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Giants win second straight, knock Rocks from atop division

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The Giants never want to help the Dodgers.

At this point they’ll take whatever wins they can get.

Madison Bumgarner and friends followed up a Friday night gem tossed by Chris Stratton with a strong performance of their own, taking a second straight from the Rockies (81-67), 3-0, allowing Los Angeles to take control of the division in the process.

This story has been updated with quotes and post-game material from the Giants clubhouse at AT&T Park.

Manager Bruce Bochy has been pleased with his pitching staff, especially with the amount of injuries it’s endured. The last two games have been shining examples:

“They’ve really been throwing the ball well. Our issue has been getting some runs on the board. You don’t expect to get shutouts. To get back-to-back shutouts is pretty impressive.”

Bumgarner (W, 6-6, 3.14 ERA) wasn’t numerically dominant, but he did bounce back from his previous two September starts in which he allowed 11 earned runs over 11 innings. In six innings of work Saturday night, he gave up five hits, walked one and struck out two, allowing just one runner to reach third base.

The veteran lefty chalked it up to control of his arsenal:

“I feel like my slider was better, for sure. Command of everything was good, but if anything was different, I think my slider was much better.”

The Giants (70-79) again did just enough offensively to get the win. Austin Slater contributed for the second straight night, producing a RBI groundout in the second inning. Hunter Pence drove in the Giants second run in the inning shortly after, blooping a single to shallow center on a shattered bat.

Slater said he’s just trying to take what the pitcher gives him:

“It feels great [to contribute], especially with the skid we were on. They both [run-producing at-bats] came from just putting the ball in play. That’s baseball.”

Bumgarner decided to help give himself some insurance as well, leading off the third inning with a loud double over the head of center fielder Charlie Blackmon. Bumgarner eventually scored from third base on a wild pitch by starter German Márquez.

Márquez (L, 12-10, 3.96 ERA) suffered a fate similar to that of Friday starter Tyler Anderson. He allowed three earned runs over six innings, which is a paltry total for the Rockies’ offense to match. However, the San Francisco pitching staff was up to the challenge yet again, recording their 15th shutout of the year, good for third-most in the majors behind the Cubs (17) and Indians (16).

Will Smith capped off the spotless relief pitching (S, 12, 1.84 ERA), picking up his 12th save.

The only detractor from the game was Bumgarner having to exit earlier than expected due to discomfort on his right side. With just 64 pitches through six innings, he looked poised to pick up a complete game of his own.

Bochy said he was pulled for precautionary reasons:

“The smart thing to do is to get him out of there. We expect him to make the nest start. We were just being cautious with him.”

Bumgarner fully understood the decision:

“It feels fine. It’s probably as minor as it could be. But they wanted to be cautious about it. I’m on board, with the situation we’re in.”

On Deck

The Giants will attempt to sweep the Rockies Sunday afternoon, sending rookie sensation Dereck Rodriguez (6-3, 2.35 ERA) to the bump to oppose Antonio Senzatela (4-6, 5.01 ERA).

Notes

Bumgarner has now allowed three runs or fewer in 14 of his 19 starts this season. … The Giants game Saturday night was their 103rd decided by three runs or fewer, which is the most in the majors. They improved to 50-53 in those games.

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