When San Francisco Giants left-hander Matt Moore left the field in the sixth inning of Wednesday’s game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the AT&T Park faithful stood and offered him a hearty cheer.

They were applauding Moore’s effort—5.1 innings of five-hit, one-run ball that keyed a 4-2 Giants win. But they were also officially welcoming Moore into the fold exactly one month after the Giants acquired him from the Tampa Bay Rays.

That trade—which sent popular homegrown third baseman Matt Duffy and two prospects to Tampa Bay—didn’t click right away.

Moore wobbled initially in the orange and black, surrendering 17 hits and 12 earned runs in his first four starts and running his Giants record to 0-3. 

Then, last Thursday, he came within one jam-shot Corey Seager single of tossing a no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.

If you’re making a list of things Giants fans appreciate, put that near the top.

Moore settled for an 8.2-inning, one-hit, seven-strikeout gem that helped San Francisco avoid a sweep at Chavez Ravine.

His Wednesday encore wasn’t as sexy, but it was solid nonetheless. He located his mid-90s fastball. His cutter cut. His curveball missed bats. He kept the D-backs in check and threw like the guy the Giants hoped they were getting at the deadline.

As Grant Brisbee of SB Nation’s McCovey Chronicles pointed out:

Moore picked up 14 swinging strikes on the afternoon, which is just one short of Johnny Cueto’s best game of the season, for perspective. It’s what Madison Bumgarner had when he struck out 11 in a complete game against the Padres. It’s what Moore had when he almost no-hit the Dodgers. It’s a fair amount of whiffs.

“It feels great,” Moore said of Wednesday’s standing ovation, per Justin Wise and Rick Eymer of MLB.com. “This is the first time I’ve won at this ballpark. It feels great to be accepted.”

Once upon a time, Moore was among the hottest young arms around. As a 24-year-old in 2013, he posted a 17-4 record and 3.29 ERA with Tampa Bay and finished ninth in American League Cy Young Award balloting.

Then came Tommy John surgery in April 2014 and an up-and-down comeback during which he showed flashes but never quite put it together.

He posted a 2.41 ERA in July, however, seemingly prompting the Giants to pull the trigger on a deal that included Duffy, the 2015 NL Rookie of the Year runner-up. 

Moore’s contract has a series of affordable team options through 2019, so the swap was about much more than the short term.

San Francisco, though, was also seeking to bolster its starting rotation for the stretch run.

Ace Madison Bumgarner boasts superlative numbers overall but has faltered in August. Johnny Cueto has lost four of his last five decisions. Jeff Samardzija sports a 4.00 ERA. And veterans Matt Cain and Jake Peavy are on the disabled list.


A run of brilliance from Moore would take some pressure off the rest of the starting corps. That could make all the difference in an NL West battle with the archrival Dodgers that appears destined to go the distance.

Moore doesn’t fix all the Giants’ problems. He can’t single-handedly re-create the 6.5-game lead they held over Los Angeles at the All-Star break. He can’t jump-start an offense that has scored the third-fewest runs in the NL during that span. 

Despite its second-half swoon, San Francisco is in position for a postseason run. The Giants have won four of their last six. And we’re in a year divisible by two, in case you hadn’t heard.

“I think August was the month that gave us a test to see where our heads were,” closer Santiago Casilla said after nailing down Moore’s win Wednesday, per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. “Now comes September.”

Welcome to the Bay Area, Matt Moore. Pull up a seat and stay awhile.


All statistics current as of Wednesday and courtesy of MLB.com and Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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