SAN FRANCISCO – It’s official now. The Giants are strapped to Buster Posey’s back, and the grade isn’t proving too steep.
Just as the Colorado Rockies began to buzz around like mosquitoes, pestering the Giants with another late-inning comeback, Posey stepped to the plate and announced he simply wasn’t having it.
He sent a 93 mph fastball from Juan Nicasio deep into the night for a two-run home run as the Giants romped off with a 4-2 victory in front of a jubilant crowd at AT&T Park Wednesday night.
The former NL MVP secured Bruce Bochy’s 1,600th victory as a major league manager moments after Santiago Casilla had blown his first save since taking over as closer and erased a decision for Tim Hudson.
Posey, who also hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning, is hitting .484 (15 for 31) over his last seven games, with five home runs and 10 RBIs. He hit just two home runs after the All-Star break last season.
Other than Posey, the Giants continued to struggle against another left-handed starter. Until they can finagle a way against southpaws, they’ll just have to outpitch them and win the close ones.
That’s exactly what they’ve done to right themselves against baseball’s worst road team. A night after Madison Bumgarner struck out 13 in a one-hit shutout, Hudson limited them to a run on four hits in eight efficient innings.
The Rockies were 3-67 when trailing after nine innings, and yes, all three of their comeback wins in the ninth had come against the Giants. Posey didn't allow them a fourth.
Starting pitching report
Hudson took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, but any thought of a perfect game vanished on the second pitch of the night.
Charlie Blackmon hit a grounder to first base, Michael Morse’s feed was a bit high and Hudson, perhaps glancing down to make sure he found the bag, had it tick off his glove. It was called an error on Morse. Hudson committed his own a moment later when he made a pickoff throw that went wide and struck Blackmon’s helmet, allowing him to take second base.
But Hudson mixed his slider and fastball to change eye levels and escape the inning. He didn’t allow another baserunner until the fourth, when Justin Morneau walked and Nolan Arenado followed with a hard grounder that third baseman Pablo Sandoval smothered to start a sensational double play.
Hudson’s no-hit bid didn’t get any deeper. Corey Dickerson led off the fifth by lofting a high drive that sailed over the arcade for the 100th splash homer in 15 seasons at AT&T Park. (Barry Bonds owns 35 of them, in case you were curious.)
Hudson settled down after the tying shot to get three ground balls, with shortstop Matt Duffy making one nice stop in the hole. He pitched around a couple of singles the next two innings, and received an assist from Posey when he threw out a runner trying to steal.
Dickerson’s home run aside, the Rockies didn’t get a runner into scoring position the rest of the game against Hudson. He threw just 87 pitches, 61 for strikes.
Casilla was under the weather with gastrointestinal distress on Tuesday but was called upon for a save situation. He wasn’t the closer the last time the Rockies visited AT&T Park in June, when they were down in the eighth inning or later yet came back to win all three games and unseat Sergio Romo as the Giants’ closer.
Turns out Casilla had his troubles, too. He plunked Drew Stubbs in the back with a pitch to start the ninth, then Morneau followed with a tying double to left-center. It was Casilla’s first blown save in 12 opportunities since taking over the closer role, and the crowd, who couldn’t understand why Manager Bruce Bochy took out Hudson, responded with boos.
Casilla was able to strand Morneau and preserve the tie by getting two ground balls, including a double-play grounder from Michael McKenry following an intentional walk to Dickerson.
At the plate
The Giants had a hard time stringing together hits against left-hander Franklin Morales. They had runners at the corners in both the second and third innings yet failed to score.
It took a safety squeeze from Gregor Blanco to get them on the board when they once again created a first-and-third situation in the fourth. Matt Duffy stung a one-out double, Joe Panik singled and Blanco followed with his bunt single up the first base line. Angel Pagan stranded two runners in scoring position when he grounded out, though – and whether his calf was acting up or not, he appeared to be running far from full speed down the line.
Morales departed after six innings and the Giants took advantage of Brooks Brown’s wildness to score in the seventh. After a pair of walks, Posey punched a single through the left side and Pagan’s legs appeared much fresher as he scored way ahead of the throw.
Pagan hit a one-out single in the ninth, and after Hunter Pence struck out, Posey fouled off a first-pitch fastball. Nicasio fed him another one, and that was the ballgame.
Sandoval’s diving stop on Arenado was the defensive play of the game. When you’re making a case for a Gold Glove, who better to rob than the defending guy?
With an official crowd of 41,071, the Giants extended their streak of announcing sellouts to 313 consecutive regular-season games. Must’ve been a lot of folks in that Gotham Club bowling alley to account for all those empty seats in the upper deck.
The Giants and Rockies wrap up their four-game series Thursday at AT&T Park. Yusmeiro Petit (3-3, 3.59 ERA) takes the mound against Rockies right-hander Jordan Lyles (6-1, 4.05). First pitch is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. PDT.