Rockies 4, Giants 1

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—The Colorado Rockies have intentionally walked Barry Bonds 19 times this season and allowed only three runs afterward.

Manager Clint Hurdle is going to stick with that plan.

Jamey Wright pitched seven innings of four-hit ball to win for the first time in seven starts, and Colorado ended an eight-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.

Clint Barmes had two hits, drove in a run and scored twice on a night the Rockies lived by the bloop single. Colorado had lost nine straight road games, one shy of the franchise record. This was the club’s first victory in eight games during its season-long 12-game trip.

The eight consecutive losses overall matched Colorado’s longest winless stretch this season.

“It’s nice to win. Nothing beats winning,” Hurdle said.

The Rockies did it by again keeping Bonds at bay—and out of San Francisco Bay, where many of his long homers land with a splash.

Bonds walked three times and had just one official at-bat, when he flied out to center in the seventh. The slugger stayed at 696 career home runs for the third straight day. He homered twice Sunday night in Atlanta and hoped to reach the 700 mark during this six-game homestand.

“We’ve walked him our fair share and we’ve been more fortunate than unfortunate from it,” Hurdle said.

The Giants fell a game behind the Chicago Cubs in the NL wild-card race. San Francisco holds a half-game lead over San Diego and is 5 1/2 games behind first-place Los Angeles in the NL West.

“We were a step behind in many instances,” manager Felipe Alou said. “We didn’t have it tonight, not much energy.”

Tim Harikkala worked a perfect eighth and Shawn Chacon finished for his 31st save in 39 opportunities. Rockies pitchers retired their last 10 batters.

In the first inning, Bonds casually twirled the bat in his hand, then drew an intentional walk. He was intentionally walked again in the third. With two outs and nobody aboard in the fifth, Wright (2-2) pitched to the slugger. Bonds worked the count full, then walked again. The Rockies had the shift on and no infielders but Wright—first baseman Todd Helton stood in shallow right field, for example.

“That was the first time we had to use a chalkboard to draw up a defensive alignment,” Hurdle joked.

There were plenty of boos that always follow Bonds’ free passes.

Hurdle said he owes it to his players to put them in the best to position to win—even if they’re out of contention—and that pitching to Bonds in most situations hurts those chances.

The six-time NL MVP walked twice Tuesday night, once intentionally.

Kirk Rueter (7-11) lost his second straight start and has only one win in his last six outings. The left-hander allowed three earned runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings.

The Giants are going to need their starters to go deeper into games in September to save their bullpen from exhaustion and stay in the playoff race.

“I felt good,” Rueter said. “They hit some balls that fell in. Wright threw a great game, so those things were magnified.”

Wright hadn’t won since July 24 at Arizona. It was his first start against San Francisco since July 8, 2001. The right-hander gave up one run, struck out one and walked four in what Hurdle and the pitcher considered his best outing of the year.

Wright didn’t want to walk Bonds intentionally but understood the reasoning. He enjoyed challenging the slugger in the fifth.

“To have to walk him intentionally the first two at-bats was frustrating, but you try not to lose focus,” Wright said. “This would be a lot sweeter if it was coming after an eight-game winning streak than an eight-game losing streak.”

The Rockies scored an unearned run in the first after Luis Gonzalez reached on third baseman Pedro Feliz’s error. Barmes walked on 12 pitches leading off the game and scored on Vinny Castilla’s fielder’s choice.

Feliz singled in the third to tie it at 1.

Barmes hit an RBI bloop single in the fifth to score Choo Freeman, who drew a leadoff walk. Helton added a run-scoring single two batters later to make it 3-1. Freeman singled in a run in the sixth.

Colorado activated catcher Todd Greene from the disabled list. He had been sidelined since Aug. 10 with a strained left hamstring. Greene singled in the second and again in the sixth.

Notes

The Rockies also lost eight straight from June 6-13. … San Francisco leads the season series 10-6. … Rueter made his team-high 28th start this year. He is 5-3 in his last 11 home starts. … Colorado’s Jeromy Burnitz grounded into two double plays. … Wright broke about five bats. “The bats were flying those first couple innings. It was kind of strange,” he said.

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