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Castillo halts 450 at-bat homerless drought at 'good' time for Giants

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants are beginning to show some signs of progress at the end of the first month of the post-Barry Bonds era in San Francisco.

Jose Castillo ended a 450 at-bat homerless drought with a tiebreaking shot to lead off the seventh inning and Fred Lewis preserved the lead with a diving catch in the eighth that sent the Giants to a 3-2 victory against the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday.

After starting the season 1-6, the Giants went 12-10 the rest of April and are in third place in the NL West. That's a much better start than the 100-loss season some expected following the team's decision not to bring Bonds back for another season

"It's the media that expects us to finish last not the people in this clubhouse. Everybody in this clubhouse expects us to make the playoffs. That's what we come in here every day to do," said outfielder Aaron Rowand, who also homered. "Being as young as we are, I think this month was a good month in the fact that the guys are finding themselves, finding their strides, coming together as a team."

Castillo was looking for a sinker from Ryan Speier (0-1) after striking out with the bases loaded against the right-hander on Monday. Castillo got what he was looking for and drove the first pitch over the left-field wall for his first homer since Aug. 14, 2006, for Pittsburgh against Milwaukee.

"He picked a good time to hit his first one," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He certainly picked a fine time. He got a ball up there that he could handle."

Castillo's homer gave the Giants a 3-2 lead they struggled to hold onto. With a runner on second base and two outs in the eighth inning, Willy Taveras hit a sinking line drive off Tyler Walker to left field.

"Right off the crack of the bat I thought it was a base hit," Walker said. "He usually hits those line drives that kind of sink and get over there because he'll throw his bat at the breaking ball and find a way to hit it soft enough. He might have hit that one too hard."

Lewis, who moved in a few steps when Taveras had two strikes, charged and made a headlong dive to make the catch, popping up and pumping his fist after the play. Walker was also excited with an exaggerated fist pump on the mound and pointing out at Lewis in appreciation.

"The main thing I wanted to make him do was beat me over my head because he was hitting a lot of flares today," Lewis said.

Merkin Valdez (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 hitless innings to earn his first career victory and Brian Wilson got three outs for his ninth save in 10 chances.

Ryan Spilborghs hit an RBI double and Garrett Atkins also drove in a run for the defending NL champion Rockies, who stranded 12 runners in this game and 28 in the series.

"That's a lot," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Unfortunately it's been in the month of April that it's continued to be a thorn for us. April's over. Turn our eyes on May. There's nothing we can do about April. We have to focus on May. We have to get things going in a much better fashion."

Colorado has played 16 consecutive days, going 6-10, and could be without star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki for a while. Tulowitzki returned to Denver on Wednesday to have an MRI on his left leg. He injured himself fielding a ball in the first inning Tuesday and could be headed to the disabled list.

The Giants tied the game at 2 on Randy Winn's RBI single that knocked Ubaldo Jimenez out of the game with one out in the sixth inning.

Jimenez allowed two runs and three hits in 5 1/3 innings after giving up six runs in 2 1/3 innings in his previous start against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"We saw marked improvement in a lot of different areas," Hurdle said. "He was going to have a short leash no matter what today and I thought he gave us an excellent opportunity to win. He did some things very well today."

Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez allowed two runs, five hits and five walks in 5 2/3 innings.

Notes

  • Taveras matched his career high with three stolen bases. He also did it last season at Florida.
  • Atkins went 0-for-4 and had his 14-game hitting streak snapped.
  • Wilson's nine saves is the most for any Giants pitcher before May 1 since Robb Nen also had nine in 1999. Rod Beck had 11 in 1997.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Jose Castillo's first home run since Aug. 14, 2006, proves to be the difference for the Giants.  (AP)
Jose Castillo's first home run since Aug. 14, 2006, proves to be the difference for the Giants. (AP)

