Giants 7, Rockies 6

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Even four homers couldn’t save the Colorado Rockies from matching a club record with their 10th straight road loss.

Pinch-runner Eric Young danced around a tag at the plate and scored the winning run in the ninth inning as the San Francisco Giants defeated the swooning Rockies 7-6 on Wednesday.

Young scored on a sacrifice fly by Edgardo Alfonzo. Colorado right fielder Larry Walker, who has one of the game’s best arms, threw off line and Young scrambled to avoid a sweeping tag by catcher Charles Johnson before diving headfirst to score.

“I didn’t want him to make an easy tag on me, so I twisted my body a bit,” said Young, obtained two weeks ago in a trade with Milwaukee. “Larry’s a very accurate thrower, and when I saw the ball go up toward third base I thought I could get in there.”

J.T. Snow opened the Giants’ ninth with a single off Brian Fuentes (3-2). One out later, Barry Bonds singled high off the right-field wall—missing a game-ending homer by about 3 feet—and sent Snow to third. Young then pinch ran for Snow.

The Giants knew they were running on Walker, a man with 144 career assists— including one earlier in the game.

“It was a tricky slide to avoid the tag,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said. “The ball is in the outfield, you have to take a chance. You get one shot to get the run.”

Joe Nathan (9-3) pitched one inning as the Giants won their fifth straight game and reduced their magic number for clinching the NL West to 13.

The Rockies have the most road losses in the majors and their 20-52 record away from home is second-worst in the league, trailing only Detroit’s 18-51 mark. The Giants are the best home team in baseball, with a record of 48-19.

“We just can’t seem to get it together right now,” said Colorado starter Jason Jennings, who gave up six runs in six innings. “I don’t think anybody in here doubts we can win on the road, but we’re just not doing it now.”

Rich Aurilia hit a first-inning grand slam for the Giants, his second slam of the season.

Jay Payton had two of Colorado’s four homers. Chris Stynes and Todd Helton also homered for the Rockies, who scored at least one run in each of the first five innings.

Coming in, Colorado had scored one run in its previous 32 innings.

Payton hit a pair of solo homers, giving him 24 for the season. It was his second multihomer game in five days—he also homered twice last Friday at Los Angeles. Payton is hitting .385 over his last 10 games, with seven homers and 12 RBIs.

“I know we don’t do well on the road, but I just swing the bat the same way,” Payton said. “We’re not pitching the way we were, and we’re not swinging the bats the way we were. We’re just not playing good baseball now. That’s the way we’re steamrolling right now, downward.”

The Rockies scored single runs in each of the first four innings. Stynes hit his 11th homer in the first, Payton led off the second and fourth with homers and a run scored on an error in the third.

Helton’s 28th homer, a two-run shot in the fifth, gave the Rockies a 6-5 lead. Snow tied it in the sixth with a run-scoring single for the Giants, who had gotten an RBI single in the third from Neifi Perez.

San Francisco’s Kirk Rueter had his third straight tough start since coming off the disabled list. He allowed six runs in 4 1-3 innings, including fourhomers—matching a career high.

Notes

With an intentional walk in the first, Bonds has more intentional walks (52) than strikeouts (51) this season. He also did that last season, with 68 intentional walks and only 47 strikeouts. … Giants right fielder Jose Cruz Jr. got his 17th outfield assist of the season, tying a team record. … Rueter last gave up four homers on Aug. 18, 2000, at Montreal. … Aurilia had six straight hits, including two Wednesday, before flying out in the fifth. … Payton had the fourth multihomer game of his career, three of which have come this season. … The Rockies lost the season series 12-7 to the Giants. That’s the fifth straight season San Francisco has won the series from Colorado. …Colorado also lost 10 straight on the road in 1997 and 2000.

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