Pill triples twice, Giants defeat Rockies 6-5

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Pill triples twice, Giants defeat Rockies 6-5

Sept. 17, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARDDENVER (AP) -- San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said the task at hand is straightforward for the Giants in the waning days of the regular season."We just got to go out there and try to win ballgames," Bochy said. "It's pretty simple at this point. And obviously, we need some help."The Giants suceeded on both counts Saturday night. They scored four runs in the eighth and then held on to beat the Colorado Rockies 6-5 and extend their winning streak to seven games.The Giants moved five games behind the Arizona Diamondbacks in the National League West with 10 games to play after Arizona lost at San Diego. San Francisco has made up 4 12 games on Arizona in a week.The Giants are also five games behind the Atlanta Braves in the wild-card race where they are third and trail the St. Louis Cardinals by a half game.San Francisco scored once in the sixth to go ahead 2-1 only to have the Rockies take a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the inning. That was the Giants' plight in the eighth, when Huston Street came on for the Rockies and Andres Torres led off with a single."We feel we've got a shot," Torres said. "I got a base hit and everything started. We just got to play hard and win some games."Street (1-4), pitching in a set-up role after Rafael Betancourt took over as the closer in mid-August while he was on the disabled list, then fielded Jeff Keppinger's bunt, but threw the ball wide of shortstop Hector Gomez, allowing Torres to take third."That's a good throw, it's probably close to being a double play ball," Bochy said. "But we caught a break there."Carlos Beltran followed with a run-scoring double that sent Keppinger to third. Street then struck out Mark DeRosa.But Brett Pill, who tripled home the Giants' first run in the sixth off Matt Belisle, tripled again and two runs scored."I don't think I've ever had two triples in my life (in a game)," Pill said. "It was hard to breathe when I got to third."Pill said he benefited from watching Street throw sliders exclusively to DeRosa. Pill fought back from a 1-2 count and drove a 2-2 slider to the gap in left-center."He kind of left one over the plate with two strikes, and I just barreled it," said Pill, a 27-year-old rookie who is 7-for-21 with one double, two triples, two homers and six RBI in his first six games in the majors."I think the problem area for Huston tonight simply boils down to the inability to make a two-strike pitch," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "He had Torres right where he wanted him at two strikes, but he left a changeup enough to where he could serve it into left field. We had an out at second base on the hard bunt by Keppinger. He was going to be out with a good throw...He had two strikes on Pill and left a slider up in the zone. We were in the position we were in to wiggle ourselves of the inning. We weren't able to get out of it."Matt Lindstrom relieved Street and got pinch hitter Aubrey Huff to ground to first baseman Jordan Pacheco. He was slow throwing the ball home, and Pill scored to make it 6-3.Santiago Casilla, filling in for injured closer Brian Wilson, earned his fifth save but not without a few anxious moments. He gave up a one-out single to pinch hitter Seth Smith and walked Ty Wigginton. Mark Ellis doubled to score Smith, and Wigginton scored when Wilin Rosario grounded out.Gomez had gone 2 for 3 in his first major league start, one night after his major league debut, but Casilla struck him out to end the game.Waldis Joaquin (1-0) retired the two batters he faced in the eighth to earn the victory.Notes: Giants outfielder Cody Ross, who came out of Friday's game in the sixth, underwent an MRI that confirmed a strained right hamstring. He's expected to miss about a week. ... Rockies manager Jim Tracy said center fielder Dexter Fowler would not be in the lineup Sunday. He has started every game since Aug. 15. ... Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (left hip), first baseman Todd Helton (back) and right fielder Carlos Gonzalez (right wrist) didn't play. Tulowitzki has missed four straight games and six of the past eight. Helton has missed four straight games and 10 of the past 12 games, and Gonzalez missed his second straight game. ... Brian Wilson (right elbow inflammation), who has been on the disabled list retroactive to Aug. 16, played catch Saturday, and Bochy said, "There's a good chance if he comes in tomorrow and feels fine that we will activate him." ... Giants pitcher Jonathan Sanchez (left ankle sprain) could throw off a mound Monday or Tuesday, Bochy said, and might pitch "an inning or so" before the season ends. ... Esmil Rogers, who is 6-5 with a 5.88 ERA overall but 1-2 with a 9.86 ERA at Coors Field, will start for the Rockies. Matt Cain, who is 11-10 with a 2.79 ERA will make his 26th career start against the Rockies and fourth this season. He's 12-7 with a 3.16 ERA against the Rockies.

Span clinches win for Giants and Gearrin, who had walk-off dreams of his own

Span clinches win for Giants and Gearrin, who had walk-off dreams of his own

SAN FRANCISCO — With the winning run on second and a bat in his hands, Cory Gearrin allowed himself to dream. He was a second baseman at Mercer University years ago and he entered the night with a 1.000 batting average in the big leagues. Why couldn’t this be his night on the mound and at the plate?

