While the Colorado Rockies are playing very well at Coors Field, one player who has keyed that success might not be able to help it continue.
Following a 4-6 road trip, Colorado (62-71) continued its winning ways back home with a 6-1 victory in Monday's series opener. Todd Helton and Charlie Blackmon homered and Nolan Arenado added three hits for the Rockies, who won for the sixth time in eight home games versus the last-place Giants (58-73).
Colorado scored 3.5 runs per game while batting .186 with runners in scoring position on its trip, but has hit .330 in those situations over the last eight home games while averaging 6.8 runs. Arenado has hit .516 in that span at Coors.
Fowler also has keyed that stretch as he's hit .429 with seven RBIs and nine runs scored, and he ranks among the NL's top 10 with a .316 batting average at home. He singled in his only at-bat Monday, but left in the second inning because of a left lateral knee bruise and is day-to-day.
The Rockies already have been without Carlos Gonzalez since Aug. 4 due to a strained finger, though fellow All-Star Troy Tulowitzki is expected to return after missing the past two starts with a sore oblique.
Tulowitzki is hitless in seven at-bats against Yusmeiro Petit (0-0, 3.38 ERA), who is replacing an injured Matt Cain in the Giants rotation to make his first major league start since Sept. 23. He's made one appearance with San Francisco this season, striking out seven and giving up two runs over 5 1-3 innings in a 9-3 loss to Cincinnati on July 23.
The right-hander has gone 0-1 with an 8.18 ERA in three career starts at Coors Field, though he hasn't pitched there since 2009 while with Arizona.
Helton, three hits away from 2,500 for his career, is 4 for 7 lifetime against Petit.
Colorado counters with rookie Chad Bettis (0-2, 4.50), who takes his sixth shot at his first major league victory.
Bettis bounced back from his worst performance, allowing eight runs - two earned - in 2 2-3 innings of a loss at Baltimore, with a solid effort Thursday in Philadelphia. He had a career-high five strikeouts and allowed one run over 5 1-3 frames before the bullpen blew a three-run lead in a 5-4 loss.
"Everything was working pretty well," Bettis said. "I had better location than my last start. I had the same stuff but my command and location were better."
He may get to avoid Buster Posey , who is batting .491 with six home runs and 14 RBIs over a 13-game hitting streak at Coors. He's reached base in 49 straight games overall against Colorado, but manager Bruce Bochy told the team's official website that he would "probably" give Posey the night off Tuesday.
"I've played him every day here for a while," said Bochy, whose Giants have lost six of nine.
Pablo Sandoval is 5 for 42 (.119) in his last 10 in Denver.
|Jorge De La Rosa||1||.000||0||0||0||0||1||.000||.000||.000|
|San Francisco Giants|
|August 23, 2013||Matt Cain||15-Day DL||Right forearm contusion|
|August 22, 2013||Matt Cain||Day-to-Day||Left game - right arm|
|August 22, 2013||Andres Torres||15-Day DL||Strained left Achilles|
|August 20, 2013||Pablo Sandoval||Day-to-Day||Sore back|
|August 17, 2013||Chad Gaudin||15-Day DL||Carpal tunnel syndrome|
|August 15, 2013||Sandy Rosario||Day-to-Day||Bruised sternum|
|August 26, 2013||Dexter Fowler||Day-to-Day||Bruised left knee|
|August 25, 2013||Troy Tulowitzki||Day-to-Day||Sore ribs|
|August 23, 2013||Rafael Betancourt||15-Day DL||Right elbow sprain|
|August 19, 2013||Yorvit Torrealba||7-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 08, 2013||Christian Friedrich||60-Day DL||Lower back inflammation|
|August 05, 2013||Carlos Gonzalez||15-Day DL||Sprained right middle finger|
DENVER (AP) -- Hunter Pence sidestepped questions about his home run, the one that cleared the top row of seats in left field.
No, he didn't hear anything special when the ball made contact with his bat in the first inning.
And no, he didn't realize it was going to travel an extra-long way.
Pence wanted to avoid that topic all together after the San Francisco Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 5-3 on Tuesday night.
Instead, the outfielder hinted, why not focus on the performance of pitcher Yusmeiro Petit , who won his first game in four years?
Nice try, but that homer was hit too far to simply dismiss.
Officially, Pence's shot went 457 feet. But teammate Brandon Belt thinks it wasn't measured properly.
"That's 500 feet at least," said Belt, who kept up his torrid hitting with four singles. "I'm marking that down - 500 feet."
As for Chad Bettis , the one who delivered the fastball to Pence, well, he had a little postgame regret.
"Probably should've thrown him a different pitch there," Bettis said. "You've got to tip your hat to him."
Pence's two-run homer was followed by Pablo Sandoval 's solo shot, marking the first time all season the Giants have hit back-to-back homers.
"It feels good to get some runs on the board," Pence said. "But Petit really set the tone for us."
Petit (1-0) was recently called up from Triple-A Fresno to fill in for Matt Cain , who was placed on the 15-day disabled list last week with a bruised right forearm. Petit lasted six innings, allowed six hits and two runs. He also struck out six.
Bettis (0-3) settled down after a rough start, allowing four runs and nine hits over six innings.
"He kept the Giants in check after that and he did his job," manager Walt Weiss said. "His makeup is pretty good. He handles himself really well."
Troy Tulowitzki returned to the lineup for the Rockies after sitting out the past two games with a sore oblique. He finished 1 for 3 with a run scored. The Rockies were without Dexter Fowler , who sat out with a bruised knee.
Given his roots as a reliever, Petit pitched out of the stretch even with no one on base.
He also pitched his way out of trouble on several occasions as he earned his first major league win since beating the Giants on Aug. 27, 2009, as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks .
In the fourth, Petit loaded the bases with two outs, only to wiggle out of the jam by fanning Bettis with a low slider.
An inning earlier, Petit struck out Corey Dickerson and enticed DJ LeMahieu to fly out to strand a runner at third.
Just that kind of night for the Rockies, who finished 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
Pence put the Giants on the board early when he hit a two-run homer that appeared to land on the concourse beyond the left-field bleachers. Three pitches later, Sandoval lined a slider over the fence in center.
Getting Pence to talk about his homer, though, just wasn't going to happen.
Feel extra sweet when he made contact?
"I don't know," Pence said.
Watch it sail out of the park?
"No," he responded.
Catch a replay of it yet?
"No," Pence said.
So Belt did the bragging for Pence.
"That's one of the hardest balls I've ever seen hit in my life," Belt said. "I don't know how they measure that sometimes. But I'm pretty sure they go further."
He suddenly chuckled.
"All of my hits combined probably weren't hit as hard as his," Belt said.
Before the game, Carlos Gonzalez provided some fireworks of his own as he launched several pitches into the upper deck during batting practice. This with an injured middle right finger, too.
Gonzalez said his dinged-up digit is feeling better and hopes to soon leave for a rehab assignment. The All-Star has been on the disabled list since early August.
"It's something I can play through right now," Gonzalez said.
NOTES: Giants OF Andres Torres (bone spurs) is scheduled for season-ending surgery on Wednesday. ... OF Angel Pagan (left hamstring surgery) could be reinstated on Sept. 1. ... The Rockies activated C Yorvit Torrealba (concussion) from the seven-day disabled list. To make room, the team optioned utility player Ryan Wheeler to Triple-A Colorado Springs. ... The Rockies will send Jhoulys Chacin (12-7) to the mound on Wednesday, while the Giants counter with Madison Bumgarner (11-8). ... OF Michael Cuddyer 's 10-game hitting streak was snapped.