Photos: Michael Jeong Photography/SFBay
SAN FRANCISCO — As September comes to a close, the Giants are gearing up for October baseball. The nemesis this week: the Colorado Rockies.
It was a typical home game at AT&T Park on Monday night, with solid pitching and timely hits.
Hunter Pence drove in the go-ahead run with an RBI single in the sixth inning and Madison Bumgarner pitched six innings to earn his 15th win as the Giants edged the Rockies 2-1.
The Giants believe in magic. The magic number that is, to eliminate the hated Dodgers from playoff contention. It’s down to eight combined Giants wins and Dodgers losses. It’s conceivable the Giants could be popping champagne this weekend when they host the San Diego Padres.
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Although they lead the National League West by eight games, Bruce Bochy said the Giants aren’t looking ahead without focusing on the games at hand:
“You’d like to hopefully keep that margin of error and come out here and go hard everyday. All these games are important and we’re not taking anything for granted. … Don’t watch what other clubs are doing, just focus on what you need to do. That’s go out there, play good ball and play hard.”
Shortstop Brandon Crawford — who had two solid hits, a triple that missed being a home run by inches and another double to right center —agreed with his skipper:
“The old cliche, we’re going out game by game so I mean we’re trying to win every game even after … hopefully we clinch. We’re still going to go out there and try to win every game.”
Bumgarner became the first Giants lefthander to win 15 games since Shawn Estes in 2000. If you recall, Estes used to wear No. 55 before Tim Lincecum arrived on the scene.
This one was a struggle for MadBum as he issued four walks through the first three innings. Bumgarner finished the night giving up a career-high five base on balls, but allowed only four hits and a run with six strikeouts:
“It feels better to win a game like that than it does to win a game like that when you’re really sharp and throwing good. It feels good to know that if you don’t have your best stuff and you can still fight your way through it and give yourself a chance.”
The Giants took the lead in the third inning. Crawford crushed a ball deep to center but unlucky for him it bounced off the very top of the wall and back onto the field. Crawford ended up with a triple and scored on a passed ball.
The Rockies tied the game in the fifth. Starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin doubled to the gap in right center then scored on a triple by Josh Rutledge.
The Giants would respond in the sixth inning with three consecutive singles. After hits to right field by Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey, Pence came through with a single to right. Sandoval came around to score on an amusing but ugly flip slide that had to be seen to be appreciated. The Panda was laughing as he high-fived teammates in the dugout.
Five relievers pitched in support of Bumgarner. Santiago Casilla worked 1-2/3 innings. With two outs in the ninth, Bochy brought in Sergio Romo and Rockies manager Jim Tracy countered by using 41-year old lefty Jason Giambi off the bench. Romo struck him out with one of his big sweeping sliders to end the game.