Giants Clinch First Winning Month in Two Years, and Finally Appear to Be Finding Momentum

SAN FRANCISCO - The second half collapse. The blown lead in Game 4. All the injuries last year. All the injuries this year. The Bumgarner crash. The Strickland punch. The second Strickland punch.

The list goes on and on. The point is, the Giants have had a lot of negatives over the past two years, but finally, they appear to be finding momentum. 

With a 3-2 win over the Rockies on Tuesday night, the Giants improved to 15-9 in June. It sounds like a small step, but for a team that nearly choked away a playoff spot in 2016 and lost 98 games the next year, this represents a milestone. 

The Giants will have a winning June. It will be their first winning month since June of 2016, when they went 17-10 and looked headed for bigger things. Every month since has been .500 or worse, often much worse.

"We've been playing better so hopefully we can build on this, and we're going to have to. You get late in the season and that margin for error gets smaller," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We've had a tough schedule and been through a lot but the guys are playing pretty good baseball. We're getting solid pitching and doing the little things it takes to win the ballgame."

The Giants excelled in both those departments Tuesday while winning for the sixth time in eight games back home. Derek Holland continued his surge, allowing one run over 6 2/3 innings and matching a season-high with eight strikeouts. The outing was his longest since last May 21, when he was with the Chicago White Sox. 

"I started off not as good as I should have (this year), but I keep improving out there," Holland said. 

Nobody fits that mold better than Gorkys Hernandez these days. At the age of 30, he has set a career-high with 10 homers. We're not talking about a career high in the majors, either. He never hit more than eight even in a minor league season, of which were were many. 

"When you play the game every day you have confidence in yourself," Hernandez said. "That's what I'm looking for."

That confidence showed in the game's biggest moment. Hernandez homered in the third and his bunt in the seventh helped push the lead runner over. But the Giants would give up the run a few minutes later. In the eighth, Hernandez put them back on top. With the bases loaded, he stared at a couple of close pitches from Adam Ottavino, one of the best relievers in the National League. He took a 3-2 slider just inside and then trotted down to first, the go-ahead run having been pushed across. 

"That's what he's been doing all year," Bochy said. "That's why he's out there every day. He's really made himself into a good all-around player."

The third run of the night would hold up, and it got the Giants closer to another milestone. They have outscored opponents 100-74 this month, and barring an epic meltdown over the final four games of June, they'll have their first positive run differential since September of 2016. 

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