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San Francisco (79-67)000000003363

Rockies hold off Giants, push NL wild-card lead back to 3 1/2 games

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

SAN FRANCISCO -- Both the NL wild-card lead that looked comfortable only a few days ago and the four-run lead that seemed safe at the start of the ninth inning Wednesday night were dwindling with each pitch for the Colorado Rockies.

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Then Rafael Betancourt escaped a jam to save the best start of Jorge De La Rosa's career and send the Rockies out of town with a 4-3 victory against San Francisco and a 3½-game lead against the Giants in the wild card.

"Three-and-a-half definitely sounds a lot better in your head than 1½," first baseman Todd Helton said. "It was a big game tonight and we were able to get a win."

It almost wasn't to be as the Giants scored three runs in the ninth and put the potential tying run on third base before Betancourt struck out Nate Schierholtz for his first save since joining Colorado in July.

  Playoff Race

That effort made sure that the brilliant work by De La Rosa (15-9) wouldn't go to waste. He allowed three hits in eight scoreless innings to beat the Giants for the sixth consecutive start. He gave the bullpen a 4-0 lead to start the ninth.

"On the biggest stage of his career, in the biggest game of his career, he pitched the best game of his career," manager Jim Tracy said. "That's exactly what took place tonight. That was as good a game as he has pitched I'll guarantee you in his career. And there have been some good ones."

Troy Tulowitzki and Ian Stewart hit home runs for the Rockies, who had lost four straight, including the first two in this series. That helped the Giants shave three games off Colorado's wild-card lead, putting a heightened importance on the final scheduled meeting between the teams this season.

But with De La Rosa outpitching All-Star Matt Cain (13-6) and once again dominating the Giants, Colorado leaves town with a comfortable lead with just over two weeks left in the season.

"We're in a situation now where we need to win ballgames," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "This was a tough one. We know where we are and we know what is at stake."

The Giants opened the ninth with three consecutive singles off Franklin Morales, with the first run scoring on Bengie Molina's hit.

Betancourt came in to protect a three-run lead and got Juan Uribe to hit a grounder to shortstop. Tulowitzki's throw to second base was off target for an error, allowing a second run to score and pinch-runner Eli Whiteside to go to third.

After pinch-runner Eugenio Velez stole second, Betancourt got Edgar Renteria to pop up in a rematch of a memorable encounter last month. Renteria's seventh-inning grand slam off Betancourt on Aug. 30 helped the Giants complete a three-game sweep and tie the wild-card lead.

Betancourt got pinch-hitter Randy Winn to hit an RBI groundout and struck out Schierholtz for the final out.

"We had drama, obviously, in the ninth inning," Tracy said. "Maybe the save of his career. The start of a career and the save of a career."

De La Rosa (15-9) has overcome an 0-6 start to the season to be one of the top pitchers in the NL the past few months. His 15 wins since June 1 are the most in the majors, with three coming against the Giants.

He was at his best protecting a 4-0 lead in the sixth after the Giants put runners on second and third with no outs. De La Rosa recovered by striking out Andres Torres, Freddy Sanchez and Pablo Sandoval in succession, pumping his fist in celebration.

"The old Jorge from earlier this year or last year wouldn't have done that," Stewart said. "You could see his composure out there. He stayed within himself and trusted his stuff and did a great job."

Cain's second-half woes continued as he has won once in his last 10 starts.

Tulowitzki led off the fourth with his 27th home run for a 1-0 lead. Clint Barmes added an RBI double in the inning and Stewart's two-run shot in the sixth made it 4-0.

"For me it was frustrating putting our guys in a hole after six innings, especially the way De La Rosa has been pitching lately," Cain said.

Notes

  • Bochy said he would not tweak his rotation with an off day Thursday. That means reigning Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum will pitch Sunday in Los Angeles and can only make three more starts, instead of four, if he goes on regular rest the remainder of the season.
  • Rockies closer Huston Street (biceps tendinitis) threw a bullpen session before the game and will pitch a simulated game Friday. Tracy said Street could pitch in a real game Sunday at Arizona.
  • LHP Randy Johnson warmed up for the Giants a day after being activated from the DL but did not appear in the game.
 
