DENVER – As they entered game No. 132, the Giants hadn’t hit back-to-back home runs all season. They hadn’t received a grand slam from anyone, either.
Well, time to get cracking on that salami.
The Giants not only hit consecutive home runs in the first inning Tuesday night, but they connected on a pair of no-doubt shots. Hunter Pence’s two-run drive cleared the very last row of the left field seats at Coors Field – that’s Andres Galarraga country – and, at a calculated distance of 476 feet, it ranked as the longest home run in the major leagues this season.
Pablo Sandoval followed Pence’s 16th homer with his 10th of the year, handing Yusmeiro Petit a three-run advantage that he did not squander. The right-hander earned his first big league win in four years as the Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 5-3.
Brandon Belt went 4 for 5 (with a scalded lineout to right field in the ninth) and Sandoval finished a triple short of the cycle as the Giants positioned themselves to try for a rare road series win.
Starting pitching report
Matt Cain is on the disabled list. Chad Gaudin is on the disabled list. Mike Kickham hasn’t been very good beyond the first inning. Eric Surkamp got lit up in a brief look.
Welcome, Yusmeiro Petit!
Although he could be off the roster by Sunday, when the Giants need to clear a couple 40-man spaces for younger players, Petit gave the club exactly what it needed. He threw first-pitch strikes to 20 of 26 batters over his six innings, and got the Giants back in the dugout without delay – always a tough task at Coors Field.
Charlie Blackmon hit an RBI double in the third inning and Wilin Rosario’s single scored Troy Tulowitzki in the fourth. But Petit only had one long inning, and that was in the fourth when he pitched around Blackmon before striking out pitcher Chad Bettis to strand the bases loaded.
Petit’s start was his first of the season for the Giants, just his second in four years, and the 38th of his career. The 29-year-old was hittable enough for Triple-A Fresno this season while posting a 4.52 ERA, but there was nothing wrong with his strikeout-to-walk ratio (91 to 13).
He claimed his first big league victory since Aug. 27, 2009, with the Arizona Diamondbacks – against the Giants, actually.
Sandy Rosario stepped in a pile to start the seventh when he walked pinch hitter Jordan Pacheco and Corey Dickerson hit a double. But the Rockies only plated one run, on D.J. LeMahieu’s ground out. The Giants defense picked up Rosario from there.
Javier Lopez struck out Todd Helton, for old time’s sake, to start the eighth. Then Santiago Casilla pitched around a one-out double to escape the inning and Sergio Romo made quick work of the ninth on 11 pitches to record his 32nd save in 36 chances.
At the plate
It’s hard to square it: Pence has just two home runs since the All-Star break, but both those shots were among the longest in the majors this year.
In addition to Tuesday night’s launching that struck a trash can at the far end of the concourse beyond the left field seats, Pence’s home run on Aug. 18 at Marlins Park was calculated at 457 feet – and cleared one side of the, ahem, sculpture in center field. That one ranked as the second longest in the history of that ballpark.
The Giants needed more than two big swings, though. They hit into a series of hard outs until the sixth, when Belt and Sandoval singled and Hector Sanchez lined an RBI hit to make it 4-2.
Gregor Blanco led off the seventh with a double, took third on an error in center field and scored on Marco Scutaro’s sacrifice fly.
Belt was 4 for 4 entering the ninth, when he made his hardest contact of the night – a lineout that right fielder Michael Cuddyer had to backpedal hastily and reach over his head to snag.
You can’t give away outs, especially at Coors Field. The Giants made the plays to snuff out that Colorado rally in the seventh inning, as Blanco got a terrific jump to catch Troy Tulowitzki’s line drive to center. Scutaro followed with some more first-step quickness to his left while snagging Cuddyer’s hard grounder to end the inning.
The Giants could’ve used a lot more of those innings in 2013.
The Rockies announced 26,601 paid.
The Giants and Rockies conclude their three-game series at Coors Field on Wednesday. Madison Bumgarner (11-8, 2.84 ERA) takes the mound against right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (12-7, 3.22). First pitch is scheduled for 5:40 p.m. PDT