On two separate occasions this season the San Francisco Giants slipped out of postseason contention, only to jump right back into the race.
San Francisco will try to stretch its winning streak to five games when it opens a four-game series with the visiting Montreal Expos.
The Giants, who were counted out early after dipping eight games below .500 in May, rallied to retake the lead in the NL West by June. However, the Giants have struggled to win consistently since that dramatic turnaround, dropping 6 1/2 games back of Los Angeles in the West.
San Francisco had won just five of 16 entering the finale of its three-game series at Pittsburgh on Thursday, and was teetering on the edge of falling off the playoff pace.
But the Giants recovered from two extra-inning losses to the Pirates by posting a 7-0 win Thursday behind NL Cy Young Award candidate Jason Schmidt.
“There’s still a long time, but we’re already looking at the possibility of the wild card,” San Francisco manager Felipe Alou said. “There are so many teams in that purgatory.”
The Giants are opening a seven-game homestand, which will conclude with a three-game set against the New York Mets next weekend.
The Expos had their season-high seven-game winning streak snapped after squandering a two-run ninth-inning lead in Sunday’s 5-4 loss to Houston.
Montreal lost for just the sixth time in its last 22 games.
“It’s a bad way to end this homestand, but it was a 5-1 homestand and we ended up playing really well,” Expos catcher Brian Schneider said.