Giants turn Rockies inside out with homers
SAN FRANCISCO -- Kelby Tomlinson hit an inside-the-park home run and Marlon Byrd and Brandon Crawford each drilled solo shots to power the Giants to a 3-2 victory over the Rockies on Saturday afternoon at AT&T Park.
Giants starter Jake Peavy was pulled after 87 pitches, but a solo homer by Ben Paulsen was the only damage done against him. The right-hander completed five innings, giving up four hits and a walk while striking out two.
Peavy improved to 5-0 with a 2.59 ERA over his last eight starts.
"I was excited the way the season played out once I was able to get out on the field and be healthy on the field," said Peavy, who missed nearly three months with a back ailment.
Colorado's Chris Rusin was also a victim of the long ball, but pitched an otherwise solid game. The lefty tossed six innings, allowing all three runs. He surrendered five hits and two walks to go along with four strikeouts.
"It was just those three pitches," said Rusin, who forced 10 ground-ball outs. "They were my three biggest mistakes, and they didn't miss any one of them. Other than that, I felt good and my pitches were moving."
Rockies manager Walt Weiss said Rusin's performance was mostly the best "of what we've seen this year -- he keeps the game intact and puts us in position to win games."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Superhuman skills: Tomlinson has drawn comparisons in his appearance to comic character Clark Kent for wearing his specs on the field, and on Saturday, he saved the Giants like Superman saves the imaginary world. The rookie showed off his blazing speed, racing around the bases on an inside-the-park homer in the first inning. He then displayed incredible instincts in the fourth, sprinting backward to make an over-the-head basket catch to rob DJ LeMahieu of a base hit.
"There aren't too many guys that are going to get an inside-the-parker there," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It was a close play, but he's fast. He runs the bases well. Roberto [Kelly] was excited to send him there. That's one of the most exciting plays in baseball." More >
Rediscovering power: The Rockies' Paulsen hasn't played much recently because of Justin Morneau's return from a lengthy period on the disabled list, but Paulsen needed the rest. He has lost 15 pounds over the course of the season, and one of his assignments for next season is to maintain his weight. But Paulsen said this week he still feels as strong, and he proved it by driving a home run -- his 11th this season but first since Aug. 24 -- to right-center field off Peavy in the fifth.
Paulsen nearly homered on his first at-bat.
"I faced [Peavy] at our place less than a month ago, and it was one of those games where he got me out a couple of times," Paulsen said. "I tried to have a good approach and stick with that, and it worked."
Finishing the job: Santiago Casilla needed to finish 55 games in 2015 to have his $6.5 million option for next season vest. On Saturday, the reliever closed out his 55th game of the season, racking up his 38th save of the year.
"Now I feel pretty happy," said Casilla, who admitted he was dwelling on the option last week. "Thank you, Bochy. Thank you, Bobby [Evans, Giants general manager]."
Passing the test: Corey Dickerson, who started for the Rockies in center field, missed much of the season with left foot plantar fasciitis. The more he has played, the better he has run. In the sixth, he hustled out a leadoff double into left-center. It set up the Rockies' second run, on Morneau's fielder's choice grounder.
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Tomlinson's inside-the-park homer is the first by a Giant since Angel Pagan accomplished the feat on May 25, 2013, and first player to do so at AT&T Park since Colorado's Brandon Barnes on June 14, 2014. Amazingly, the Rockies have been involved in each of the past four inside-the-park home runs at AT&T Park.
Peavy attempted a pickoff to second base in the fifth inning and the Rockies' Tom Murphy dove back in safely. But the Giants challenged the call after seeing Murphy's hand come off the bag while Crawford kept the tag on, and replay officials overturned the ruling and determined the runner was out. Murphy suffered a left shoulder strain on the play and left the game.
Rockies: Right-handed swingman Christian Bergman (3-1, 4.68 ERA) will make his third straight start and fourth start overall in Sunday's season finale against the Giants at AT&T Park at 1:05 p.m. MT. As a reliever this season, Bergman went 3-0 with a 4.10 ERA in 26 appearances.
Giants: The Giants send veteran Matt Cain to the mound for the final time this season Saturday at 12:05 p.m. PT. Cain makes his first start since Aug. 25, when he allowed six runs in five innings. The right-hander has a 6.15 ERA as a starter this year.
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