Giants scratch and claw to maintain WC edge

Giants scratch and claw to maintain WC edge

DENVER -- With two runs in the final two frames -- capped off by September callup Kelby Tomlinson's RBI single -- the Giants came from behind to top the Rockies, 3-2, at Coors Field on Tuesday night.

Tied at 2 in the ninth, the Rockies turned to closer Adam Ottavino, who gave up two hard-luck baserunners before being relieved by Boone Logan. Buster Posey reached on a throwing error by shortstop Daniel Descalso to lead off the inning, and Hunter Pence followed him with an infield single on a slow bouncer right back to Descalso. Tomlinson knocked in the go-ahead run two batters later for his fourth RBI of the season.

"They got a big strikeout there, and Kelby came through," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "That's what it's about -- guys picking each other up. The bullpen did, and Kelby did tonight for us. He did a good job. Much more energy tonight."

The Giants could not touch Rockies starter Tyler Anderson after Eduardo Nuñez's third-inning homer, until the eighth, when Gorkys Hernandez and Trevor Brown singled to lead off the inning. Anderson was lifted after allowing a sacrifice bunt to pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza, and Nuñez grounded out to shortstop against reliever Jordan Lyles to score Hernandez.

Nunez's game-tying groundout

"Fourth time coming around in the order, I thought Nuñez had some good looks at [Anderson] throughout the night," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "I thought I took Tyler about as long as I could take him. Jordan did a heck of a job. He came in a tough situation, second and third, one out, and he gets a ground ball and keeps the game tied."

Jeff Samardzija struck out nine Rockies for the second time this year, and gave up just two earned runs on four hits and one walk over seven strong innings. In six career outings at Coors Field, including three starts, he is 2-0 with a 2.15 ERA -- an MLB-best among active players who have pitched at least 25 innings at altitude.

Samardzija fans nine

With the win, the Giants kept their lead over the Cardinals for the top National League Wild Card spot at a half-game. The Rockies fell to 9-18 in one-run games, and remain the only team in the Majors with a positive run-differential (plus-28) and a losing record (66-72).

September surprise:
Tomlinson, who started on an off-day for Joe Panik, initially tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt before he ripped an 0-2 four-seamer into left field. He was hitless in his past 13 big league at-bats, dating back to May 30.

"It's great to get an opportunity again," Tomlinson said. "It's obviously not what you want to be sent back down to the Minors, but it gave me an opportunity to get at-bats. To kind of figure out your swing is tough when you're not getting regular at-bats. ... So it was a great opportunity to go down there.

"But it's definitely just as great to be up here and try to help the team win and get to the playoffs. That's what we play the game for. So I'm excited to be back up here and hopefully get opportunities to help the team win."

Not-so rookie baserunning: Raimel Tapia tied the game at 1 in the third inning on some nifty baserunning. With two outs at second base, Tapia took off as soon as DJ LeMahieu hit a grounder up the middle, and he didn't stop running as third-base coach Stu Cole waved him home, even though shortstop Brandon Crawford knocked down the ball. However, Crawford couldn't come up with the ball, and Tapia scored his fourth run in four starts since his callup.

Tapia's trip along the bases

"I though Stu did a great job, too," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He had him going all the way, and credit to Tapia for picking up Stu right away and seeing that. You can see, the kid creates some things whether it's in the box or on the bases. He plays with a lot of energy."

Pop at the top: Nuñez smacked a 409-foot homer -- the fifth-longest of his 16 this year -- on a 1-2 changeup with two outs in the third inning to give the Giants a 1-0 lead, ending a Giants homerless drought of 122 at-bats dating back to Friday, when Pence went deep to end Jon Lester's no-hitter with two outs in the seventh. It also snapped the club's 19-inning scoreless streak.

Nunez's solo home run

Anderson owns Coors: Anderson limited the Giants to two runs over 7 1/3 innings -- his longest outing of the season -- on six hits with two walks and two strikeouts. The outing lowered his ERA at home to 3.04 compared to 4.21 on the road, despite Coors Field being by far the most hitter-friendly park in the league.

"I've been sticking to it," Anderson said. "I think it's really easy to shy away from contact and base hits when you start giving them up, but our defense here is so unbelievable, so I keep putting the ball in the strike zone, and guys put the ball in play. Sometimes there are going to be outs."

"I don't think you can pin it on any one thing. We've had some tough stretches from the 'pen at times, but when you lose by one, there's a lot of things you can point to. That can be the difference in the season when you play a lot of tough games, a lot of tight games. Our starters have been better this year. We've got to find a way to win those games." -- Weiss

The Rockies potentially saved a run in the ninth inning when they challenged a call at third base that ruled Pence safe on a fielder's choice by Descalso. The umpires quickly overturned the call, leaving the Giants with two on and two out.

Call overturned at third

"I was going to challenge that play, but I wanted to hear what they said up top from the video room," Weiss said. "In a situation like that with the game on the line late, you've got to challenge."

Giants: Right-hander Albert Suarez will make his third straight start at 7:40 p.m. PT on Wednesday, having taken the fifth turn in the rotation from Matt Cain, who was activated from the DL on Friday and sent to the bullpen. In his last outing, Suarez held the Cubs to two earned runs on three hits over five innings in a 2-1 loss on Saturday.

Rockies: Left-hander Jorge De La Rosa gets the call in the final game of a three-game set against the Giants at 8:40 p.m. MT on Wednesday. After allowing five home runs in three starts, De La Rosa has not allowed a homer in each of last two starts. However, he only lasted five innings in both starts, while giving up eight runs (three earned) on 15 hits.

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Ben Weinrib is a reporter for based in Denver and covered the Rockies on Tuesday.

Daniel Kramer is reporter for based in Denver and covered the Giants on Tuesday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.