Rockies' bullpen outlast Giants

Rockies' bullpen outlast Giants

Rockies' bullpen outlast Giants
DENVER -- Veteran relievers Matt Belisle and Rafael Betancourt haven't forgotten what late-season drama is like. On Monday night, they demonstrated for their Rockies teammates, many of whom have never experienced it, how to handle it.

With one out and runners at second and third in the eighth, Belisle came up with big pitches to retire Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval, and Betancourt threw a scoreless ninth inning in a 6-5 victory over the National League West-leading Giants in front of 25,817 at Coors Field.

The Rockies (57-83) are last in the division and a long way from postseason talk. The Giants (79-62) need to win every game they can to hold onto their lead over the Dodgers in the division. Monday began a stretch in which the Rockies meet the Giants in seven of their next 10 games. Considering that the Rockies entered with a five-game losing streak and the Giants had won five of the previous six meetings at Coors, it was a chance for the leaders clean up.

But Belisle and Betancourt, two of the four Rockies with postseason experience who played Monday (Carlos Gonzalez and Ramon Hernandez were the others), weren't going to make it so easy. Belisle gave up a run in the eighth but preserved the one-run lead by getting a Scutaro grounder to first base and a Sandoval fly to left field, and Betancourt (28 saves) struck out two during a perfect ninth.

"I and 'Raffy' [Betancourt] have talked about it plenty of times," Belisle said. "This time of the year, I don't care where you are in the race, I look at it as an opportunity to train for next year's playoff run. There's just no let-up.

"It's disgusting, it's embarrassing that we're this far back, but we have a game to play each night. What are you going to do with it?"

The Giants lead the Dodgers by five games.

"We had the right guys up there a few times, including Pablo," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He had an off night.  That's the way you have to look at it.  It's an off night, you put it behind you, and come back tomorrow for a little vengeance."

Rockies manager Jim Tracy, who was ejected for arguing a double-play call that went against his team in the seventh, saw a different club from the one that struggled with its hitting and defense, but pitched well, during its road trip.

"For the most part we pitched very effectively, and we did a much better job situationally," Tracy said.

The Rockies saw their bats return to the tune of 10 hits after seeing their offense disappear during a 1-6 road trip to Atlanta and Philadelphia. Tyler Colvin had two hits, including a first-inning double before Josh Rutledge's RBI double and Jordan Pacheco's RBI single, and Chris Nelson's two hits included a run-scoring triple. Rockies starting pitcher Alex White homered in the second inning off Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong (12-8).

It was White's first career homer and the second for a Rockies pitcher this season. Drew Pomeranz homered on May 7 in San Diego. White hit one deep but foul two pitches before the homer. He was happy to answer fellow starter Tyler Chatwood, who had two hits and an RBI on Sunday.

"We work on our hitting and take pride in it," White said.

Also, the Rockies benefited from a Giants miscue -- Sandoval's error at third on Wilin Rosario's two-out grounder in the sixth -- after having the gloves desert and hurt them in Atlanta and Philadelphia. The Rockies had a 4-2 lead in the sixth before the error. Then Nelson tripled and Charlie Blackmon added an RBI single.

Rosario, held out of the starting lineup because of poor defense during the weekend, entered as a pinch-runner because Hernandez suffered a left hamstring strain while running to first on a ground-rule double in the seventh. Rosario scored when Blackmon grounded into a double play.

NL Most Valuable Player candidate Buster Posey homered off Rockies reliever Rex Brothers for two runs in the seventh. Posey's 21st homer this season was the Giants' second of the night. Hunter Pence's 20th homer, which led off the second, was the only run off White in four innings.

White gave way to Guillermo Moscoso (2-1), who held the Giants to one run and three hits, with two strikeouts, while working the fifth and sixth.

Belisle walked Brandon Crawford with one out in the eighth, pinch-hitter Aubrey Huff singled and Angel Pagan doubled in a run to cut the difference to one run before Belisle took care of Scutaro and Sandoval. In between Betancourt's strikeouts, Rockies second baseman DJ LeMahieu made a nice pickup and a twisting throw to beat Pence at first base.

Tracy was gone by then. Replays showed that Giants second baseman Scutaro, who had picked up Gonzalez's seventh-inning grounder, missed Rutledge with a tag before throwing to first. Second base umpire Angel Campos ruled that Scutaro had made the tag.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.