Rockies rally late to beat Giants, 2-1
SAN FRANCISCO – The San Francisco Giants were in prime position to gain ground in both the NL West and wild-card races until they got beat on a strange shattered-bat triple and an uncharacteristically off throw by their second baseman when he couldn’t grip the ball.
The Colorado Rockies rode that big break a step closer to making their own postseason push.
Carlos Gonzalez tripled over charging right fielder Cody Ross with no outs in the ninth and scored on Freddy Sanchez’s second throwing error of the game, and the Rockies rallied to beat the Giants 2-1 on Monday night.
“When you see the bat shatter, hear the sound, you’re going to break in,” said Ross, making just his second start in right field since joining the Giants last week. “You think you have the right read on it and the next thing you know it’s over your head. … That’s kind of a bizarre broken-bat triple. I’ve never seen anything like that, really.”
The Giants squandered a key chance to gain ground on first-place San Diego in the division and the Phillies in the wild-card race after both those teams lost. Instead, San Francisco still sits five games back in the division and 1 1/2 games behind Philadelphia.
Colorado sits 3 1/2 games behind the Phillies, two behind the Giants.
Gonzalez, a right fielder himself, felt for Ross.
“It was difficult,” Gonzalez said. “As an outfielder, you see the bat broke and your first move is going to be running into the infield. It was crazy because I hit the ball on the barrel and I didn’t know how that bat broke. I guess it was meant to be. It was crazy. That’s how we won the game.”
Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez carried a shutout bid into the ninth then gave way to All-Star closer Brian Wilson (3-2) after a leadoff walk to Dexter Fowler. After Ross’ miscue, Freddy Sanchez’s relay throw skipped past third baseman Pablo Sandoval and Wilson.
Rafael Betancourt (5-1) pitched the eighth for the win, then Huston Street finished for his 13th save in 17 chances.
“I don’t think you can understate that win right there,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “We made them earn the things that they got.”
Despite getting back-to-back quality outings from Matt Cain and Sanchez, Giants starters are just 5-13 over their last 27 games. The once-reliable bullpen blew Cain’s three-run lead in the seventh inning Sunday against Arizona, then Wilson couldn’t hold it for Sanchez.
“I could have finished the inning. He wanted to go with the closer, though,” Sanchez said. “I was on. I had all my pitches working for strikes.”
The move wasn’t easy for manager Bruce Bochy, who said Sanchez got out of his delivery.
Buster Posey put San Francisco ahead on an RBI single in the fourth. Posey returned to the lineup after missing two games to rest a mild strain in his left forearm sustained Friday night against Arizona.
Sanchez left to a rousing standing ovation. His performance had come at an ideal time as the September stretch run nears with 19 straight games against division opponents. The Giants beat last-place Arizona 9-7 on Sunday to avoid what would have been an embarrassing sweep at home.
San Francisco was in the hunt until mid-September last year but wound up missing the playoffs for a sixth consecutive year.
Jorge De La Rosa struck out nine to match his season high and avoided losing to the Giants for the first time in 11 career outings, including seven starts. He is 6-0 – 3-0 at AT&T Park – with the six wins his most against any opponent. De La Rosa hung tough with Sanchez, allowing one run on four hits in seven strong innings.
The Rockies, fresh off a 5-1 homestand, couldn’t capitalize on the Giants grounding into double plays in the second, fourth and sixth innings. They did when it mattered.
Freddy Sanchez also committed an error in the first inning – his third in four games after not having one all year before this stretch. The throwing error allowed Eric Young Jr. to go from first to second following a leadoff single. Young was then caught stealing, the Giants’ first in the last 16 attempts by opponents.
Colorado’s Clint Barmes came off the bereavement list and was in the lineup at shortstop in place of Troy Tulowitzki, sidelined for what could be a few days with a sore left groin. Tulowitzki extended his hitting streak to 10 games Sunday.
Notes: The Rockies are tweaking their rotation for Thursday and Friday: Jhoulys Chacin will go in Thursday’s makeup game with the Phillies at Coors Field and Aaron Cook on Friday in San Diego. … Rockies pitchers Jeff Francis and Matt Daley, both on the DL, are set to throw simulated games Tuesday. … Injured Giants INF Mark DeRosa (wrist surgery) hopes to begin swinging sometime this month and be ready to return if the Giants make the playoffs, but him playing again in 2010 is still highly unlikely. “The Gods are not for him this year,” Bochy said.