Giants 8, Rockies 4

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Alberto Castillo’s game-winning hit in the 14th inning for the New York Mets on opening day five years ago doesn’t compare to what he accomplished Sunday.

Castillo hit a grand slam for his first homer in two years, helping the San Francisco Giants complete a four-game sweep with an 8-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

“This is a better feeling,” said Castillo, who chose to spend the first part of this season playing in the Mexican League so he could be an everyday player.

Castillo received a long standing ovation from the sellout crowd following his first career slam. Once he received the proper greeting from his teammates in the dugout with a slew of high-fives, he came back out and tipped his hat to the fans, a huge smile across his face.

This feat topped that hit in 1998 off star Phillies closer Ricky Bottalico in front of 47,000 people.

Marquis Grissom was saying ‘Hit a home run,”’ Castillo said.

Rookie Jesse Foppert (6-8), recalled before the game to make the start, matched his career high with 10 strikeouts in six-plus innings. He allowed four runs and three hits.

Foppert said his short stint in the minor leagues helped him relax and also focus on being more aggressive on the mound.

“It gave me time to think about what I was doing and get back on track,” he said. “I’ve just got to go back to what’s been successful.”

Rich Aurilia matched his career high with four hits for the first-place Giants, who have won nine of 12.

The Rockies have lost five straight and seven in a row on the road to drop to 15-35 away from Coors Field this season, including 1-7 in San Francisco.

The 33-year-old Castillo, playing in only his second game this season, sent a 1-2 pitch from Denny Neagle (2-4) just inside the left-field foul pole to break a 1-all tie in the fourth. Neagle later left the game with inflammation in his left elbow, which manager Clint Hurdle said could mean another stint on the disabled list.

“I don’t know if it’s the same kind of injury or not,” Neagle said. “I’ve been battling it since spring training. I felt it in the third or fourth inning and I was stupid enough to think I could pitch through it. I shouldn’t have gone back out there. I had no idea where the ball was going those last couple of innings.”

Castillo was in the lineup because starter Benito Santiago is hurt and usual backup Yorvit Torrealba got a day off. It was Castillo’s ninth career homer and first since May 26, 2001, for Toronto.

“I never think it’s too late,” said Castillo, an eight-year major leaguer who made his Giants debut July 9.

Grissom hit his 15th home run of the season in a crazy fashion in the fifth, but later left with a bruised left kneecap. He was listed as day-to-day.

A fan was ejected in left field after interfering on Grissom’s drive, which was headed over the wall until the fan dropped his glove down and knocked the ball back into play. It was originally called a double.

After Grissom waited on second for approximately five minutes as both managers discussed the play and then the umpires huddled, crew chief Ed Montague changed the call and credited Grissom with a homer.

“What, six minutes?” Grissom asked about how long he stood on second. “I’ll take it.”

Grissom rounded the bases to a roaring ovation after the two-run shot that also scored Jose Cruz Jr.

Grissom went down in the seventh after crashing into the wall to make a catch on a hard-hit ball by Bobby Estalella. The 36-year-old Grissom quickly hopped up and made the relay, then immediately fell to the ground in pain. He rolled on the grass grimacing as left fielder Pedro Feliz rushed to check on him.

After a delay of several minutes, Grissom got up on his own and walked off the field with the help of assistant trainer Dave Groeschner. He got another ovation from the crowd.

The 23-year-old Foppert retired 18 of the first 20 Colorado hitters, allowing only a home run to Todd Helton in the first and a walk to Chris Stynes to lead off the fourth.

Foppert, sent down to work on his command, had eight strikeouts through four innings.

After Foppert walked Helton to start the seventh, Preston Wilson hit his 24th homer of the year. Jay Payton doubled and Scott Eyre replaced Foppert.

On a day that ovations were plentiful, they gave Foppert one, too.

Giants manager Felipe Alou and San Francisco Hall of Famer Juan Marichal were cheered as they were inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museumin a pregame ceremony.

Notes

Rockies RF Larry Walker didn’t start for the second straight day with what’s initially being called a groin injury. He’s on medication and might see a specialist in Los Angeles on Monday to determine whether he has a hernia. He pinch hit in the seventh. … Neagle allowed seven runs and seven hits in fourinnings.

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