SAN FRANCISCO -- The Rockies relied on an early burst of offense and effective late-inning pitching and defense Sunday to outlast the Giants, 4-3, in soggy conditions at AT&T Park.
By taking three of four, the Rockies won a four-game series at San Francisco for the first time in team history.
"It's a big deal; that's pretty cool," said Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, who doubled twice and finished the series 6-for-16 with three doubles, a homer and three RBIs. "We came ready to go, we competed and we didn't shy away from that second game that we lost. The thing about this group is we never lose sight of what we can do."
"I gave up three runs in the first inning, then I just woke up and said, 'Keep the game close for my team,'" Senzatela said.
The Giants put their leadoff batter aboard or had a runner in scoring position with one out or fewer in each inning from the fifth through eighth, yet could not score.
"I think we need to figure out a way to scratch one or two [runs] across when we need them to close the gap and stay away from the heart of the other team's bullpen," Samardzija said. "That comes from not letting runs in early, so you can take the lead."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Deep sixth: Colorado fended off the Giants with excellent defense in the sixth. Denard Span opened the inning with a routine grounder to second base that became a little less routine when first baseman Mark Reynolds slipped en route to covering the bag. After Brandon Belt doubled, second baseman LeMahieu dove to smother Hunter Pence's grounder that led to the second out. Belt almost surely would have scored had the ball eluded LeMahieu. Finally, Brandon Crawford tapped a dribbler in front of the plate that catcher Tony Wolters pounced on before throwing to first base for the out.
"DJ came in with big plays and Tony, that little shovel … that was a big play," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "Every play counts. Every pitch counts. When you do these sorts of things, it doesn't really show up in the box score, but those are the types of things that help you win games."
Shark sharpens stuff: This game might have grown lopsided quickly had Samardzija not established his equilibrium. He and the Giants trailed, 3-0, after he threw only 15 pitches. But following Nolan Arenado's two-run double, Samardzija toughened and stranded him at third base.
Nevertheless, Samardzija was far from satisfied. "To start out that way and put yourself in a hole makes the rest of your day a lot tougher," he said.
"I feel like defensively, we were doing everything we could to get outs -- definitely a tough field out there. But we made some really good plays at good times. But Senzatela pitching so well made it easier for us, actually." -- LeMahieu, on the defense excelling amid trying field conditions
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Charlie Blackmon led off the game with a homer. It was his first first-inning leadoff homer this year and the 23rd of his career.
How good was the catch? Statcast™ tells us it was a 4-Star catch. He needed to cover 37 feet in an opportunity time of 3.1 seconds. The catch probability, which took into account where Gonzalez was playing. Off the bat, the ball had an exit velocity of 89 mph and a launch angle of 13 degrees. Balls hit with those figures have a hit probability of 88 percent.
Rockies: Lefty Kyle Freeland (1-1, 5.91 ERA) will lead the Rockies against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday at 8:10 p.m. MT on MLB.TV. Freeland earned the win in his Major League debut against them on April 7. Hyun-Jin Ryu (0-2, 5.79) will start for the Dodgers.
Giants: Following Monday's scheduled off-day, the Giants will begin a two-game Interleague series at Kansas City on Tuesday in a 5:15 p.m. PT encounter on MLB.TV. It'll be San Francisco's first visit to Kauffman Stadium since Madison Bumgarner's pitching sealed the team's memorable Game 7 triumph in the 2014 World Series. Player Page for Matt Cain is slated to start the opener.
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