Giants squeeze by Rockies for 11-inning victory
DENVER -- On the eve of its 20th anniversary, Coors Field did not disappoint. The ballpark's first game, played on April 26, 1995, was a 14-inning affair resulting in a Rockies win. Saturday night, the Giants and Rockies went to 11, with the Giants stealing victory on a run-scoring safety-squeeze bunt by Joe Panik.
Rockies first baseman Justin Morneau fielded the bunt and threw home, but the throw was too late to catch Nori Aoki, who slid home with the deciding run. The 5-4 Giants win -- their first in five tries against the Rockies this season -- evened the series and set up Sunday's rubber match.
"It was good to get a win after losing four straight," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "Good ballgame. The Rockies fought back. We're two outs away, and they tied the game. You keep going, and the guys did."
The Rockies battled back from a two-run deficit to send the game into extra innings. Down by a run, they tied it in the ninth on the basepaths, when Drew Stubbs hit softly into a run-scoring fielder's choice with one out and runners on first and third as second baseman Matt Duffy opted to tag out DJ LeMahieu as LeMahieu headed for second, rather than make a play to the plate or throw to second to attempt a game-ending double play.
"It was hit so soft, I don't think he had a shot there," Bochy said of a potential play at the plate. "Of course, with the speed of Stubbs, we had no chance [at a double play]. He placed it in a good spot to tie it. But that's [Duffy's] read. If it was harder, he would have come home."
Moments later, the Rockies ran themselves out of the inning as Stubbs was thrown out stealing second. Stubbs beat the ball to the base, but he slid past the bag and was tagged out to end the inning.
The Giants scored three of their five runs on long balls, including a two-out solo shot from Andrew Susac off Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa -- Susac's first of the season -- to tie the game at 2 in the fourth, and a replay-reviewed two-run blast from Justin Maxwell in the sixth to give the Giants a 4-2 lead.
Tim Hudson pitched a strong seven innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and no walks. He gave up runs one at a time, on three successive two-out singles in the second, on a Troy Tulowitzki home run to open the Rockies' half of the third, and a two-out solo shot from Carlos Gonzalez in the sixth to bring the Rockies to within one.
"He mixed his pitches well," said Corey Dickerson, who was 0-for-3 against Hudson. "He threw strikes and got ahead of a lot of hitters. Some of us got ourselves out. You've got to have a better approach against a guy like that who's been around and is really crafty."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Mad Maxwell: Maxwell hit his second two-run home run in as many days to help the Giants reclaim the lead in the sixth inning. He lined a shot off Scott Oberg over the right-field scoreboard. Maxwell is now 8-for-20 (.400) with a triple, three homers, and seven RBIs in his last six games. The homer was originally ruled in play, and the umpires reported after the game that the initial call was that the trotting Maxwell earned a triple but was tagged out by Oberg between third and home. Upon a crew-chief review, it was determined that the ball cleared the yellow line on the scoreboard before bouncing back onto the field, establishing it as a roundtripper. More >
Back in the swing: Buster Posey ended an uncharacteristic 0-for-4 stretch at Coors Field with a two-out run-scoring double down the left-field line past a diving third baseman Nolan Arenado in the first frame, giving the Giants the early lead. Posey's .400 (58-for-145) batting average at Coors Field is the highest of any player with 120 or more plate appearances at altitude.
LeMahieu's golden work: Rockies second baseman LeMahieu -- a Gold Glove Award winner in 2014 -- saved a run or two with the bases loaded in the sixth. LeMahieu ranged behind the bag to snare Duffy's bounder up the middle, stopping it on the slide and tossing it back to Tulowitzki for an inning-ending fielder's choice.
"I felt pretty good as the game went on. That's kind of been the case the last few outings. I'm not sure why that it is. Maybe it's that these old bones start getting lubed up a little bit after the third or fourth inning." -- Hudson on getting sharper in the later innings of his seven-inning outing
"They just executed it well. I gave [Panik] a good pitch to bunt. [Aoki] was on third base because I walked him to lead off the inning. The leadoff walk will always kill you. Taught that ever since you learn how to pitch. Bad situation to be in. They got the job done and I didn't." -- Brooks Brown, who was on the mound for the Rockies in the 11th
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Tulowitzki's homer in the second was the 100th of his career at Coors Field and his first in 24 career at-bats against Hudson.
Giants: Tim Lincecum will climb the hill for the Giants in Sunday's series finale at 1:10 p.m. PT. Lincecum is 11-10 with a career 3.96 ERA against the Rockies, but he has not won a game against them since Sept. 18, 2012. He is 6-4 with a 4.52 ERA in 14 career starts at Coors Field, with one of those wins the first of his big league career.
Rockies: The Rockies conclude their seven-game homestand and first extended one of the season when Tyler Matzek takes the hill on Sunday at 2:10 p.m. MT. Matzek has allowed three earned runs in nine innings over two starts at Coors Field this season.
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