Giants 4, Rockies 0
DENVER (AP)—Jason Schmidt picked up where he left off before the All-Star break—at Coors Field, no less.
“Right now, that guy is walking to the mound in the first inning and pitching,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said. “I’m not talking throwing hard, I mean pitching. He had a tremendous breaking ball today and changeup. He’s using all his pitches right away in the first inning.”
With his fastball topping out in the mid-90s and breaking balls that had a little extra bite on a rare humid night in the Mile High City, Schmidt put together one of his best outings of the season and lowered his ERA to 2.35.
The right-hander struck out eight and walked just two, combining with Jim Brower and Scott Eyre on the four-hitter. Three Boston pitchers had the last shutout at Coors—the only one this season—in an 11-0 victory on June 17.
Schmidt has not lost since April 26—a span of 16 starts—and has the longest winning streak in the majors since Toronto’s Roy Halladay won 15 straight from May to July last season. Schmidt also is closing in on Jack Sanford’s team record of 16 straight wins set in 1962.
“I try not to think about it,” Schmidt said. “I remember last year when Halladay won like 15 in a row, I was like, ‘How in the heck can anybody do that?’ It’s insane. A little run support and a lot of great defense helps a lot.”
But it wasn’t just Schmidt.
Rockies starter Aaron Cook (4-4) had his best start of the season, combining with three other pitchers to hold the Giants to just three hits. The seven combined hits was the lowest total in Coors Field history, eclipsing the mark of eight hits Colorado and Arizona had on April 4, 2003.
“I haven’t seen that well-pitched of a game through seven innings in this ballpark, ever,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “You look at the numbers that were up on the board, you tip your hat to both of them.”
Barry Bonds provided Schmidt about all the run support he needed after finally getting a pitch to hit.
Cook walked Bonds twice with a base open in the first seven innings, but the Rockies had no choice but to pitch to the Giants’ slugger in the eighth.
With runners on first and second and one out, Javier Lopez threw three straight balls before Bonds fouled off a pitch that didn’t appear to be a strike. Lopez followed with one that was in the zone and Bonds lined it into the corner in right for a two-run double that put the Giants up 4-0.
“I don’t know if Barry is getting a little upset about it, usually nothing disturbs him,” Alou said. “But maybe he did swing hoping to get a hittable pitch, and he did.”
That was more than enough for Schmidt.
He gave up a double to Aaron Miles to open the first inning, but didn’t allow another hit until Matt Holliday’s two-out double in the fifth. Schmidt pitched out of jams in the seventh and eighth and was lifted after throwing 125 pitches.
“He was on,” said Colorado’s Todd Helton, who was 0-for-4. “He didn’t miss with one pitch to me tonight, and I didn’t see him miss too many pitches with anybody.”
Cook wasn’t bad, either.
But that was about it. Cook allowed three runs and two hits in seven innings, but still dropped to 0-4 in six home starts.
“I felt like I had command of all my pitches today,” Cook said. “It just happened that we went up against the best pitcher in baseball right now.”
Giants catcher A.J. Pierzynski and first base coach Luis Pujols were ejected in the fifth inning after arguing with first base umpire Lance Barksdale.
Pierzynski was awarded first after being hit on the back foot by a pitch from Cook, but third base umpire Brian O’Nora ruled Pierzynski swung for strike three after Hurdle asked plate umpire Phil Cuzzi to check.
Pierzynski responded by throwing his batting gloves in the air and was ejected after arguing with Barksdale. Pujols was tossed a few seconds later, also for arguing with Barksdale.
“When A.J. gets mad, he usually doesn’t say too many good things,” Alou said. “And I didn’t ask him.”
Bonds tied Luis Aparicio for 58th on baseball’s career list with his 2,667th hit . … An usher made a nifty move to avoid a line drive by Miles in the sixth inning, just moving his stool in time to get out of the way before the ball hit the wall behind him. … San Francisco is 43-0 this season when leading after the eighth inning.