When Tom Koehler earned his first Major League win on June 20, 2013, in San Francisco, he needed it. The right-hander entered the outing 0-5 with a 5.09 ERA.
"It's definitely pretty nice," Koehler said at the time.
Nearly 11 months later, wins are not nearly as hard to come by as Koehler returns Saturday to the site of his first victory in hopes of lifting his teammates. All-Star ace Jose Fernandez is done for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery Friday.
The Giants will face a pitcher who not only owns a 2.57 ERA but has made six quality starts in eight turns this season. Koehler notched just eight quality starts in 23 outings in the Marlins' rotation last season.
After a season-worst outing that saw him give up four runs on six hits and five walks in 3 2/3 innings against the Dodgers on Monday, Koehler could use some more good fortune at AT&T Park. For Koehler, that boils down to execution.
"You have to stay focused," Koehler said. "They key is to minimize mistakes, minimize the damage. We all pitch differently, but I'll look for the chase zones and who's aggressive. Ultimately, it's not about who is hitting as long as you are executing your pitches."
One Giant Koehler did not have to face last season was Tyler Colvin, who has been swinging a hot bat since San Francisco purchased his contract in the wake of Brandon Belt's absence. He is 7-for-16 with four runs, four doubles, a triple, a home run and three RBIs in his four starts since joining the club Saturday.
Colvin, whose presence in the outfield helps fill the void left fielder Michael Morse vacated to fill in for Belt at first, dealt with some back issues and was brought along slowly during Spring Training when the Giants first signed him.
But the outfielder proved healthy early this season at Triple-A Fresno, batting .267 (32-for-120) with seven doubles, two homers and 16 RBIs in 16 games. Colvin is off to a good start with the Giants, and San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy hopes to see more of the same in the coming weeks.
"I didn't see him going out there every day, but right now he feels good," Bochy said Friday. "We do have a little concern with his back, so we want to make sure we rest him. But I talked to him last night. He feels great and he has played so well."
Marlins: Salty snaps sluggish skid
Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia snapped an 0-for-26 slump Friday night in San Francisco with his first four-hit game since Sept. 25, 2013.
The single was his first hit since he notched a first-inning single against Mets starter Bartolo Colon on May 6 at Marlins Park. In the following 27 plate appearances, Saltalamacchia walked once and struck out 14 times.
He went hitless in seven straight games that saw his batting average drop from .299 to .242 and his on-base percentage slide from .400 to .338 before both numbers improved following a 4-for-5 showing Friday night.
Giants: The comeback kids
Although the Giants didn't win after rallying back from an early three-run deficit Friday, few leads are safe against San Francisco this season.
The Giants have won six times when trailing by three runs or more, three times when trailing by four or more and once when trailing by five or more. That tenacity when down has helped San Francisco jump out to an early-season lead in the National League West.
"A lot of this game is all about picking each other up," Bochy said. "Our offense has picked up our pitching when they haven't had good days. They have that ability. Last year, we didn't have that ability. The long ball has helped us get back in some of those games. They also have the confidence that they can come back. When they get four or five runs down, even six like they did in Pittsburgh, it's not over.
"That's the only way, I think, you have a good year -- when things don't go well on one side, the pitching picks up [the offense] or vice versa."
• Bench coach Ron Wotus filled in as the Giants' third-base coach Friday and will do so again Saturday. Tim Flannery, the regular third-base coach, is attending his youngest daughter's college graduation.
• Giancarlo Stanton's hitting streak ended at 17 games when he finished 0-for-5 on Friday night. Stanton batted .417 (25-for-60) with four home runs, 13 RBIs, five doubles, 12 walks and a .514 on-base percentage during the streak.
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.