutcliffe in 1979, as he has really come into his own toward the end of the season. Maeda is 7-2 in his past 10 starts, over which he has limited batters to a .222 average while whiffing 53 and walking just 13.
The Giants have found Maeda tough to solve; he has won both starts against San Francisco this year.
The Dodgers have dropped two of the past three games, but they are still in the driver's seat, with a magic number of seven to clinch the division.
"We'll just keep plugging away," manager Dave Roberts said. "You can't let yourself get too high or too low."