Gearrin stopped on the way to the plate and told Buster Posey that he was going to walk it off. He dug in against right-hander Chad Qualls and waited for the first sinker. He swung over the top of it, but he felt it was a quality hack. And then he missed the next sinker, and then the next. 

“I felt good going into that at-bat,” Gearrin said. “It was fun getting that opportunity. I’ve never faced a sinker like that. I felt like I missed it … by a lot.”

Gearrin can take solace in two facts. First, using his own sinker, he pitched three shutout innings, more than earning his keep, and he was a well-deserved winning pitcher in a 4-3 win over the Rockies that became official one minute after midnight.

Second, perhaps he gave the next hitter, Denard Span, a better view of an opposing pitcher’s repertoire. 

“Yeah ... he gave me a lot of information during that at-bat,” Span said as he laughed. 

Okay, so maybe Gearrin’s contributions were limited to the mound, but oh what a job he did against one of the best lineups in the National League. Span didn’t glean anything from Gearrin’s brief battle, but he didn’t need to. He spat on a changeup and then ripped a sinker into right, allowing Gorkys Hernandez to race home for a 14th-inning victory. 

Span, who is open about his distrust of birds, had spent nearly two hours standing under a circling flock of seagulls. Between pitches, he often dropped his hands onto his knees, looking more eager than anyone for the night to end. 

“Those birds were dropping stuff all around me,” he said. “I was like, you know what man, I don’t got time for this.”

The single gave the Giants back-to-back wins for the first time since May 27-28. It validated so much good work, from the five relievers who got the ball to Gearrin, to the Brandons who turned a snazzy double play in the 11th, to Buster Posey, who twice threw out runners at second in extra innings. Gearrin shouted out the defense in his post game media session. 

“It’s not news to us that we’ve got gold glovers all over the field,” he said. 

The Giants trailed by a pair after Matt Cain hung a curveball to Mark Reynolds, but they chipped away. The Rockies were the jumpier team in extra innings, but every rally was cut down by stellar defense and quality pitches. Gearrin threw 34 of them. 

The veteran right-hander had never before recorded more than six outs in a big league game. He got nine outs Tuesday, giving Bochy one extension after another as he battled to make it through a game shorthanded. With Conor Gillaspie headed to the DL, the Giants had just three position players on the bench. That meant Ty Blach was used as a pinch-runner. Jeff Samardzija pinch-hit in the 11th. Bochy thought of using Matt Moore in the 14th when the pitcher’s spot came up. Hunter Strickland was warming up to pitch the 15th, but …

“I could have hit Moore — I probably should have,” Bochy said, smiling. “But Cory is a pretty good athlete and had a pretty good average going into that at-bat. The numbers swayed me.”

Gearrin got his first career at-bat last season and singled. He has not even taken batting practice since that day, but he was fired up when given the opportunity. He was still so fired up after the Giants chased Span into the outfield that he didn’t mind the fact that his shiny 1.000 batting average has been cut in half. 

“I got to use that line for a year,” he said. “But I’ll gladly sacrifice the 1.000 average for a walk-off win.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 14-inning win over Rockies

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 14-inning win over Rockies

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — This, at long last, is a winning streak. A modest one, but still. 

Denard Span hit a walk-off single to right in the bottom of the 14th inning, giving the Giants a 4-3 win that became official one minute after midnight. The Giants have back-to-back wins for the first time since May 27-28. 

The Giants led early, fell behind on a three-run dinger, and then chipped away until the game went to extras. Buster Posey twice gunned runners down at second to help keep the score tied and the bullpen held tough, with Cory Gearrin throwing three scoreless innings. 

Gearrin had a chance to win it for himself in the 14th, but he struck out with Gorkys Hernandez on second. Span promptly singled. If you’re just waking up for work, here are five things to know from a night when the seagulls outnumbered the humans … 

--- Matt Cain needs an assist on the first run of the night. With Gorkys Hernandez on first, he got a sacrifice bunt down on a two-strike curveball that was headed for the dirt. Hernandez went to second and promptly scored on Denard Span’s single to right. The curveball wasn’t so kind in the sixth. With a runner on, the Giants intentionally walked lifelong nemesis Nolan Arenado to get to Mark Reynolds. Cain hung a curve and Reynolds crushed it to left for a three-run homer. 

--- The Giants got a run back in the sixth when Brandon Crawford’s deep fly allowed Buster Posey to trot in from third. Crawford leads the majors with nine sacrifice flies. He also turned a ridiculous double play that can’t adequately be described, except to say that he should expand his trophy case. 

--- Kelby Tomlinson came off the bench to tie it in the bottom of the eighth. His single to right brought Brandon Belt in from third. Tomlinson is 9 for 27 as a pinch-hitter this season. That’ll keep you on the chartered jets. 

--- Sam Dyson, with a fastball that reached 97 and an infield defense that was just as firm, pitched 1 2/3 shutout innings in extras. What a find. 

--- With the go-ahead run on first and no outs in the 13th, Nolan Arenado put down a sacrifice bunt. That's one of the five best moments of the Giants' season.