Giants outlast Rockies for eighth straight win
DENVER -- A remarkable display of two-out hitting carried the San Francisco Giants to their eighth consecutive victory, a 10-8 decision Saturday over the Colorado Rockies in the first half of a day-night doubleheader.
Victimizing Rockies starter Jordan Lyles (2-5) -- who left in the fifth inning with a sprained toe on his left foot -- and reliever Yohan Flande, the Giants scored all of their runs from the fourth through sixth innings. Each came with two outs as Giants hitters went 9-for-12 in those situations. San Francisco's 4-5-6 hitters, Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford, combined to drive in seven runs.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy focused on the initial two-out uprising, which featured consecutive singles by Belt, Pence, Crawford and Matt Duffy that generated three runs.
"That was a momentum-changer right there," Bochy said. "It probably won the game for us."
The beneficiary was San Francisco starter Chris Heston (4-3), who weathered home runs by Ben Paulsen, Charlie Blackmon and Nick Hundley while allowing six runs in 5 2/3 innings.
"It's a sparring match," Heston said, describing the experience of pitching at hitter-friendly Coors Field.
After rain delayed the game's start for two hours and 15 minutes, the Giants proceeded to match their longest winning streak since Sept. 11-18, 2011.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
It takes two: Though every Giant in the lineup contributed to the team's 10-run outburst between the fourth and sixth innings, some hitters did more than others. Crawford lined a fourth-inning RBI single and a fifth-inning, two-run triple. Pence scored twice and singled twice; one of his hits drove in a pair of fifth-inning runs. Joe Panik scored twice and drove in a sixth-inning run. Belt collected two hits, including a two-run double in the sixth.
Two-out blues: After the Giants' onslaught of singles in the fourth, Lyles has now surrendered six two-out runs in his last two starts -- three in each. Both times, the opponents' two-out damage arrived all in one inning, and both times, it interrupted what had previously been clean pitching outings. On Monday, Lyles surrendered one run in 5 2/3 innings before getting tagged with two outs. And on Saturday, he gave up just two baserunners before the Giants' big fourth.
Real relief: The Giants' bullpen limited Colorado to two runs in 3 1/3 innings. While that may not seem overly impressive, it represented a solid afternoon of work at Coors Field, where six-run leads mean nothing.
Javier Lopez stranded a runner on second base to end the sixth inning before Hunter Strickland, imported from Triple-A to serve as the roster's 26th man just for this doubleheader, worked two scoreless innings. Sergio Romo yielded a pair of ninth-inning runs before Santiago Casilla survived a threat to record his 12th save in 14 chances. More >
Late-game production: For the second straight day, the Rockies nearly finished off an improbable comeback with a ninth-inning rally. Trailing, 10-6, Blackmon, Nolan Arenado, Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki all singled with two outs, which plated two and put the tying runs on base for Wilin Rosario. But Casilla induced a grounder to third, and a tumbling Belt held the bag at first to end the game.
"I love RBIs." -- Crawford, the Giants' leader in that category with 31, when a reporter mentioned that some contemporary statistics enthusiasts dismiss RBIs as a team-oriented figure.
DJ LeMahieu and Tulowitzki seemingly had a double play turned in the fourth inning, but first-base umpire Marcus Pattillo called Angel Pagan safe on Tulowitzki's return throw. Rockies manager Walt Weiss challenged the play, and the safe call was overturned.
The Giants evened out the challenges in the bottom of the eighth, when Rosario's stolen base was negated. Bochy challenged the swipe of second base and the call was overturned.
Rockies: Many people find Sundays relaxing, but the Rockies sure haven't. They are winless in five Sunday games this season and have been outscored in those contests a combined 31-16.
Giants: Don't bother looking for a pattern in the Giants' series finales. They're 6-6 in those games entering Sunday's 1:10 p.m. PT getaway-day special against the Rockies. San Francisco will give the ball to right-hander Tim Hudson, who is 0-2 with a 6.80 ERA in nine career starts at Coors Field.
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