DENVER (AP)—Jason Jennings’ eyes were bleary and slightly bloodshot from viewing stacks of videotape, but there was nothing wrong with his arm.
Preston Wilson hit a grand slam and drove in five runs.
Jennings (11-12) ended a four-game losing streak, striking out a career-high 10. He allowed six hits, one run and one walk.
“I looked at so much film this week I really can’t see straight,” Jennings said. “I even went back to my debut (in 2001), which is the best I’ve ever felt. I noticed some differences from then and now.
“In my delivery, I’ve been leaning back. Looking at film, I saw I was more crouched over in a more powerful position. So I tightened up my mechanics a little bit. If I’m solid mechanically, I can hit my spots and get ahead in the count.”
Which is exactly what he did.
“Jason threw 18 out of 26 first-pitch strikes,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “He retired 10 hitters on three pitches or less. He had very good command of his fastball, and that just makes his slider and changeup so much more effective.”
Hurdle noted “that’s the Jason we saw most of last year” when he was the NL Rookie of the Year.
With Colorado clinging to a 2-1 lead, Wilson connected off Jim Brower in the seventh for his career-best 32nd homer. Wilson boosted his major league-leading RBI total to 126, also a career high.
Wilson followed with a drive down the left-field line for his fourth career slam and first with Colorado.
He insisted it was his first hit ever off Brower, and said he agreed with the Giants’ strategy of walking Helton and pitching to him.
“They had first base open with a righty who I’ve never gotten a hit off of,” Wilson said. “I don’t think I’ve ever gotten the ball out of the infield against him before that. It’s a good move by the manager. I just finally got a hit off the guy.”
“Our emergency guy pitched well—a pretty good five innings that kept us in the game,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said. “The big blow was the grand slam.”
Jay Payton’s RBI single put the Rockies ahead 1-0 in the second. Wilson was hit by a pitch leading off the inning. He stole second and continued to third as catcher Alberto Castillo’s throw sailed into center field for an error. Payton then lined a single to center.
Jennings gave up back-to-back singles to Todd Linden and Pedro Feliz with two outs in the second but struck out Castillo. The right-hander yielded a leadoff single to Jeffrey Hammonds in the fourth but promptly struck out Edgardo Alfonzo and Rich Aurilia and got Linden on a groundout.
The Rockies capitalized on Correia’s control problems to score another run in the fifth.
With one out, Jennings doubled to center and Belliard was hit by a pitch. Helton walked to load the bases, and Wilson also walked, forcing in a run.
San Francisco made it 2-1 in the sixth. Jose Cruz Jr. led off with a walk and went to third on Neifi Perez’s single that skipped under the glove of both Jennings and second baseman Belliard. Cruz scored when Hammonds grounded into a double play.
The Giants threatened in the seventh when, with one out, Feliz singled and continued to third when center fielder Wilson misplayed the ball for a two-base error. But the Rockies turned a double play, as Castillo struck out and Feliz was caught in a rundown.
“We had a squeeze play and the sign was missed,” Alou said.
Jennings is the first Colorado pitcher to strike out 10 or more since John Thomson fanned 12 on April 7, 2001. … Jennings’ 10 strikeouts were as many as he fanned in his previous five starts combined. … The NL West-leading Giants had won seven of eight. … Wilson’s previous highs for homers (31) andRBIs (121) were set in 2000 with Florida.