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Giants impressed with Heston's composure after outing

DENVER -- The Giants learned a lot about rookie Chris Heston when he was called up to fill Matt Cain's spot in the rotation and he responded with three starts of six innings or more while allowing one earned run or less.

They may have learned even more about him seeing him face his first adversity of the season when he was touched up for six runs on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings at Coors Field in Friday's 6-4 loss to the Rockies.

"He handled it well," manager Bruce Bochy said of Heston's initiation to pitching at altitude. "He kept going. The one thing about this park, you're probably going to give up a few more runs. Keep grinding out there, which he did. He got us into the sixth. Overall, he was all right."

There's no shortage of talented pitchers who rue any day they have to pitch at Coors Field, and it's all too easy to blame the park for uncharacteristic leaps and bounds in ERA. Heston, however, put the blame on his own shoulders.

"I left some pitches up there," he said. "I gotta work both sides of the plate and focus on keeping the ball down. My sinker was up, breaking ball was up. They made me pay when I left it up there."

It started well for Heston, despite a leadoff single to right from Charlie Blackmon. Heston caught him stealing, then induced a pair of ground balls to end the inning.

He gave up two runs on two doubles and a single in the second, and Blackmon touched him for a leadoff homer in the third to tie the game at 3. The Rockies ultimately tallied seven extra-base hits against the rookie right-hander.

Video: [email protected]: Heston singles for his first career hit

Heston notched his first big league hit in the fourth. With two outs and men on first and second, he laced a single into right, where strong-armed Carlos Gonzalez kept Justin Maxwell from scoring. Gregor Blanco came to bat with the bases loaded, and grounded out to first to end the rally.

"That was pretty cool," Heston said of his first knock. "I'm just trying to put the bat on the ball, and luckily it snuck through a hole there. Any time I can go up there and turn the lineup over and get the first hitter up there again, I think it's a success on my part. I was just trying to get some guys up to the plate."

His teammates had no complaints, knowing they had ample opportunity to add to their tally and reclaim the lead.

"Heston did a great job," Maxwell said. "He kept us in the ballgame. They got a lot of hits right down the line. You can't defend the line. That's just the game. We were in it, we had a few chances there to tie it in the eighth, but that's why we play."

Heston showed them how he plays: with composure, and with class -- qualities that loom large in the Giants' dugout.

Owen Perkins is a contributor to
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