Pence’s Three-Run Blast Lifts Giants Over Rockies


The Colorado Rockies entered Monday night on a roll having won five straight games to boost their overall record to 5-1. The Giants, meanwhile, seemed stuck in that infamous championship hangover on Saturday and Sunday. And after all, everyone will be gunning for them, especially teams in the National League West. They are the defending champs for a reason.

Hunter Pence slapped the Giants out of that lethargic mode with a three-run shot in the first inning. Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval both reached on singles. With runners on first and third, Buster Posey struck out swinging on Jorge De La Rosa’s 85 MPH slider, but Pence would pick him up.

April 08, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants right fielder Hunter Pence (8) high fives second baseman Marco Scutaro (19) after hitting a three run home run against the Colorado Rockies during the first inning at AT

The Rockies, despite a solid start to the year, aren’t considered to be contenders. But Madison Bumgarner, who walked five in the game, kept giving them opportunities to take a lead, but they fumbled them all.

The Rockies went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, but they made Bumgarner work. He used 16-plus pitches in every inning except the first. He battled through a bases loaded jam in the second, getting the pitcher, Jorge De La Rosa to swing right through a fastball.

Initially, Bumgarner was sharp. He needed only 11 pitches to retire the side in first inning. That would be about as easy as he would have it on Monday night, though.

Another jam arose in the fifth via two walks from Bumgarner. Things didn’t look all to bright when Carlos Gonzalez stepped up to the plate. Gonzalez got the best of Bumgarner in the third inning, when a 78 MPH hanging curveball was one-hopped into Mccovey Cove. Luckily for Bumgarner, it was only a solo shot because Eric Young Jr. was picked off on the previous play to clear the bases.

Bumgarner would get revenge, though. He struck out Gonzalez on a tailing curveball to end the threat in the fifth.

Still, it was a grind for Bumgarner to get through 5 2/3 innings, but he did well to limit the damage he created through walks. The lefty struck out five and allowed five hits, and more importantly, protected Pence’s three-run homer.

The Giants bullpen did well to protect the lead as well, tossing 3.1 scoreless innings. Sergio Romo, who picked up his fourth save in four opportunities, allowed a leadoff double in the ninth inning, but that would be it. Santiago Casilla and Jeremy Affeldt both didn’t allow any baserunners.

It looked like Posey’s RBI knock in the eighth inning was going to be the difference when Josh Rutledge clanked a double off the left center field wall to open the ninth frame. But Romo bared down, striking out the side as the Giants two-game losing streak came to an end.