PHOENIX - When Evan Longoria and Derek Holland became teammates this spring, the left-hander had an important question for the third baseman.
"Am I throwing you beach balls, or what?" Holland asked Longoria.
Longoria, the longtime Tampa Bay star, is hitting .347 with four homers and five doubles in 35 bats against Holland, who spent his previous seasons with the Rangers and White Sox. Holland is happy he now shares a clubhouse with Longoria and doesn't have to face him, and the feeling is mutual. Longoria and the rest of the Giants are happy they can continue to line up behind Holland every fifth day.
Back in the rotation, this time, it seems, for good, Holland continued to pitch well. He went 5 1/3 innings Sunday, allowing two earned in a 3-2 win over the Diamondbacks. That effort settled a team after two days in which the starting pitcher gave up five runs in the first inning.
"Coming out of the spring, him not really knowing his role, he's really been an integral part (for us)," Longoria said. "He's kept us in games pretty much every time he's been out there. I faced him a lot, and seeing how he works here, it's nice to see that success."
Holland has been one of the better stories for the Giants this year, sliding into the rotation, and then helping the bullpen, and then once again helping stabilize the rotation after Jeff Samardzija got hurt. His next start will come against the Pirates next weekend in a a big series for both clubs. Bruce Bochy will be happy to have him on the mound.
"I can't say enough about what he's doing for us," Bochy said. "His stuff is good and he's mixing it up well. He's been really good with his command and stuff."
--- Buster Posey had a single and a walk after taking a day off because of a concussion scare. He played first base. Bochy said there's a chance Posey will be back in the squat on Monday against the Astros. The staff is not concerned about late-showing symptoms.
"If there was anything - anything - going on, he wouldn't be playing," Bochy said.
--- Ray Black earned his first career win with a scoreless seventh. Black has thrown 10 1/3 consecutive hitless innings since Matt Carpenter took him deep in his debut.
--- The Giants went 4-2 on the road trip, their first winning one since they went 4-2 at Pittsburgh and Detroit last year from June 30-July 6. They had gone 13 consecutive trips without a winning record.
--- San Francisco won't see Justin Verlander or Gerrit Cole during a two-game series with the Astros. That's the good news. The bad news? They'll still face Dallas Keuchel and Charlie Morton. The Astros, man…