SAN DIEGO Built on pitching and defense, the Giants received only the former for much of the first two months of the season.
The defense has finally showed up in recent weeks, and rarely have the Giants been better in the field than they were in a 6-5 victory over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday.
Brandon Crawford twice added to his personal highlight reel, and the infield turned two timely double plays to back Madison Bumgarner, who was far from his best. After 50 errors in their first 48 games, the Giants have committed none while winning five of their last six.
"We're playing like I thought we would play," manager Bruce Bochy said.
The stellar defense stood out even more because of a play the Padres failed to make in the sixth. With the Giants leading 4-3 and two runners in scoring position, Gregor Blanco hit a slow two-out roller to second base that skidded under Logan Forsythe's glove and into right field. Two runs scored.
Bumgarner gave up four runs in six innings, walking a season-high four. It could have been worse if not for Crawford. The shortstop threw a runner out at third in the first inning and made a dazzling play in the second when he ranged up the middle and made a backhand flip to Ryan Theriot at second base.
Crawford made 10 errors in his first 38 games. But he is errorless in his last 12 games while regularly sprinkling a jaw-dropper into the mix.
"I'm playing like I knew I could I've played like this my whole life," said Crawford, who also singled and scored a run.
On a day when closer Santiago Casilla (bruised leg) was out and Jeremy Affeldt was unavailable after throwing three innings the last two days, the Giants' bullpen nearly lost Sergio Romo. Romo, already wearing a brace on his right knee, bent down in the seventh and tweaked his left knee. A trainer ran to the bullpen to give him a second knee brace.
Romo insisted to Bochy he was ready to go and he was right. With a one-run lead in the ninth, Romo struck out two to earn his third save in five games.
"You've got to cart me off the field," Romo said. "That's the mentality I take. I'm ready to rock, regardless of whether I feel good or not. I get paid to play."