Olivo, Gonzalez lift Rockies to win over Giants
July 2, 2010
DENVER – Miguel Olivo had two big, bright red scrapes blanketing the top and bottom of his right knee, one courtesy of his slide on a triple, the other a result of a collision at home plate.
He couldn’t be prouder of the scars and what they represent.
“Hustling is what winning teams do,” Olivo said. “My knee is a little messy, but I like it.”
The convergence of Olivo’s gritty play, Carlos Gonzalez’s power and Aaron Cook’s sharp outing helped the Colorado Rockies to a 7-3 victory over the reeling San Francisco Giants on Thursday night.
This is a team that’s beginning to find their form, winning for the third time in four games. Even with smooth-fielding shortstop Troy Tulowitzki sidelined for a month due to a broken left wrist, their confidence is riding high.
“It all rolls together for us,” Cook said. “Starting pitching, back end of the bullpen, a couple of timely hits and before you know it, we’re at the end of the game and we’ve got a win. We’re in a good position right now to get hot.”
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The Giants are traveling in an opposite direction, their skid reaching a season-high six games.
“We got shut down,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We had a couple of opportunities and didn’t quite get them in. They found a way to get theirs in.”
Cook (3-5) allowed three runs and seven hits to win for the first time since May 29. He has thrived at Coors Field this season, posting a 2.64 ERA in friendly confines as opposed to 6.70 on the road.
The sinkerball specialist pitched into the seventh, striking out counterpart Madison Bumgarner before being pulled.
“Just went out there and tried to use my sinker the way I know I can,” Cook said.
Rarely has it danced any better.
“Amazing. He got the sinker, the breaking ball, the slider working – everything working,” Olivo said. “I hope he can keep it up.”
Bumgarner (0-2) lasted seven innings in his second start of the season, giving up four runs and nine hits.
“The kid did well,” Bochy said.
The Rockies broke open a one-run game in the eighth by scoring three times. Pinch-hitter Jason Giambi had a run-scoring single while Olivo’s hustle played a role in the other two runs.
The catcher who’s having an All-Star caliber season brought in one with a triple, leading to the abrasion on the upper part of his knee.
Later, he scored a run when he knocked the ball out of catcher Buster Posey’s glove on an infield chopper – a wound on his knee to show for it.
“Worth it,” Olivo said, smiling.
Dexter Fowler provided a spark on the basepaths, stealing two bases and scoring twice. The speedy outfielder just recently returned to the team after spending a month with Triple-A Colorado Springs to hone his mechanics at the plate.
“We brought him back to be a part of our outfield, like he was year ago – a player that helped make us a special team,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
The Giants moved Aaron Rowand back into the leadoff spot Wednesday, a move that paid dividends against Colorado.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the second, Rowand crushed a curveball to left that just curled foul.
No matter, he followed that with a two-run single through the middle, tying the game at 2 apiece.
Posey later added a solo homer as he took the place of Bengie Molina in the lineup after the veteran catcher was dealt to the Texas Rangers earlier in the day for reliever Chris Ray and a minor-league pitcher.
That would be all the Giants could generate off Cook.
“We had Cook on the ropes. He got his pitch count early and we let him off the hook in the middle innings,” Rowand said. “Cook got back on track and threw the ball well.”
A change in the order has benefited Gonzalez, who hit a two-run homer in the first inning. He has 11 RBIs in 15 games hitting out of the three spot.
Gonzalez has also been wearing out NL West pitchers this season, hitting nine of his 13 homers against divisional hurlers.
NOTES: The Giants began their longest road trip of the season Thursday, 11 games in three cities. … Ray arrived at Coors Field an hour after game time, but didn’t make an appearance for his new team.