SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—With his aging outfield mates on the disabled list, Marquis Grissom knew the Giants needed offense from elsewhere.
He took care of that with one sensational swing.
Grissom hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth and San Francisco survived for a 10-8 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night after blowing a six-run lead.
Grissom, the only healthy member of the starting outfield with Barry Bonds and Moises Alou sidelined, connected on a 2-2 pitch from Scott Dohmann that hit the left-field wall and bounced over for his first homer of the year.
“It don’t matter,” he said with a smile when reminded how the ball got over. “Skip off the wall, bounce off a head, I’ll take it any way I can get it.”
Jason Christiansen (1-0) pitched a perfect ninth for the victory, spoiling a remarkable rally by the Rockies.
Todd Greene hit a three-run homer highlighting Colorado’s eight-run rally in the seventh inning that erased a six-run deficit. Greene ruined a strong season debut by Giants left-hander Noah Lowry, who pitched six shutout innings before running into trouble.
“Fuentes gets the ball and it was bad timing there not being able to throw strikes,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “We didn’t do a thing with Lowry. He controlled our bat speed all night long.”
Lowry retired nine straight during one stretch, allowed two runs on four hits, struck out two and walked three. He gave way to Jim Brower after putting two runners on in the seventh.
Pinch-hitter Brad Hawpe greeted Brower with a run-scoring double to start the comeback for Colorado, which had won four of its last six in San Francisco’s ballpark by the bay. Matt Holliday added a two-run single and pinch-hitter Aaron Miles and Todd Helton each drove in a run in the largest inning in Rockies history on the road.
Jason Ellison and Alfonzo homered for the Giants, who barely held on after staking Lowry to a big lead. Alfonzo also had a first-inning sacrifice fly.
The 40-year-old Bonds and 38-year-old Alou are two of San Francisco’s biggest hitters, but the Giants found other ways to score after struggling at the plate in dropping two of three to rival Los Angeles to start the year. Alou went on the DL earlier in the day with a right calf strain and Bonds is sidelined as he recovers from two operations on his right knee, his quest for the career home run record on hold.
“I think our experience kicked in there,” said Grissom, who’s 37. “We’re not going to panic when we fall behind.”
Lowry, a 24-year-old former first-round draft pick, went 6-0 as a rookie after being called up for the fourth time Aug. 3, and even pitched with strep throat a day after his temperature reached 101 degrees. The only Giants pitcher to open his career with more wins without a loss is Hooks Wiltse, who went 12-0 for the 1904 New York Giants.
“The streak goes on,” said Lowry, disgusted with how he started the seventh. “I’m not disappointed at all. That was an unbelievable game.”
It was 53 degrees at first pitch with swirling winds that are typically associated more with Candlestick Park than the team’s new stadium, and a tarp covered the infield until just before game time because of intermittent rain showers.
“That’s about the last thing you think would happen on a night like this and in this ballpark with all those runs scored,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said. “It was very cold and windy, yet both teams scored a lot of runs.”
Colorado starter Jeff Francis allowed six runs and eight hits in four-plus innings and got his first major league hit with a third-inning single.
Hurdle had flu-like symptoms before the game but was in the dugout by first pitch.
Giants ace Jason Schmidt rejoined the team after missing Thursday’s game with the flu. He took an IV on Friday to replace lost fluids. He plans to pitch Sunday on his regular day and did some light throwing in the outfield. “I’m going to pitch no matter what,” he said. … Injured Colorado closer Chin-hui Tsao, on the DL nursing right shoulder inflammation, pitched one inning and allowed one hit as he began his rehab assignment at Triple-A Colorado Springs against Las Vegas. He will throw again Sunday and could rejoin the team Monday. … Alfonzo surpassed 700 RBIs for his career and now has 701. … Niekro, recalled from Triple-A Fresno to take Alou’s roster spot, had a hit and scored a run after arriving at the stadium about an hour before first pitch. … After the game, the Rockies optioned RHP Allan Simpson to Triple-A Colorado Springs to make room for LHP Bobby Seay, acquired earlier from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.