SAN FRANCISCO — The seagulls were flocking in Hitchcockian fashion, most of the crowd at AT&T Park had long since gone home and the Rockies’ offense was scuffling, once again.
Until the 12th inning when Carlos Gonzalez came through with a game-winning, bases-loaded, two-out single for a nail-biting 5-3 win over the Giants.
The Rockies loaded the bases on a walks by pinch hitter Chris Iannetta, Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado. CarGo’s special delivery was a soft liner to right field off Cory Gearrin.
Colorado improved to 17-9 on the road, thanks, in large part, to a bullpen that shutout the Giants for six innings. Adam Ottavino pitched two innings, allowed one hit and struck out three. Lefty Jake McGee pitched two shutout frames and Wade Davis who picked up his 16th save in 18 chances.
Overshadowed, but not forgotten in the late-night victory, was a milestone start by Rockies veteran right-hander Chad Bettis.
One year and a day after being declared free of cancer, Bettis continued his encore performance. He was hitting all of the right notes until the sixth inning, when he walked Buster Posey and Brandon Belt hit a two-run homer that just cleared the right-field wall. Belt’s blast tied the game 3-3 and he became the first Giant to homer in four consecutive home games since Randy Winn did it from Sept. 16-30, 2005.
Bettis finished his six-inning stint having yielded five runs with five strikeouts and two walks. He got a no-decision, and after nine starts, he’s 4-1 with a 3.27 ERA.
On March 10 of last year, in the middle of spring training, during a regularly scheduled cancer screening, abnormalities showed up. A subsequent biopsy showed that Bettis’ testicular cancer had spread to his lymph nodes. Instead of continuing his baseball career full go, Bettis began chemotherapy March 20. He had 21 infusions spread over nine weeks.
Remarkably, he came back to make nine starts late last season, finishing 2-4 with a 5.05 ERA.
The Rockies’ amazing disappearing offense pulled off the trick again, getting blanked for the nine consectuve innings until Gonzalez delivered. Colorado had a chance in the 10th after back-to-back singles by Gerardo Parra and Nolan Arenado, who beat out an infield hit. But Gonzalez — 0-for-4 with a walk at that point — grounded out to fizzle the rally.
Trevor Story led off the 11th with a single, but Ian Desmond, mired in a slump that’s getting deeper by the day, failed to get a bunt down and then grounded into a double play. Desmond is batting .167.
The bottom half of the Rockies’ lineup, an albatross much of the season, delivered big time in a three-run second inning against San Francisco left-hander Jeff Samardzija. Story, the five-hole hitter, started off the surge with a one-out bloop single to right, followed by a Desmond walk. After Tony Wolters fouled out, second baseman Daniel Castro — a .148 hitter entering the game — skidded a two-out, two-run double down the right-field line. Bettis helped his own cause by driving in Castro with a sharp single to right-center.
Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (3-4, 3.42 ERA) at Giants LHP Derek Holland (2-4, 4.79), 8:15 p.m., Friday; ATTRM, 850 AM
Freeland is in a very good place. He’s 3-1 with a 1.65 ERA over this last four starts, pitching into the seventh inning each time and limiting opponents to a .175 average during that span. He is coming off an excellent start vs. the Brewers, marred only by four walks allowed over 6 ⅓ scoreless innings in Colorado’s 4-0 win. Freeland gave up four hits and struck out six. In his lone start at AT&T Park, on June 28 last season, Freeland took the loss, giving up four runs on seven hits over six innings. The Giants hit two homers off him. Holland is coming off a solid start on Sunday vs. the Pirates when he overcame a season-high five walks to pitch 6 ⅓ scoreless innings. He was charged with four hits while striking out seven. The Rockies have limited experience vs. Holland, except for catcher Chris Iannetta, who is batting .357 (10-for-28) with two doubles, one homer and six RBIs against the lefty.
Saturday: Rockies RHP Jon Gray (4-5, 4.85) at Giants RHP Chris Stratton (3-3, 4.60), 2:05 p.m. ATTRM
Sunday: Rockies LHP Tyler Anderson (3-1, 4.30) at Giants LHP Ty Blach (3-4, 4.20), 2:05 p.m. ATTRM
Monday: Rockies RHP German Marquez (2-5, 5.15) at Dodgers RHP Walker Buehler (2-1, 2.67), 8:10 p.m.