Gearrin brings calm to Giants' late-relief role

Gearrin brings calm to Giants' late-relief role

SAN FRANCISCO -- Cory Gearrin may not have known it at the time, but he was ready when Giants manager Bruce Bochy threw him into the crucial setup role.

Gearrin came into Friday night's 6-4 victory over the Rockies at a critical juncture, taking over for Madison Bumgarner and facing the heart of Colorado's batting order.

He did what he's been doing all year. After giving up a hit to Nolan Arenado, he struck out Mark Reynolds with two runners on and got Ryan Raburn to ground out.

"When you're missing guys like [George] Kontos and [Sergio] Romo, you need guys to step up," Bochy said. "He's done that. He's done a great job."

Gearrin, who was coming off Tommy John surgery, impressed Bochy during Spring Training enough that he was going to make the team early.

His role was not yet defined, but when Kontos went down with an injury in April, Gearrin took over a major role.

"He helps soften the blow of losing those two guys and has become a key member of that bullpen," Bochy said. "He's handled it well and the important thing is he wants to be in there late in the game."

Gearrin, whose last save came in May 2013, has shown that when he's healthy, he can be one of top relievers in the league.

Bumgarner may not have wanted to come out of the game after bouncing back from a four-run second inning, but he wasn't going to argue either.

"You're never mad when you have guys like Cory out there," Bumgarner said. "He gets you out of some jams."

Opponents are hitting .083 (1-for-12) against Gearrin with runners in scoring position and right-handed hitters are hitting .184 against him. He's held opponents scoreless in 12 of 13 games.

"He's got great stuff," Bochy said. "That's a good comeback game. The guys found a way to get it done."

Matt Duffy, who tripled in the tying run and scored the go-ahead run on Hunter Pence's single, said it was a great way to come back not only from a 4-0 deficit, but from Thursday night's disappointing game.

"You always want to answer back," Duffy said. "It wasn't just a solo home run, [Brandon] Crawford hit a big three-run home run that put us right back in the game. It felt like we had the momentum again and erased the second inning. I'm glad we were able to finish the comeback."

Bumgarner's 5 1/3 scoreless innings after the second also proved noteworthy.

"You have to throw that aside and just compete," Bumgarner said. "It was a tough second inning all the way around and Crawford's home run changed the ballgame."

Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.