SAN FRANCISCO – Gregor Blanco nearly pulled a full Pagan, coming within a few inches of hitting a walk-off, inside-the-park home run in the ninth inning Sunday afternoon.
Okay, so it probably would’ve been scored a triple and an error. Moot point, since Blanco was thrown out at the plate.
The Giants settled matters quickly enough, though. Brandon Crawford led off the 10th inning with a shot into McCovey Cove, matching up his first splash homer with his first career walk-off shot as the Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 5-4 at AT&T Park.
Crawford connected on a 1-0 fastball from Rockies left-hander Rex Brothers to send the Giants to their first home series victory of the season.
Crawford is absolutely bashing left-handed pitching. He’s 7 for 14 with three doubles, a triple and a home run against them.
Starting pitching report
Hudson continued to be the Giants’ most effective and efficient starting pitcher by a wide margin.
He entered the eighth inning with a 4-2 lead having thrown just 67 pitches, and he extended his streak to 23 innings without issuing a walk – the longest by a Giant to begin a season since 1914.
He paid for two pitches to that point. Wilin Rosario hit a solo homer in the second inning and Justin Morneau’s first homer as a Rockie was a solo shot in the seventh. Prior to the game, hitters had combined for just one home run off Hudson in 223 at-bats at AT&T Park, when Moises Alou connected off him in 2006.
Hudson’s first complete game since 2012 eluded him, though. Nolan Arenado and D.J. LeMahieu jumped on consecutive pitches for a pair of doubles to begin the eighth inning, and Giants manager Bruce Bochy tried to play matchups after a sacrifice bunt.
Hudson walked off the mound to cheers, and we can report he’s from the Matt Cain school of ovation acknowledgment: never tip your cap when you’ve left a runner on base.
No NL reliever was better at stranding inherited runners last season than Javier Lopez. He inherited the fourth most (57) in the NL and his strand rate of 89.5 percent was the best in the league.
But he couldn’t protect the lead – and Hudson’s decision – when Rockies manager Walt Weiss surprisingly pinch-hit for red-hot Charlie Blackmon. Drew Stubbs was able to thread a tying single through the left side.
Santiago Casilla retired two very dangerous hitters – Michael Cuddyer and Carlos Gonzalez – to preserve the tie, then used a double-play grounder to end a scoreless ninth.
Sergio Romo allowed a one-out hit in the 10th but escaped unscathed.
At the plate
The Giants snapped a streak of 17 scoreless innings in the fifth inning, and their three-run rally began when Hunter Pence received a bruise as a 31st birthday present.
Pence was hit by a pitch to start the inning and he wasn’t fooled by Gonzalez’s deke in left field. Pence raced from first to third on Michael Morse’s deep single. Brandon Crawford followed with a sacrifice fly and Pence scored without a play.
Brandon Hicks, who reached base in each of his first three plate appearances, lined a single and a wild pitch advanced both runners. Pagan followed with his two-out, two-run hit to right field.
Pagan has 10 RBI in 12 games, and all of them have come with two outs.
Sandoval showed more signs of emerging from his early-season slump, hitting a solo home run into the right field arcade as part of a two-hit afternoon. His shot came in the sixth inning and gave the Giants a 4-1 lead.
They nearly won it in the ninth when Blanco hit a two-out drive to right field that took a dead bounce when it hit the archway. Third base coach Tim Flannery sent Blanco home when Cuddyer, the right fielder, bobbled the ball but LeMahieu made an on-target throw and Rosario applied the tag as Blanco was in midair on a headfirst slide.
It would have been a near identical ending to May 25 of last season, when Pagan’s walk-off inside-the-parker beat the Rockies.
Pablo Sandoval made a diving stop to take a hit away from LeMahieu in the third inning. He also needed first baseman Brandon Belt to pick two other throws that skipped in the dirt, though.
The Giants announced 41,490 paid.
The Giants take Monday off before the archrival Dodgers arrive for a three-game series. Tim Lincecum (0-1, 9.90 ERA) takes the mound against right-hander Josh Beckett (0-0, 0.00) on Tuesday. It’ll be Ryan Vogelsong (0-0, 8.00) vs. left-hander Paul Maholm (0-1, 8.10) on Wednesday and Madison Bumgarner (2-0, 3.31) against left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-1, 2.57) on Thursday.