Copyright 2015 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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The Rockies can finally celebrate after Rafael Betancourt (right) works out of a ninth-inning jam.  (AP)
The Rockies can finally celebrate after Rafael Betancourt (right) works out of a ninth-inning jam. (AP)

Players of the Game
Colorado

T. Tulowitzki
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 1
Colorado

J. De La Rosa
IP 8.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 2
K 9
 

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Colorado Rockies
Carlos Gonzalez, CF-LF4000110 .280
Seth Smith, LF3000001 .307
   a- Dexter Fowler, PH-CF2010010 .269
Todd Helton, 1B4000012 .318
Troy Tulowitzki, SS4131000 .285
Brad Hawpe, RF4000002 .288
    Ryan Spilborghs, PR-RF0000000 .245
Yorvit Torrealba, C3210100 .277
Ian Stewart, 3B4112033 .231
Clint Barmes, 2B4011012 .242
Jorge De La Rosa, P3000021 .130
   b- Eric Young Jr., PH1000000 .289
    Franklin Morales, P0000000 .400
    Rafael Betancourt, P0000000 .000
Totals3647429  
a-singled for Smith in the 7th
b-flied out for De La Rosa in the 9th
Batting
2B - Clint Barmes (28, Cain)
HR - Troy Tulowitzki (27, Cain), Ian Stewart (24, Cain)
RBI - Troy Tulowitzki (78), Ian Stewart 2 (66), Clint Barmes (72)
2-OUT RBI - Ian Stewart 2 (31), Clint Barmes (27)
SB - Carlos Gonzalez (16, 3rd base off Cain/Molina)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Stewart-Barmes-Helton, Tulowitzki-Helton
E - Troy Tulowitzki (7, Throwing)
Colorado Rockies
Jorge De La Rosa (W,15-9) 8300290 4.17
Franklin Morales0331000 3.00
Rafael Betancourt (S,2) 1000010 2.70
HBP - Uribe (by Jorge De La Rosa)
WP - Jorge De La Rosa (12)
Pitches-Strikes - Jorge De La Rosa 111-75, Franklin Morales 12-7, Rafael Betancourt 18-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jorge De La Rosa 6-7, Rafael Betancourt 2-1
Batters Faced - Jorge De La Rosa 28, Franklin Morales 3, Rafael Betancourt 4
San Francisco Giants
Andres Torres, LF4010022 .250
Freddy Sanchez, 2B4110023 .292
Pablo Sandoval, 1B4110013 .322
Bengie Molina, C4011000 .265
    Eli Whiteside, PR0100000 .213
Juan Uribe, 3B2010100 .290
    Eugenio Velez, PR0000000 .269
Edgar Renteria, SS4000015 .250
Aaron Rowand, CF3000012 .265
   a- Randy Winn, PH1001000 .265
Nate Schierholtz, RF3000121 .271
Matt Cain, P1000010 .140
   b- Rich Aurilia, PH1010000 .230
    Fred Lewis, PR0000000 .266
    Dan Runzler, P0000000 .000
    Brandon Medders, P0000000 .000
    Jeremy Affeldt, P0000000 .500
   c- Ryan Garko, PH1000000 .269
    Sergio Romo, P0000000 .000
Totals32362210  
a-grounded out for Rowand in the 9th
b-singled for Cain in the 6th
c-flied out for Affeldt in the 8th
Batting
2B - Andres Torres (5, De La Rosa)
RBI - Bengie Molina (74), Randy Winn (49)
SB - Eugenio Velez (7, 2nd base off Betancourt/Torrealba)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
E - Bengie Molina (5, Throwing), Edgar Renteria (14, Misplayed grounder), Aaron Rowand (3, Dropped fly)
San Francisco Giants
Matt Cain (L,13-6) 6544242 2.71
Dan Runzler 1100020 0.00
Brandon Medders0100000 3.26
Jeremy Affeldt 1000020 1.80
Sergio Romo 1000010 4.30
WP - Jeremy Affeldt (5)
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Cain 90-62, Dan Runzler 16-12, Brandon Medders 2-1, Jeremy Affeldt 17-11, Sergio Romo 7-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Cain 6-9, Dan Runzler 1-0, Jeremy Affeldt 2-0
Batters Faced - Matt Cain 26, Dan Runzler 4, Brandon Medders 1, Jeremy Affeldt 4, Sergio Romo 3
Game Information
Attendance - 38696
Game Time - 3:02
Temperature - 65
Umpires - Home - Laz Diaz, First Base - Eric Cooper, Second Base - Mike Reilly, Third Base - Chuck Meriwether