PHOENIX -- Three days in Arizona did wonders for the San Francisco Giants.
Lance Niekro hit a three-run homer and winning pitcher Noah Lowry singled in two runs Thursday night, helping the Giants to a 9-2 rout of the Diamondbacks and their first three-game sweep in Phoenix in five years.
Niekro also doubled and scored twice in the Giants' third sweep of the season and first since they won three at Pittsburgh April 29-May 1. Ray Durham added a solo homer for a San Francisco team that limped in to Arizona after being swept at Oakland, capped by a 16-0 loss to the A's on Sunday.
"It's huge for the morale of the team," Lowry said, "not to mention the momentum going into San Diego. I'm looking forward to this next series because we're playing good baseball right now."
Even though they are 11 games below .500, the Giants are only seven back of the NL West-leading Padres in the loss column.
"It shows a lot about this team," Niekro said of the sweep. "We're not getting down and we don't think we're out of this yet."
San Diego is the only team in the division with a winning record.
"The West Division, it's been like this," San Francisco manager Felipe Alou said. "Anybody who can put together a good winning streak, you'll be right there."
While the Giants basked in their abrupt change of fortunes going into their weekend series in San Diego, Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin was disgusted.
"We looked really bad for the first three innings -- really bad," Melvin said. "We weren't pitching, we weren't hitting, we weren't fielding, we weren't doing anything."
Lowry (5-7) won for the third time in four starts. The only run he gave up was Shawn Green's first career pinch-hit homer in the fifth. Lowry allowed three hits, walked four and struck out five in six innings. Luis Gonzalez homered for Arizona off Brett Tomko in the eighth.
Tomko, who lost his spot in the rotation after Sunday's 16-0 pasting, allowed just that one hit over the last three innings for his first save.
San Francisco last swept Arizona at Bank One Ballpark April 21-23, 2000.
The Giants jumped on Shawn Estes (6-6) for five runs in the second inning, three on Niekro's homer. Todd Linden followed with a double, Yorvit Torrealba singled, then Lowry reached on a sacrifice bunt attempt when Estes threw high to third, leaving the bases loaded with no outs.
Jason Ellison brought a run home with a ground out, then the fifth run scored on Omar Vizquel's sacrifice fly.
San Francisco ended Estes' night with three more runs in the third to make it 8-0. Durham walked, Niekro doubled and Linden walked to load the bases with one out. After Mike Koplove relieved Estes, Torrealba's ground out brought one run home, then Lowry's single scored two more.
"It was horrible, just terrible, as bad as you can pitch," Estes said of his shortest outing in two years. "The team needed me tonight, and I didn't do my job. It's frustrating, disappointing, pretty much any negative adjective you can think of."
Durham's fourth homer of the season, leading off the fifth for San Francisco made it 9-0. Green, batting for Koplove, hit his 12th homer of the year in the Arizona fifth.
Estes, in his shortest outing of the season, gave up eight runs -- seven earned -- on five hits in 2 1/3 innings. He walked three with no strikeouts. He had allowed a total of five runs in 23 1/3 innings in his previous three starts.
The Diamondbacks wrapped up a 9-19 June.
"At one point, we were nine games above .500. We're two below right now," Melvin said. "So we have to start playing better -- right now."
RHP Kevin Correia will be called up from Triple-A Fresno to start the Giants' game in San Diego on Friday night. Correia was 3-2 with a 6.07 ERA at Fresno in 31 appearances, three as a starter. ... The Diamondbacks had their third consecutive 2-4 home stand. ... Lowry beat the Diamondbacks for the second time in 10 days.