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Barnes making habit of inside-the-park homers

Rockies outfielder notches second speedy roundtripper this season

SAN FRANCISCO -- Even with the excitement and elation he produced Saturday, Rockies outfielder Brandon Barnes would love a run-of-the-mill home run.

"I'd really like to hit one out so I can just jog -- that would be easier," Barnes said. "I always make it hard on myself."

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Barnes' two-out, two-run, inside-the-park homer in the ninth inning off the Giants' Sergio Romo gave the Rockies a 5-4 victory Saturday at AT&T Park. As exciting as it was, it was an instant replay of sorts for Barnes, who achieved the feat June 5 at home against the D-backs.

Barnes does not have an over-the-fence homer this season.

The first inside-the-park homer came off the D-backs' Brad Ziegler in a 12-7 victory, so Barnes received plenty of clubhouse ribbing about not having the strength to lift the ball over the wall. But after Barnes' dramatic play Saturday, when his liner bounced past Giants center fielder Angel Pagan and Barnes picked up third-base coach Stu Cole's aggressive sign to go all the way, there was no need for humor.

"I think we were too ecstatic to say anything," teammate Troy Tulowitzki said.

Circling the bases is a fitting signature play for Barnes, 28, who joined the Rockies in an offseason trade with the Astros. He wasn't a certainty to make the team in Spring Training, but he has been invaluable as a sometime starter (.306 with a .348 on-base percentage in 58 games) and pinch-hitter (a Majors-leading 10 pinch-hits this season).

In addition to Saturday's game-winner, he has two career walk-off hits, both for extra bases -- May 27, 2013, a ground-rule double for the Astros against the Rockies, and a triple to end and win a June 7 game against the Dodgers.

"Barnesie has a tendency to be in the middle of things, dust flying and all that," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He's been a real clutch player for us."

Barnes became the first Rockies player to record an inside-the-park homer twice in a season. Just two others have two in a Rockies uniform -- Ellis Burks (1994 and 1996) and Clint Barmes (2005 and 2009).

The last Major Leaguer with more than one inside-the-park homer in the same season was Tony Gwynn Jr., who in 2010 did it for the Padres on June 13 and July 17.

And Barnes thought merely inviting his father, stepmother and sister to the game from their Anaheim home was a good enough way to celebrate Father's Day weekend.

"They don't get to see me play much," Barnes said. "When we come back to Cali, and we come back to San Francisco and San Diego, it's special. Today I got to start. I just wanted to have fun with it. I had the support of my family."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb.

Colorado Rockies, Brandon Barnes