Resilient Rockies top Giants in series opener
DENVER -- The Rockies overcame three Giants' leads to win their series opener, 6-4, on Friday. A three-run sixth put the Rockies ahead for good. The rally included run-scoring doubles by DJ LeMahieu and pinch-hitter Rafael Ynoa.
Eddie Butler pitched six innings and ended up with the win. The Rockies' 15-hit attack included seven doubles and a third-inning homer by Charlie Blackmon.
The Rockies turned four double plays, including two that were far from routine. Center fielder Charlie Blackmon ran into right-center to haul in Buster Posey's drive and then doubled Angel Pagan off first to end the third. Third baseman Nolan Arenado made a jaw-dropping, backhanded stop no Casey McGehee's hard smash with runners on first and second and no outs in the fourth, ran about 15 feet to the base and barely got McGehee with a perfect throw.
"I felt that game could've gone a different direction four or five different times," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "The defense is a big reason why we kept it on our side. Nolan, it seems like almost nightly he does something to change the game defensively."
It was the Rockies' third straight victory and ended the Giants' three-game winning streak. San Francisco took a 2-0 lead on Justin Maxwell's two-run homer in the second.
"I was just being ready for a pitch to hit," Maxwell said. "Just tried to hit the ball hard. Didn't try to do too much. I got a good pitch to hit and put a pretty good swing on it."
San Francisco went ahead, 3-2, in the third on Angel Pagan's single and 4-3, in the fifth on Brandon Belt's two-out double. But rookie starter Chris Heston, who allowed 11 hits, was unable to hold the lead and was knocked out after 5 1/3 innings.
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Welcome to Colorado: Heston saw his streak of three starts going six innings or more with one earned run or less come to an end in the second inning Friday. He gave up back-to-back doubles to reigning batting champ Justin Morneau and Nick Hundley to lead off the inning, then gave up an RBI single to LeMahieu to put the skids on his streak. Heston left after 5 1/3, pitching fewer than six for the first time this season.
"You want to give up less than the other team, but you also want to give your team a chance to be in striking distance," Heston said. "We lost by a couple tonight, but we were in it the whole time. That was a good thing I could take from tonight." More >
Rally killer: Arenado started a dazzling double play in the fourth. With runners on first and second and no outs, Arenado backhanded McGehee's hard grounder near the third-base line, ran to the base to force Brandon Belt and fired to first just in time to get McGehee. Eddie Butler then intentionally walked Brandon Crawford to get to Heston, who grounded a single into right field to load the bases. But Butler got Gregor Blanco to ground out and escaped unscathed. More >
Doubling up: Ynoa's pinch-hit double in the sixth capped a three-run rally that gave the Rockies a 6-4 lead. It was Ynoa's second successive pinch-hit double -- he had one in the eighth inning on Thursday -- and the Rockies' third double of the inning. Carlos Gonzalez and LeMahieu began the inning with back-to-back doubles.
"It's my first time doing that, because in the Minors I used to play a lot," said Ynoa, a 27-year-old rookie in September when he made his major league debut with the Rockies, about pinch-hitting. "I'm just trying to do my best. I'm getting prepared early. I'm trying to put a good swing on the ball, and I don't try to do too much."
Busted: Buster Posey was 0-for-4 Friday, coming to the plate with someone on base every time he was up. He made the last out of the inning in three of his four appearances. Posey's .400 batting average (56-for-140) at Coors Field is the highest of any active player with a minimum of 120 plate appearances.
Video: SF@COL: Maxwell leaps to make catch on warning track
"The first one was a little circus act. I think normally that ball would have been right at me, but since we're playing in outer space here, it kept carrying and I was just fortunate I have really long arms." -- Giants right fielder Justin Maxwell on a leaping seventh-inning catch at the warning track to rob Morneau of an extra-base hit. Maxwell had another great catch off Nick Hundley's sinking drive in the eighth with two outs and runners on second and third.
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Video: SF@COL: Heston singles for his first career hit
Heston's single in the fourth was his first Major League hit. He began his career 0-for-10 with two strikeouts.
"That was pretty cool," Heston said. "It was the first hit I was able to get up here, so it's a pretty special moment. Every time I go up there, I'm just trying to put the bat on the ball, and luckily it snuck through a hole there."
Bochy gets tossed: Giants manager Bruce Bochy was ejected from the game in the middle of the eighth after arguing with home-plate umpire John Tumpane about his third strike call on Crawford. With the Giants trailing 6-4 with two outs, and Belt on third, Tumpane called Crawford out on a 1-2 pitch from Boone Logan. Crawford stayed at the plate to discuss the inning-ending call with Tumpane, but when Bochy came to add his two cents, Tumpane sent him to an early shower.
"Crawford, I don't blame him. He was frustrated," Bochy said of the call. "I'd seen that pitch called all night, and it's a big at bat. We're trying to get back in the game. So that's frustration."
Giants: Saturday starter Tim Hudson (0-2, 3.93 ERA) pitched well against the Rockies in San Francisco, but took the loss after allowing three runs on eight hits over seven innings. His last time out, he gave up five runs on six hits and two walks in five innings against the D-backs.
Rockies Jorge De La Rosa is coming off a rocky 2015 debut Monday, when he gave up a career-high nine runs, seven earned, and nine hits in two innings against the Padres.
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