A lot of this stuff is new for the current crop of Giants the crush of defeats and playing the final two months for each other for the fans for anything but a postseason that seems out of reach.

If this is the new reality the Giants adapted well in taking two of three from the Phillies and ending the series Thursday night with one of the nuttiest 2-1 victories one could imagine.

Skunked for eight innings by Cole Hamels the Giants scored twice in the ninth off Jonathan Papelbon to take the lead only to see the Phillies load the bases with nobody out against Sergio Romo with a rally best described as stupid.

But the Phillies failed to knock Romo off the high wire and he got the final three outs to reach 25 saves.

After providing a long explanation of what he was thinking throughout the inning Romo smiled and said "I don't want to do that again."

In winning the series the Giants accomplished what the honchos see as the principal goal the rest of the way. They envision the team reversing its fortunes and gaining momentum for next season as the 2009 team did ahead of 2010.

"You don't want to look at it that way" Matt Cain said after earning his seventh win. "But the numbers are stacked against you. We just want to go the rest of the season playing well and having a good time. It's no fun when you're losing. We've done enough of that recently."

Cain and Hamels pitched brilliantly over eight innings Hamels hitting a hanging Cain curveball to drive in the only run that either allowed.

Manager Bruce Bochy describing the duel and the subsequent ninth-inning fireworks said "It was a classic matchup. I enjoyed it. It got a little too entertaining in the ninth."

Papelbon blew a save for the sixth time in his past 13 chances in a rally that began with Hunter Pence's infield hit and a Brett Pill single.