DENVER (AP)—No team needs regular boosts of confidence more than the Colorado Rockies. They got one from an unexpected place Tuesday night—the bottom of their young and inexperienced lineup.
Dustan Mohr tripled and homered, Matt Holliday hit his first home run of the season and the bottom five spots in Colorado’s batting order had nine hits to lift the Rockies to a 9-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
“We were patient, got pitches to hit and put good swings on them,” Mohr said. “Guys at the bottom are good hitters, too.”
Mohr homered immediately after Holliday’s solo shot off Noah Lowry (1-5) in the second for Colorado’s first back-to-back home runs of the season.
An inning later, No. 7 hitter Todd Greene put the Rockies ahead 5-0 with a two-run shot. No. 8 hitter Garrett Atkins went 2-for-4 with an RBI and even pitcher Joe Kennedy (2-4) had a hit, as the bottom of the Colorado order collected six RBIs.
Nobody needed a good game worse than Holliday, a .290 hitter with 14 homers last year who was benched recently after an 0-for-12 stint.
“I knew I was better than what I showed the first month,” Holliday said. “Confidence was an issue and I had to remind myself that I was here for a reason.”
Kennedy walked three batters during San Francisco’s four-run fourth inning that made the score 6-4. But he made it through the inning and pitched the fifth. He wanted to go back out for the sixth, but manager Clint Hurdle turned it over to Colorado’s maligned bullpen, which held the Giants scoreless the rest of the way.
“He said he wanted one more inning,” Hurdle said. “I didn’t have the heart to ask him, was it a zero or a four. I just thought that was enough.”
Blaine Neal, who opened the season with the Red Sox and was picked up off waivers last week, pitched the ninth inning to finish off one of the best efforts for the Rockies relievers so far in this difficult season. Colorado improved to just 11-25.
Like Neal, Byung-Hyun Kim, Jose Acevedo and Jay Witasick each threw scoreless innings to keep Hurdle from having to test out his new closer, Brian Fuentes, in a save situation. Fuentes is taking over for Chin-hui Tsao, who has all three of Colorado’s saves this season, but is on the disabled list and in California this week having his injured shoulder examined.
Mohr followed his homer with an RBI triple in the fourth to give Colorado a 7-4 lead. It was another good game for the part-time right-fielder, who improved his average to .214—this coming six days after he hit the tying home run in the ninth inning against Atlanta in a game the Rockies won 6-5.
“It was important” for Mohr, Hurdle said. “He wants to be involved, he wants to carry his load, just like Holliday does down there, and just like Atkins does down there.”
Kennedy returned after missing a start because of an injured foot and got his first win since April 16. He pitched five innings, allowed eight hits, four runs and four walks.
Lowry lasted just 3 2-3 innings and gave up 10 hits and seven runs. His only win this season came in Denver in a 13-6 decision over the Rockies on April 15.
Leadoff hitter Clint Barmes, who came into the game leading the majors with a .386 average, increased it to .387 by going 2-for-5 with an RBI.
San Francisco’s best chance to get back in the game came with the score 7-4 in the sixth inning, but the momentum was spoiled when umpire Laz Diaz called Michael Tucker out, saying he’d been hit by a batted ball. Replays appeared to show the ball missed Tucker. Tucker, manager Felipe Alou and first base coach Luis Pujols all argued and Pujols was ejected.
“I don’t know what he told him, because he said it in Spanish and I don’t understand,” Alou said jokingly. “He has been ejected a couple of times. I was going to go get ejected, but then he got ejected before I did, then I went to another umpire.”
The Giants still had runners on first and third with one out, but Kim retired Pedro Feliz and Moises Alou to escape the inning. The Giants stranded 14 runners in the game and lost their third straight.
“We didn’t play well,” Felipe Alou said. “There were some questionable plays that we didn’t make. Anytime we throw a lot of pitches, the defense gets
Todd Helton played in his 1,171st game with the Rockies, breaking the record previously held by Larry Walker. … Niekro had his first career triple. … Lowry hasn’t held a team under four earned runs since April 20, in a 2-1 loss to Arizona.