SAN DIEGO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy does not remember what he did on July 4, 1974. All he knows is that he wasn't in a dugout, and he can't say the same for any Independence Day since.
Bochy was drafted by the Astros the next year, and for more than four decades -- through the minors, his playing career, his time as a minor league manager, and 25 years leading the Padres and Giants -- July 4 has meant a baseball game. Perhaps Bochy's memory is fuzzy, but as he leaned back in his chair late Wednesday, savoring San Francisco's fourth straight win, he couldn't remember a single July 4 since 1974 in which he did not have a game to play in or manage.
Bochy will play golf tomorrow. He will grill at his Poway home and host his family, which has grown in recent years to include grandchildren he adores.
It will be relaxing, fun and well-earned, and yet, a part of Bochy would really like to spend July 4 watching these Giants play another baseball game.
After three months of futility, the lineup has turned it around, hammering an inexperienced Padres pitching staff in a three-game sweep that ended with a 7-5 win Wednesday. The Giants have scored 40 runs in the last four games. This same team had three hits one night last week and nobody blinked, and yet there they were Wednesday, once again pouring it on.
"It's such a different feeling, a great feeling," Bochy said. "I feel good for these guys, because they're having sucess. We've had some tough games and now we're on a pretty good roll. You actually hate to see a day off, to be honest."
The Giants will try to keep the team-wide hot streak going Friday against the Cardinals. They will try to continue to make this interesting. On Wednesday, they snuck within 5 1/2 games of the second Wild Card spot.
It's here that we must pump the brakes, and point out that the Giants remain eight games under .500 and have been outscored by 70 runs through 86 games. They're still looking up at every team in the NL other the Marlins and Mets.
But this is a group that hasn't had much fun this season, and for once the Giants are taking it to other teams. They are on the opposite end of the kind of game they have lost so often this season and the previous two, and nothing symbolized that more than the sixth inning.
The Giants trailed by a run when Kevin Pillar came up with one out and took strike one. He tried to call time before the second pitch, but home plate umpire Jeff Nelson didn't grant it.
Pillar froze like a statue. Luis Perdomo, confused by what was happening at the plate as he started his windup, lobbed a throw in that was so slow it didn't register on the radar gun. It hit Pillar on the front foot and he was sent to first.
"I respected the fact that the pitcher didn't throw one in there max effort," Pillar said. "I was standing there defenseless. He lobbed it kind of at me and I just stood my ground and it hit me. It was kind of a strange play. I've never been a part of that. It worked out."
Pillar would score the tying run on Donovan Solano's double. Solano scored the go-ahead run when Wil Myers lost Pablo Sandoval's two-out fly ball to center in the lights. The Giants scored twice more and didn't look back.
That's the kind of inning that only goes your way when everything else is. Right now, the Giants are rolling, and the clubhouse doesn't care about just how steep the climb is.
Alex Dickerson, who followed an early Evan Longoria homer with one of his own, said he never felt like he was entering a last-place clubhouse when the Giants acquired him from the Padres and plugged him in the lineup.
"As soon as I walked in, you wouldn't know we're having a tough season," he said. "We've got guys who have won huge games and they come in with that confidence every day. There's a lot of experience here. It's just fun to be a part of."