NEW YORK -- After a 2-1 win over the New York Mets, the Giants are nine games away from the end of their second failed title defense in three years. The disappointing season has left manager Bruce Bochy and the front office evaluating players and trying to find the right puzzle pieces for 2014, and Bochy said Thursday that he has turned the microscope on himself in recent weeks.
"We've already started talking about things we may do differently," Bochy said. "We can correct some issues that we've had this year. We have some work to do. With where we're at, obviously we have some work to do. We have to get better, and it's part of my job to think of things that can make us better."
Bochy has already honed in on some specifics, pointing out that focus was an issue at times in the field. Joaquin Arias made three stellar plays in Thursday's win, but the Giants already have 101 errors and will finish the season near the bottom of the league defensively. Many of the errors -- particularly in the outfield -- have been mental lapses.
"It surprised all of us," Bochy said. "We have some talented defenders out there, so this is something that we've got to fix."
The Giants also gave away far too many at-bats, but Bochy has been pleased with the better approaches he has seen in recent weeks.
"We can go through so many games where we just couldn't get a run in," Bochy said. "One little thing makes a difference in winning a ballgame. That, I think got away from us."
The Giants did the little things Thursday while winning for the fifth time in six games. With runners on the corners and one out in the fourth, rookie outfielder Juan Perez singled to center to give the Giants a 1-0 lead. Making his first career start, shortstop Ehire Adrianza followed with groundout to shortstop that brought home a second run.
"That was very encouraging," Bochy said. "It was good to see their at-bats and their calmness. Adrianza hasn't played much, but I like his balance and poise. Perez, I know he wanted to have a good day. He put on a show for his mom."
Perez grew up in the Bronx and had his mom, wife and about a dozen friends in the seats at Citi Field. He had a career-high three hits.
"It's like a dream come true," he said. "It's a moment I'd say I'll never forget."
The rookies took care of the offense, and the Giants got yet another big-time performance from left-hander Madison Bumgarner. He struck out 10 in seven innings and now sits one punch-out shy of joining Ray Sadecki and Jonathan Sanchez as the only left-handers in the franchise's San Francisco era to reach 200 strikeouts in a season. Bumgarner said he hasn't been keeping a close watch on his strikeout total, but he was well aware that he crossed the 200-inning threshold for the third straight season.
"That's what all starting pitchers are trying to do," he said. "You're trying to get to 200 every year."
The Giants have locked Bumgarner into their rotation for years to come, and he'll likely get the nod on opening day next year. As he tries to figure out other 2014 moves, Bochy said he has already made note of ways he can manage differently.
"Like all of us, the frustration was there," he said. "At times I might have shown that a little more than usual, but that goes with not winning. We're all competitive. I'm working on ways I can help the club get better. I'll be more demanding, and that includes being more demanding with fundamentals and little things that got away from us this year."
The process has already started, and Bochy likes what he's seeing. The Giants have won three consecutive series for the first time all year, and that made it a little easier Thursday when the veterans held the annual "dress-up day" for rookies. Eight first-year Giants had to leave Citi Field dressed as the famous Times Square Naked Cowboy, a costume that consisted of only cowboy boots, a cowboy hat, a white speedo and a guitar.
"The Naked Cowboy is an iconic figure in Times Square, so we're paying homage to him," said a smiling Javier Lopez, who got the save Thursday.
For those who have been through the ritual before, the festivities offered a chance to have a little fun at the end of a down year.
"This is brutal as a player," third-year first baseman Brandon Belt said, shaking his head as he watched the posing rookies. "But it's epic as a bystander."