Rockies salvage final game of Giant series
SAN FRANCISCO – Jorge De La Rosa pitched eight scoreless innings to win his sixth straight start against San Francisco and Troy Tulowitzki homered to help the Colorado Rockies avoid a three-game sweep against the Giants with a 4-3 victory Wednesday night.
Ian Stewart homered for the Rockies, who had lost four straight games, including the first two in this series. That helped the Giants shave three games off Colorado’s wild-card lead, putting a heightened importance on the final scheduled meeting between the teams this season.
But with De La Rosa outpitching All-Star Matt Cain (13-6) and once again dominating the Giants, Colorado leaves town with a 3 1/2-game lead over San Francisco with just over two weeks left in the season.
It didn’t come easy as the Giants mounted a furious rally in the ninth. They opened the inning with three straight singles off Franklin Morales, with the first run scoring on Bengie Molina’s hit.
Rafael Betancourt came in to protect a three-run lead and enduced Juan Uribe to hit a grounder to shortstop. Tulowitzki’s throw to second base was off target for an error, allowing a second run to score and pinch-runner Eli Whiteside to go to third.
After pinch-runner Eugenio Velez stole second, Betancourt got Edgar Renteria to pop up, pinch-hitter Randy Winn to hit an RBI groundout and struck out Nate Schierholtz for his first save since being acquired from Cleveland in July.
De La Rosa (15-9) has overcome an 0-6 start to the season to be one of the top pitchers in the NL the past few months. His 15 wins since June 1 are the most in the majors, with three coming against the Giants.
De La Rosa has never lost to San Francisco in his career, posting a 1.91 ERA during his six-start winning streak. He got a no-decision in his only other start against the Giants and faced them three times in relief.
He was at his best protecting a 4-0 lead in the sixth after the Giants put runners on second and third with no outs. De La Rosa recovered by striking out Andres Torres, Freddy Sanchez and Pablo Sandoval in succession, pumping his fist in celebration. De La Rosa allowed three hits and two walks, striking out nine to improve to 3-0 with a 1.04 ERA this month.
Cain’s second-half woes continued as he has won once in his last 10 starts.
Tulowitzki led off the fourth with his 27th homer for a 1-0 lead. Clint Barmes added an RBI double in the inning and Stewart’s two-run shot in the sixth made it 4-0.
NOTES: Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he would not tweak his rotation with an off day Thursday. That means reigning Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum will pitch Sunday in Los Angeles and can only make three more starts, instead of four, if he goes on regular rest the remainder of the season. … Rockies closer Huston Street (biceps tendinitis) threw a bullpen session before the game and will pitch a simulated game Friday. Manager Jim Tracy said Street could pitch in a real game Sunday at Arizona. … LHP Randy Johnson warmed up for the Giants a day after being activated from the DL but did not appear in the game.
Athletics 4, Rangers 0
ARLINGTON, Texas – Trying to explain their untimely slump is about as difficult for the Texas Rangers as trying to score a run these days.
“You figure you’d have somebody in the lineup getting it done,” manager Ron Washington said.
Trevor Cahill combined with two relievers on a one-hitter and the last-place Oakland Athletics completed a three-game series sweep, their first in more than three months, with a 4-0 victory Wednesday night.
The playoff-chasing Rangers are 1-5 on this homestand, and have scored only one run in their four-game losing streak.
“How can you explain something like that?” Ian Kinsler said. “It doesn’t matter who you’re playing. It’s not productive at all. There’s no way to put a finger on it. We just need to relax and get ready for the next game.”
Next is Friday night against the Los Angeles Angels, who lost 9-8 at Boston on Wednesday night in the second of a three-game series and lead the AL West by six games over the Rangers. The Red Sox lead Texas, who have 17 games left, by 6 1/2 games in the wild-card race.
About three hours before the game, Texas hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo met behind closed doors for about 15 minutes with all of his batters.
The Rangers then went out and were one-hit for the third time this season. They were shut out for the 10th time – three times in a four-game span for only the second time in club history – and have only one run in 37 innings.
Texas is without injured All-Star hitters Michael Young (strained left hamstring) and Josh Hamilton (pinched nerve in back). They have been out for two weeks, except for Young’s one at-bat Tuesday in an abbreviated comeback attempt.
But the Rangers scored 31 runs without them while sweeping a three-game series in a 24-hour span at Cleveland last week before coming home for this crucial homestand.
Cahill (9-12) had a career-best seven strikeouts and walked two in seven sharp innings, limiting Texas to Marlon Byrd’s bloop single in the second. Michael Wuertz and Andrew Bailey each worked a perfect inning to close out Oakland’s ninth shutout of the season.
“You don’t know what they’re going to do. I don’t think about it. We’ve seen them a bunch,” Cahill said. “I just wanted to attack them and be aggressive.”
Or, as Kinsler said, “He threw strikes. That’s all you needed to do against us tonight.”
Cahill retired 16 consecutive batters after Nelson Cruz reached on a fielder’s choice in the second inning. When the rookie right-hander walked Kinsler with two outs in the seventh, Oakland already led 4-0.
Rajai Davis put the A’s ahead to stay when he was hit by a pitch in the first, stole his 38th base and scored on a double by Scott Hairston. Davis, who also scored the first Oakland run and matched a career best with four RBIs in Tuesday’s 6-1 victory, added an RBI double in the sixth before scoring on Ryan Sweeney’s sacrifice fly.
Landon Powell homered for Oakland, his drive to straightaway center chasing Dustin Nippert (5-3) with two outs in the sixth. Nippert gave up four runs and five hits.
Byrd’s hit was only his second in 15 at-bats. Kinsler then walked before slugger Cruz’s sacrifice attempt resulted in Cahill throwing to third for the out. Cahill then struck out Chris Davis and Taylor Teagarden to get out of the inning.
“I certainly didn’t give him a bunt (sign),” Washington said. “Nobody out, runners on first and second, Nelson Cruz up there with 32 bombs.”
Texas is 0 for 22 with runners in scoring position in its losing streak. The lone run came on David Murphy’s solo homer Tuesday.
The Rangers have a day off before opening the desperation series at home against the Angels, whom they also play four times in Los Angeles the final week of the season.
NOTES: The only other time the Rangers were shut out three times in a four-game span was Sept. 18-22, 1992. … The A’s had played 27 series since their last sweep, June 5-7 at home against Baltimore. Their last road series sweep of at least three games had been at San Francisco from June 13-15, 2008. … Light rain fell during the afternoon, but the game started on time. A light drizzle was falling when the game started – and ended.
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