DENVER (CBS/AP) – Carlos Gonzalez’s two-run single off Javier Lopez capped a four-run eighth-inning rally and the Colorado Rockies surged back into first place in the NL West with a 5-3 win Tuesday over the San Francisco Giants.
Gonzalez, whose three-run homer off Tim Lincecum propelled Colorado past the Giants on Monday night, sent a fastball to right field to snap a 3-3 tie and make a winner of Matt Belisle (4-2), who worked one inning of relief.
Huston Street pitched the ninth for his 14th save in 15 tries. He gave up a one-out single to Cody Ross but started a game-ending double play on Andres Torres’ screaming comebacker.
With the two-game sweep, the Rockies moved a half game ahead of the Giants in the division, and they snapped a streak of nine straight losses in games started by ace Ubaldo Jimenez.
Through seven innings it appeared as though the Giants were going to get their sixth win in eight tries against the Rockies and leave town with a 1 ½-game lead over their rivals.
Jonathan Sanchez (3-3) allowed three hits and didn’t walk a batter over the first seven innings but gave up back-to-back singles to Ryan Spilborghs and Chris Iannetta leading off the eighth, then threw away Alfredo Amezaga’s sacrifice bunt, allowing Spilborghs to score from second base and pull Colorado to 3-2.
Lopez replaced Sanchez and Dexter Fowler sent his ninth pitch over the center fielder’s head for a ground-rule RBI double to tie it at 3 and take Jimenez off the hook for the loss.
One out later, Gonzalez, whose three-run homer off Tim Lincecum the night before was the difference in Colorado’s 7-4 win, pulled a fastball to right to score Amezaga and Fowler.
Jimenez gave up three earned runs and eight hits in seven innings. He showed some signs of his old self, striking out seven and walking just one, but he’s still searching for his first win since Sept. 17.
Although he walked just one batter, Jimenez threw some fat pitches at inopportune times and it cost him.
After a six-pitch first inning, Jimenez gave up a one-out double to Aubrey Huff in the second, and Huff came around to score when Ty Wigginton couldn’t get to Miguel Tejada’s ground ball single. Wigginton was playing first base to give Todd Helton a break.
Troy Tulowitzki tied it at 1 when he led off the bottom of the second with his 11th homer, but the Giants grabbed the lead right back on Pat Burrell’s two-run double in the third, when he sent Jimenez’s 96 mph heater on a 3-and-0 count into the gap in left-center, driving in Mike Fontenot and Buster Posey, who had reached on two-out singles.
Before that at-bat, Burrell was just 2 for 23 with runners in scoring position.
The Giants put two more men on in the fifth but Jimenez got out of that jam when Huff struck out on an inside fastball, and Sanchez was stranded at third base in the seventh after leading off with a double.
Jimenez, who started 15-1 last season, when he threw the first no-hitter in franchise history and started for the National League in the All-Star Game, hasn’t been the same ever since he cracked the cuticle on his right thumb on the eve of the opener last month that zapped the zip from his fastball and stole the spin from his breaking pitches.
After his first career stint on the disabled list, he was unable to find any consistency, command or confidence, although he showed some positive signs Tuesday.
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