Giants look to continue success against Phillies

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants will seek to continue their run of improved play since the All-Star break when they host the Philadelphia Phillies on the second night of a four-game series Friday.

The Giants ran their record in baseball's second half to 15-18 with a 5-4 victory over the Phillies in the series opener Thursday night.

The .455 winning percentage since the All-Star Game is far superior to their .378 mark (34-56) in the first half, but still a far cry from .547 pace (87-75) that earned the Giants a wild-card playoff berth in the National League last season.

"Yeah, I think it's a lot of progress," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday after the win. "We're not just trying to play .500, but we are playing a lot better."

The Giants' improved record has come despite the efforts of Friday's starter, left-hander Matt Moore (3-12, 5.71 ERA), who hasn't won in six starts since the All-Star break. The Giants have lost five of those six games, including the last four.

Moore is coming off one of his better outings of the season, having limited the Washington Nationals to two runs in seven innings in the second game of a doubleheader Sunday. The Giants went on to lose 6-2 in 11 innings.

The second-year Giant has never beaten the Phillies, going 0-1 with a 6.14 ERA in three starts.

Moore will take the mound with the majors' 20th-worst ERA among pitchers with 10 or more starts. One of the 19 with a worse ERA will be his pitching counterpart Friday, Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin (1-4, 5.76).

Unlike Moore, who has been consistently subpar all season, Eflin's high ERA is mostly a result of three terrible outings in May in which he was crushed for 30 hits and 22 earned runs in 15 innings.

He was demoted to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after the third of the troublesome starts on May 28, and he has pitched better since returning to the Phillies earlier this month. He has gone 1-1 in two starts, allowing just six earned runs in 12 1/3 innings.

Eflin has never beaten the Giants, going 0-0 with a 4.91 ERA in two starts.

The Phillies were inches away from a big inning that might have turned Thursday's game in their favor before Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson turned a potential RBI single by Tommy Joseph into a rally-killing double play with a diving stop in the fifth inning.

Philadelphia scored on the play to cap a three-run uprising, but the Phillies never scored again in the one-run defeat.

"We're in so many games," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin lamented afterward. "We're just falling short, but it's nice to see that we're in a lot of games. We don't get blown out a whole lot. We'll get there."

The loss was the Phillies' fifth straight. Nine of their last 19 games have been decided by one run.
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