Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 8, Rockies 3

August 5, 2012, 10:41 pm
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DENVER The question has come up so often this season, yet it still seems a shock to ask it:Can the Giants win behind Tim Lincecum again?They can and they must. And since the All-Star break, they have.Lincecum overcame a wobbly first inning and pitched backwards most of the afternoon, but he held the Colorado Rockies to a run in six innings. Hunter Pence hit a pair of RBI doubles as the Giants won 8-3 to complete a three-game sweep at Coors Field.The Giants were 4-14 in Lincecum starts prior to the All-Star break. Theyve won four of five Happy Lincecum Days since then.Their hitters certainly were happy to be at Coors Field, where the Rockies are holding together their pitching staff with catgut and Elmers. The Giants outscored the Rockies 35-12 in the three-game series.They also went 20 for 52 (.385) with runners in scoring position over the three games. Yep, thatll do it.Starting pitching reportLincecum threw 36 pitches in the first inning, he labored to command his fastball the entire game and resorted to pitching backwards. His 3-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio was plenty ugly, too just the sixth time in his career he issued more free passes than punched tickets.But when you looked up, Lincecum had held the Rockies to a run over six innings. He has a 2.48 ERA in four starts since the All-Star break.Lincecum (6-11) gave up his run in the first inning, which nearly turned disastrous after he got two quick outs. It was unfolding just like Barry Zitos last start, actually. But Lincecum got the result that Zito did not, as Wilin Rosario flied out with the bases loaded.The Rockies put Lincecum in the stretch in each of the next five innings, but he used his curveball to help set up his fastball.The defense made plays behind him, too. Center fielder Angel Pagan got a good jump to catch Tyler Colvins lineout in the third inning. Most notably, left fielder Melky Cabrera caught Dexter Fowlers fly ball and made a strong throw to cut down Rosario at the plate. Catcher Hector Sanchez held his ground and absorbed Rosarios slide while hanging onto the baseball, earning a hearty pat on the back from Lincecum as he walked gingerly off the field.Lincecum threw 104 pitches in his six innings. It was a much better result than the last time he pitched here April 11, when he retired just seven of 17 Rockies hitters in what amounted to the shortest start of his career.Bullpen reportWhat a badly needed outing for Sergio Romo.The right-hander found himself in a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the seventh after George Kontos walked the only two batters he faced and Javier Lopez gave up an RBI single followed by a walk.But Romo stemmed the rally, throwing a backup slider that froze pinch hitter Matt McBride, then authoring one of his funhouse mirror-style slide pieces that Rosario swung through to end the inning.Romo had a 0.60 ERA in his first 38 appearances but hit a four-game skid in which he retired just nine of 19 batters faced. His ERA over that span went up from 0.60 to 2.20.He appeared to flush those bad vibes in the seventh, then went on to retire the Rockies in order in the eighth.Jeremy Affeldt got two quick outs in the ninth but couldnt finish, as he allowed an 0-2 single followed by a walk and an RBI single. Shane Loux entered and brought the series to a merciful conclusion for the locals.At the plateThe Giants acquired Pence to drive in runs, and thats exactly what he did. Pence hit an RBI groundout in the Giants two-run first inning and hit a double to each field while knocking in Cabrera in the fifth and seventh.Pence has five RBIs in five games as a Giant. This was his first game with multiple extra-base hits since June 24.Pences roller to second base and a passed ball allowed the Giants to take a 2-0 lead without the benefit of a hit. Rockies third baseman Jonathan Herrera bungled a potential double-play ball to set up the rally, and pitcher Tyler Chatwood had trouble throwing anywhere near the catchers glove.The Giants added a run in the fourth when Marco Scutaro and Sanchez drew walks, and after Scutaro tagged on Brandon Crawfords long fly out, Lincecum hit an RBI groundout.Pence took it from there, Scutaro added a two-run double in the seventh and Cabrera tripled in the ninth ahead of Poseys single to score his third run of the game.In fieldCabreras throw and Sanchezs block constituted the defensive play of the game in the fourth inning. As usual, Sanchez took his lumps while catching Lincecum. He got smacked on the right hand by a pitch in the first inning, and it must have numbed him up because he spiked one return throw to the mound and nearly sailed another one over Lincecums head.Sanchez singled on a curveball to lead off the second inning, though. So he mustve regained feeling in short order.AttendanceThe Rockies announced 28,804 paid. Two more months of baseball left in Denver. Jim Tracy is going to need that.Up nextThe Giants begin a four-game series Monday at Busch Stadium, with all the requisite heat and humidity of St. Louis in August. Matt Cain (10-4, 2.82) will have to tangle with NL RBI leader Carlos Beltran while opposing right-hander Jake Westbrook (10-8, 3.79). The Cardinals will send right-handers Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly and Adam Wainwright in the final three games of the series. Zito, Ryan Vogelsong and Madison Bumgarner are lined up for the Giants.

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