The San Francisco Giants are getting great defense, strong pitching and clutch hitting in their latest winning stretch -- and beating some talented pitchers in the process. Adam Wainwright, Roy Halladay, Jamie Moyer.
Aubrey Huff and Matt Downs each hit solo home runs in the second inning, No. 5 starter Todd Wellemeyer finally won, and the Giants knocked the Philadelphia Phillies out of first place in the NL East with a 6-2 victory Tuesday night.
"Canon, that's your new nickname," reliever Jeremy Affeldt said to Schierholtz.
Just like Halladay a night earlier, Moyer couldn't slow down San Francisco's suddenly hot bats. The Phillies fell a half-game back of the New York Mets, out of at least a share of the division lead for the first time this year with their second straight series loss.
"We lost. There's nothing to be happy about," Moyer said. "We need to pay attention to what we're doing ourselves. We have to look at the here and look at the now. It's a long season but every game counts."
Edgar Renteria and Pablo Sandoval hit consecutive RBI singles in both the fifth and seventh innings, and Renteria finished with three hits. Huff's homer was his first fences-clearing clout of the year after an inside-the-park homer here against the Pirates on April 14.
"Everybody said they enjoyed the first one better. Not me," Huff said. "I said, 'Please go out."
A day after agreeing to a $125 million, five-year contract extension, Howard was thrown out in the second on a would-be double when he let up going into the bag. The slugger slowed down after hitting a bouncer into the corner in right, thinking he had plenty of time. But Schierholtz scooped up the ball after it came off the wall and fired to second and Renteria made a sneaky tag on the unexpecting Howard, who was disgusted. Howard -- who went hitless Monday -- singled again in the fourth inning and stayed put at first.
"It was just a mental mistake," Howard said. "I thought I had a little more time than I did. I probably should have slid anyway just to make sure. Any time you lose a game it's disappointing, but you try to weather the storm. It's baseball and you'll have hot streaks and cold streaks. When things aren't going the way you want them to go you just have to keep playing."
Schierholtz, who also made a diving catch in the first, did it again in the ninth when Utley tried to stretch a single into a double. Brandon Medders then struck out Howard and Jayson Werth on called third strikes.
"I just happened to get good hops off the wall and make accurate throws," Schierholtz said. "It's good any time you can help the pitchers out."
Werth followed Howard's second-inning hit with a double, stole third and scored on Raul Ibanez's sacrifice fly to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. But that was it for Philadelphia until pinch-hitter Ben Francisco's RBI single in the eighth.
Wellemeyer (1-3) won for the first time since July 2 last year against the Giants while with St. Louis. He received a rousing standing ovation when he walked off the mound in the eighth. The right-hander was a non-roster invitee to spring training who earned a job in the rotation with a strong showing in Arizona.
He allowed two runs on three hits in seven-plus sharp innings, struck out four and walked three.
"I knew I could pitch better than I've shown the last two games," Wellemeyer said. "I had to go out and show it."
Moyer (2-2) lost for only the seventh time in his last 32 road starts.
The Giants beat Halladay on Monday night to deal Philadelphia's new ace his first loss since joining the Phillies in a four-team blockbuster trade in December -- then quickly got to Moyer, too.
The 47-year-old lefty was tagged for a season-high 10 hits and four runs in six innings and fell to 0-3 lifetime at AT&T Park.
San Francisco has won four of five following a four-game losing streak. Wednesday afternoon's series finale is another intriguing pitching matchup: two-time reigning NL Cy Young Award winner and unbeaten righty Tim Lincecum vs. Cole Hamels.
Lincecum has won each of his first four starts.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel knows his team better come ready to play.
"If you drop your guard, all of a sudden you hit rock bottom," Manuel said. "You have to stay with this game every day. I always want to be in first place. They outplayed us. They outhit us, they outhustled us, they scored more runs, that's what I have to say about that. I guess they outpitched us, too."
Utley is one hit from No. 1,000 of his career. ... Injured Giants 2B Juan Uribe, nursing tightness in his right elbow that forced him out early from Saturday night's game against St. Louis, pinch-hit in the eighth. ... Philadelphia RHP Brad Lidge, coming off elbow and knee surgery, pitched two shutout innings with four strikeouts in a rehab outing for Double-A Reading against Harrisburg. He didn't allow a hit or a walk in his eighth rehab appearance since April 10 and his second with Reading. ... Phillies RHP Joe Blanton (strained left oblique) is scheduled to make his next rehab outing Wednesday for Reading.