SAN FRANCISCO -- Third baseman Jae-Gyun Hwang hit a go-ahead home run in his MLB debut on Wednesday as the Giants topped the Rockies, 5-3, to secure their first series sweep of the year and stretch Colorado's losing streak to a season-high eight games.The Rockies took an early lead on
SAN FRANCISCO -- Third baseman Jae-Gyun Hwang hit a go-ahead home run in his MLB debut on Wednesday as the Giants topped the Rockies, 5-3, to secure their first series sweep of the year and stretch Colorado's losing streak to a season-high eight games.
The Rockies took an early lead on a two-run single by Nolan Arenado in the first inning, but the Giants reclaimed it with a three-run fourth inning that featured a two-run homer from Nick Hundley and an RBI groundout from Hwang. Colorado re-tied the game in the sixth on Mike Tauchman's RBI single. Hwang's solo shot in the sixth, which also marked the first hit of his Major League career, gave the Giants the lead for good before they tacked on an insurance run in the eighth.
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"We all know what he's been through and [that he's] given up baseball in Korea to come here," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He reached his dream and hits a huge home run. He got a nice beer shower in there. … It's a special moment. These are moments you love."
Giants starter Ty Blach (5-5, 4.60 ERA) received a warm round of applause from the crowd after bouncing back from a rough outing. Blach went 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on seven hits and three walks while striking out six.
"It was really a gutty effort," Bochy said.
"This game's about picking each other up," Blach said. "That's what we did this entire series. Guys picked each other up. Everyone contributed. It was an awesome win for us."
Colorado southpaw Kyle Freeland (8-6, 3.84 ERA) was charged with all four earned runs in his six innings, as he allowed seven hits and a walk and struck out a pair.
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"It came down to two mistake pitches," Freeland said of the home runs he surrendered. "That was the difference, really."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Day full of firsts: Making his first career start and second MLB appearance, Tauchman recorded his first big league hit and RBI in the top of the sixth inning. With one out, Pat Valaika advanced to third base after Blach committed a throwing error trying to field a bunt. Tauchman was able to drive Valaika home with a single to center field, knotting the game at 3 while his teammates held on to the special ball in the dugout.
Riding without Melancon: The Giants -- fresh off placing closer Mark Melancon on the 10-day disabled list with a right pronator strain -- turned to Hunter Strickland with two outs in the ninth inning to get his fifth Major League save, and his first since September 2016. Steven Okert pitched part of the eighth and retired the first two batters of the ninth.
"The only thing I've imagined is to set my feet on the field, on the grass, at AT&T Park. I never even dreamed of hitting a home run here." -- Hwang, through his interpreter Mark Kim, on his MLB debut
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Hwang became just the 17th Giant since 1919 to record a home run as his first Major League hit in his MLB debut, and the first since Adam Duvall (June 26, 2014). Other notable Giants to accomplish the feat include Will Clark, Orlando Cepeda and Brandon Crawford.
The umpiring crew reviewed a play in the bottom of the eighth inning after Brandon Belt grounded out with runners on the corners. Belt smacked a sharp grounder to Colorado shortstop Trevor Story, who flipped it to Valaika in an attempt to turn two. As Valaika stepped on the bag one for out, Giants outfielder Austin Slater slid in aggressively but didn't make contact. Valaika's ball sailed into the dugout and allowed Belt to reach second. Gorkys Hernandez scored on the play. Rockies manager Bud Black challenged that the slide was illegal, but the umpires confirmed it was a bona-fide slide.
Rockies: Colorado will rest on Thursday before opening a three-game set at Arizona on Friday at 7:40 p.m. MT on MLB.TV. Opening Day starter Jon Gray (left foot stress fracture) will return to the mound for the Rockies for the first time since April 13.
Giants: The Giants have Thursday off to travel to Pittsburgh, where they will open a six-game road trip. Johnny Cueto gets the start on Friday at 4:05 p.m. PT on MLB.TV. He's coming off a strong seven-inning effort in which he allowed just one hit.
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Alex Espinoza is a contributor to MLB.com who covered the Rockies on Wednesday.
Jonathan Hawthorne is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.