Giants

Giants

DENVER -- There was a point earlier this season when Giants manager Bruce Bochy joked about pulling names out of a hat to form the lineup. There was no correct combination, no matter how much time Bochy spent thinking about the right order. 

These days, there's no wrong answer.

The Giants were without key starters and the back end of their bullpen while playing a fourth game at Coors Field in three days, but they easily pulled off the sweep, winning 11-8 to finish off a 6-1 road trip through Milwaukee and Denver. 

"Each guy, no matter what the situation is, is stepping in and doing what he's supposed to do," said reliever Derek Holland, who played a key role. "Every guy is doing something that's helping this team win. The rotation is feeding off each other, same with the bullpen. And the offense, it's contagious."

The team-wide attack has the Giants back in the thick of the Wild Card race. They've won 12 of their last 14 games and continue to leapfrog others in a muddled National League. And they're doing it by using every inch of a revamped and improved roster. 

After playing Tuesday night, Buster Posey got the traditional rest for the ensuing day game. Stephen Vogt stepped in and hit a homer for the second consecutive start.

"I came (to San Francisco) to help give Buster a break," Vogt said. "My No. 1 job is to catch well. Everything I can do on offense is great. That's my job, is every time I play to help Buster keep his feet up as long as possible."

 

Brandon Crawford, who carried the heaviest load in Monday's doubleheader, got a day to catch his breath. Donovan Solano started at short and tied a career-high with four hits. He also homered and doubled twice, scoring two runs and driving two in. With Alex Dickerson getting a scheduled day off, Austin Slater chipped in two hits and a run.

"We stayed away from using our big guys," Bochy said, "And that was huge."

Bochy said before the game that Will Smith, Sam Dyson and Tony Watson were not available because of recent overuse, but that was no problem. When Shaun Anderson was pulled in the fifth, Derek Holland came in for 1 2/3 shutout innings before handing the baton to Reyes Moronta, who pitched a scoreless seventh. Andrew Suarez, a starter called up Tuesday, recorded five outs before the Rockies started storming back in the ninth. Mark Melancon closed it out. 

Holland had the biggest contribution, continuing his hot stretch out of the bullpen. Bochy called him "invaluable" and noted how durable Holland has been despite being used quite often. 

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Holland was one of several players to mention Wednesday how excited the Giants are to return home. He said he's fired up to see the crowds, and casually dropped in the fact that the dugout wouldn't mind if 40,000 picked up on Dickerson's nickname and the team's favorite chant. 

That's how it used to be at Oracle Park. With the Giants all of a sudden playing good baseball again, that's what they hope to see. Winning brings fun, and the players are taking care of their end. 

"We have a really good team here," Vogt said. "And we're showing it."