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Giants double down to take series from Rockies

MLB.com

DENVER -- Hunter Pence hit a career-high three doubles and Buster Posey had three hits as the Giants' offense ignited early to claim an 8-3 victory and a series win over the Rockies on Sunday.

Rockies starter Chris Rusin was shelled for six runs over five innings, allowing 11 hits and walking three. Denard Span capped off the scoring against Rusin with a home run to lead off the fourth. San Francisco had 17 hits on the day, tying a season high.

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DENVER -- Hunter Pence hit a career-high three doubles and Buster Posey had three hits as the Giants' offense ignited early to claim an 8-3 victory and a series win over the Rockies on Sunday.

Rockies starter Chris Rusin was shelled for six runs over five innings, allowing 11 hits and walking three. Denard Span capped off the scoring against Rusin with a home run to lead off the fourth. San Francisco had 17 hits on the day, tying a season high.

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"I'm always hitting balls in the gap, hitting balls on the ground and having to sprint," said Span, whose shot landed 441 feet away, according to Statcast™. "So it feels good to jog around the bases. It feels good when you hit a ball like that."

Video: SF@COL: Span crushes homer 441 feet at Coors

The Giants were able to wear out the right-center gap, hitting eight doubles on the day, which tied a San Francisco-era record. Two of Pence's doubles came in the big second and third innings, in which the Giants strung together five runs on seven hits.

Rusin, who has been in and out of the rotation, has given up 13 runs over 9 1/3 innings in two starts against the Giants this season. He thought his cutter and two-seam fastball were flat early in the game because he was rushing, allowing the Giants to jump on him before he regained his rhythm.

"The biggest thing was I was 1-for-5 on leadoff guys, getting those guys out," Rusin said. "When the leadoff guy gets on base, the odds of them scoring are pretty good. After that, I didn't make the pitches to get out of jams. Some of the pitches I left up, but I also made some good pitches that they put good swings on."

Video: SF@COL: Story sends a solo home run to right-center

Johnny Cueto continued his dominance against Colorado, as he entered with an 18 1/3-inning scoreless streak. Cueto, who battled back stiffness for much of his start, earned the win after surrendering two runs -- one earned, on Trevor Story's 14th homer -- over six innings with five strikeouts.

"I concentrate more against them because they have great hitters," Cueto said through a translator.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Doubling down: The Giants' eight doubles matched a high for the franchise since it moved to San Francisco in 1958. In addition to Pence's three doubles, Brandon Belt doubled twice and Posey, Brandon Crawford and Gregor Blanco each had one. The Giants amassed eight doubles three times in 2000.

Video: SF@COL: Pence scorches three RBI doubles in win

"You go through the ebbs and flow of the season, you'll run into games where fancy stuff like that happens," Pence said. "You know It's unique. There's no rhyme or reason, you're just competing, and the balls we hit seemed to be doubles."

Parra's eventful day: Colorado had a rally going in the third inning after loading the bases and Nolan Arenado walked to force in a run. Gerardo Parra scorched the ball, but it went straight into the glove of Giants first baseman Belt, who easily turned a double play by tagging first. In the previous inning, Parra was caught trying to take third on a flyout, and the next batter, Story, homered.

Video: SF@COL: Giants get DP after call at third overturned

"The ball looked like it was going to be deep off the bat," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said of the second-inning play, which was initially ruled safe before the Giants successfully challenged that third baseman Matt Duffy had tagged Parra's right foot before he touched the base. "I think it was so high that the wind got ahold of it and pushed it back, so it ended up being a little more shallow than 'G' anticipated it. It looked like it was going to be safe, but I think his arm got caught up underneath him, and he wasn't able to reach out for the base."

Bullpen's ups, downs: Trying to rebound from a subpar performance Saturday, when he surrendered Carlos Gonzalez's two-run homer and Mark Reynolds' single, Giants left-hander Josh Osich pitched a scoreless seventh inning. But he surrendered another homer to Gonzalez leading off the eighth inning and was relieved by Hunter Strickland.

Video: SF@COL: Carlos Gonzalez hammers one off back wall

Motte getting work: Right-handed reliever Jason Motte worked his second appearance of the year -- his first at Coors Field -- after starting the season on the disabled list with a right shoulder sprain. Motte allowed one run on three hits, and he also turned a double play on a comebacker by Conor Gillaspie.

Video: SF@COL: Motte fields grounder, turns two

QUOTABLE
"When he was young, he was 95, 96 [mph], and now he's 92, 93. Dropping [velocity], throwing hitters off balance with his windups has obviously been working for him, so I think he's evolved into what his stuff is now." -- Reynolds on Cueto

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Span's fourth-inning home run off Rusin was the first long ball the left-hander has given up in 39 2/3 innings this season. His streak stretched 41 2/3 innings back to Oct. 3, when he gave up three home runs to the Giants, the last of which was by Crawford.

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Rockies challenged a fifth-inning call that Rusin's pickoff attempt of Blanco at second base was not in time. After review, the umpires overturned the call, ruling that Story tagged Blanco before he reached the bag, ending the rally with an 0-1 count on Span.

Video: SF@COL: Blanco out after overturned call

WHAT'S NEXT
Giants: San Francisco pulls into the second stop on its three-city trip as the National League West leaders open a four-game series Monday at 10:10 a.m. PT against the Atlanta Braves. The Giants finished 5-1 at Atlanta over the previous two seasons.

Rockies: The Rockies begin a four-game set against the Reds on Monday at 2:10 p.m. MT. They will be looking for revenge after dropping two of three in Cincinnati earlier this season. Taking the mound will be Chad Bettis, who allowed three runs over six innings in an April 20 start against the Reds.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Johnny Cueto, Carlos Gonzalez, Hunter Pence, Buster Posey, Chris Rusin