SAN FRANCISCO – The good news for the Giants: They got some early offense to jump ahead of the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.
The bad news: It took them quite a while to cross home plate again.
It still resulted in a 4-2 victory, and after dropping two of three to the St. Louis Cardinals, the Giants won’t quibble about how they bagged this ‘W’.
Hunter Pence connected off Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa for a three-run homer in the first inning and that wound up being all the offense the Giants needed.
Madison Bumgarner wasn’t particularly sharp over his 5 2/3 innings, but he was good enough to protect that early lead and then hand things over to his bullpen, which performed admirably to help the Giants move back over .500 at 4-3.
It didn’t come easily as Sergio Romo allowed a leadoff double in the ninth to Josh Rutledge. But he followed with three straight strikeouts to finish it.
Starting pitching report
It was one laborious night for Bumgarner, who crammed 104 pitches into just 5 2/3 innings. He minimized the damage and led 3-2 when he left in the sixth. But this won’t be a formula he wants to repeat. The lefty walked five (one intentional) and issued a free pass to the leadoff hitter in the third, fourth and fifth innings. He benefited from an early 3-0 lead. In the third, he walked leadoff man Eric Young Jr. but promptly picked him off. That came in handy when Carlos Gonzalez launched an 0-1 pitch that bounced into McCovey Cove – a solo homer that otherwise would have been a two-run shot. Bumgarner got even in the fifth when Gonzalez stepped to the plate with two runners on. Bumgarner got him swinging on a curve ball in the dirt to end the threat. The Rockies cut the lead to 3-2 in the sixth when Michael Cuddyer singled with one out, stole second and scored on Chris Nelson’s single to left.
An excellent overall effort after Bumgarner’s short night. Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt and Sergio Romo blanked Colorado over the final 3 1/3 innings to salt away a victory.
At the plate
Fireworks early for the Giants, then mostly silence. They jumped out to an early lead in the first, a rally that began with slumping Marco Scutaro singling sharply to left. Pablo Sandoval added another single, and after Buster Posey struck out, Hunter Pence ripped a no-doubter into the left-field seats for a three-run homer. But after that, the Giants rang up just three more hits over the next six innings, keeping the game a nail-biter. After Posey went hitless in his first three at-bats with two strikeouts, making him 4 for 23 on the season, the Giants cleanup man lined an opposite-field, run-scoring single with two outs in the eighth to stretch a 3-2 lead to 4-2.
In the field
It was a solid overall night, with Brandon Crawford making a terrific play to start a 6-4-3 double play in the fourth. Andres Torres booted a ball in left field on Chris Nelson’s RBI single in the sixth, but it’s unknown if he would have had a play at the plate anyway.
A sellout crowd of 41,133 was treated to Irish Heritage Night, including a pregame concert by The Irish Pipers Band of San Francisco. Bagpipes and drums are never a bad thing.
Tim Lincecum goes for his second straight win to start 2013 when he takes the hill Tuesday night. He is 11-7 with a 3.55 ERA in 23 career starts against Colorado. Opposing him will be right-hander Juan Nicasio, who collected his first career road win (in his 11th road start) on Wednesday at Milwaukee.