San Francisco (76-63) at Colorado (59-77)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO
Temp: 87° F
  • Game info: 9:05 pm EDT Tue Sep 7, 2004
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Jason Schmidt looks to move into a tie for the NL lead in wins as the San Francisco Giants open a two-game series with the Colorado Rockies.

Schmidt will be trying to tie Houston’s Roy Oswalt, who is scheduled to start Tuesday, and Florida’s Carl Pavano with his 16th win. Boston’s Curt Schilling leads the AL with 18 wins.

To pull into a tie with Oswalt and Pavano, Schmidt will have to break a two-start losing streak during which the right-hander has a 13.50 ERA. In the second defeat, he gave up six runs and eight hits in 4 1-3 innings as the Giants lost 6-5 to the Rockies on Thursday. Schmidt, though, is 11-3 with a 3.53 ERA in 19 games against Colorado.

San Francisco, vying for a playoff spot, needs a big outing from its ace. The Giants are within striking distance of the Chicago Cubs in the wild-card race, and closing in on the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers, who were swept by St. Louis over the weekend.

“Nothing is over yet,” Giants third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo said. “It’s really interesting, though. I think it’s going to go down to the end.”

The Giants continue to get strong work from new closer Dustin Hermanson.

The right-hander capped an outstanding first month in his new role with his 10th save Sunday. In the final inning of San Francisco’s three-game sweep of Arizona, Hermanson struck out the side to preserve a 4-1 win.

“I feel really good so far about what I’ve done with the role,” Hermanson said. “You can’t be the best closer every time you’re out there, but I hope I just get better. It’s an adjustment. If somebody tells you it’s easy to do, they’ve got to be lying.”

Hermanson has converted 10 of his 12 save opportunities since the Giants abruptly named him their closer over Matt Herges, who has 23 saves but struggled in midsummer. Hermanson has been durable and consistent while solving one of San Francisco’s biggest problems in its push for the postseason.

Vinny Castilla, Jeromy Burnitz and Matt Holliday homered for the Rockies in a 5-2 win over San Diego on Sunday.

Castilla, who has 298 homers, became the first Rockies player to hit 30 in a season six times.

After losing the first seven games of a season-high 12-game road trip, the Rockies won four of the last five contests.

“I think it bodes well for the future,” Holliday said. “We have veterans playing real well, but for young guys to play solid baseball says a lot. Maybe we’ll be on the other side, real soon, playing games to go to the wild card.”

STANDINGS (through Sept. 5): Giants - 2nd place, 3 1/2 GB, NL West. Rockies - 4th place, 19 GB, NL West.

GIANTS PROBABLE STARTER: Schmidt (15-6, 3.01 ERA). The right-hander has 209 strikeouts in 182 2-3 innings. His career high for wins in a season is 17, set last year.

ROCKIES PROBABLE STARTER: Jamey Wright (2-2, 4.03 ERA). Wright is coming off his best start of the season, yielding one run and four hits in seven innings of a 4-1 win over the Giants on Wednesday. The right-hander is 2-5 with a 4.78 ERA in 14 starts against San Francisco.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Giants - Barry Bonds, .371 avg., 39 HRs, 91 RBIs and 110 runs; Bonds and Ray Durham, 6 SBs. Rockies - Todd Helton, .336 avg. and 97 runs; Burnitz, 33 HRs; Castilla, 113 RBIs; Aaron Miles, 11 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Giants, 10-7.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Giants - RHP Jim Brower leads the NL with 74 appearances. … 3B Edgardo Alfonzo is batting .375 (6-for-16) with one HR, a double and five RBIs against Wright. … 1B J.T. Snow is hitting .331 with 14 home runs, 29 doubles and 60 RBIs against Colorado. Rockies - OF Burnitz is batting .171 (6-for-35) with 13 strikeouts against Schmidt. … Colorado has allowed two runs or less in three of its last five games. … 1B Helton has a 10-game hitting streak, batting .400 (14-for-35) during that span.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Giants - 34-32 on the road; Rockies - 31-35 at home.

INJURIES: Giants - RHP Jerome Williams (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Jesse Foppert (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Robb Nen (shoulder), 60-day DL. Rockies - CF Preston Wilson (knee), 15-day DL; LF Cory Sullivan (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Aaron Cook (lungs), 60-day DL; LHP Denny Neagle (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Denny Stark (groin), 60-day DL; RHP Jason Young (rib), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Schmidt LAD vs. J. Wright LAD
18-7 Record 2-3
3.20 ERA 4.12
251 K 41
77 BB 45
1.08 WHIP 1.61