Players of the Game
San Francisco

J. Castillo
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
Colorado

U. Jimenez
IP 5.1
H 3
ER 2
BB 2
K 4
 
Colorado Rockies
Willy Taveras, CF3110201 .272
    Manny Corpas, P0000000 .000
Todd Helton, 1B4110121 .278
Matt Holliday, LF5000015 .303
Garrett Atkins, 3B4001024 .319
Ryan Spilborghs, RF5011011 .298
Chris Iannetta, C3010110 .324
Clint Barmes, SS3010101 .292
Jon Herrera, 2B2000104 .000
   a- Scott Podsednik, PH-CF0000100 .310
Ubaldo Jimenez, P3000002 .000
    Ryan Speier, P0000000 .000
    Matt Herges, P0000000 .000
   b- Brad Hawpe, PH1000001 .239
    Omar Quintanilla, 2B0000000 .000
Totals3325277  
a-walked for Herrera in the 8th
b-flied out for Herges in the 8th
Batting
2B - Ryan Spilborghs (2, Sanchez), Clint Barmes (6, Sanchez)
SF - Garrett Atkins (2)
RBI - Garrett Atkins (21), Ryan Spilborghs (10)
2-OUT RBI - Ryan Spilborghs (8)
SB - Willy Taveras 3 (11, 3rd base off Sanchez/Holm, 2nd base off Sanchez/Holm, 3rd base off Sanchez/Holm)
Team LOB - 12
Fielding
DP - Quintanilla-Barmes-Helton
Colorado Rockies
Ubaldo Jimenez 5.1322241 5.90
Ryan Speier (L,0-1) 1211001 2.38
Matt Herges 0.2100000 2.08
Manny Corpas 1100000 6.46
Pitches-Strikes - Ubaldo Jimenez 74-45, Ryan Speier 14-9, Matt Herges 11-5, Manny Corpas 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ubaldo Jimenez 7-5, Ryan Speier 3-0, Matt Herges 1-1, Manny Corpas 2-0
Batters Faced - Ubaldo Jimenez 21, Ryan Speier 5, Matt Herges 3, Manny Corpas 3
San Francisco Giants
Fred Lewis, LF3110101 .337
Eugenio Velez, 2B4000013 .250
Randy Winn, RF4011000 .241
Aaron Rowand, CF4121001 .326
John Bowker, 1B4000002 .193
    Brian Wilson, P0000000 .000
Jose Castillo, 3B3111010 .222
Emmanuel Burriss, SS3000010 .200
Steve Holm, C2020100 .333
Jonathan Sanchez, P2000012 .077
    Merkin Valdez, P0000000 .000
   a- Ray Durham, PH1000001 .247
    Tyler Walker, P0000000 .000
    Daniel Ortmeier, 1B0000000 .250
Totals3037324  
a-flied out for Valdez in the 7th
Batting
HR - Aaron Rowand (2, Jimenez), Jose Castillo (1, Speier)
RBI - Randy Winn (10), Aaron Rowand (14), Jose Castillo (7)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
E - Jose Castillo (5, Misplayed grounder), Eugenio Velez (1, Misplayed grounder), Tyler Walker (1, Throwing)
San Francisco Giants
Jonathan Sanchez 5.2522540 3.48
Merkin Valdez (W,1-0) 1.1000020 1.26
Tyler Walker (H,6) 1000100 2.25
Brian Wilson (S,9) 1000110 2.92
Pitches-Strikes - Jonathan Sanchez 109-62, Merkin Valdez 16-11, Tyler Walker 15-9, Brian Wilson 25-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jonathan Sanchez 10-5, Brian Wilson 1-1
Batters Faced - Jonathan Sanchez 29, Merkin Valdez 4, Tyler Walker 4, Brian Wilson 4
Game Information
Attendance - 30509
Game Time - 2:52
Temperature - 60
Umpires - Home - Jerry Meals, First Base - Bill Miller, Second Base - Paul Emmel, Third Base - Gary Darling