SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Since his return from the minor leagues three weeks ago, Todd Linden has learned to calm his nerves. The approach has resulted in better production offensively and defensively.
Linden also robbed Todd Helton of a potential two-run, extra-base hit in sixth inning.
“That was one of the best plays that we have seen this season,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said. “That was the game right there. If the ball goes over his head it is two runs and who knows what is next.”
Linden caught Helton’s two-out drive just in front of the warning track, then tumbled to the ground.
“I knew it was going to be over my head but it didn’t have any back spin so I knew I could catch it,” Linden said. “It was a good feeling with two guys on, two outs and one of the best hitters in the league up.”
Linden led off the sixth with his fourth homer, and has a combined 34 on the year—best in the Giants organization. He’s hitting .358 (19-for-53) in his second stint with the Giants.
“I’m just being patient and not trying to do too much,” Linden said. “There’s a good mix on the club with the young guys and the veterans. Alou, Matheny and Durham hit homers and I jumped on the bandwagon.”
Correia left the game with tightness in his right shoulder.
“It’s just a tight spot but it’s been causing me to throw differently,” Correia said. “I couldn’t get on top of the ball. It’s been there the last start or two but it’s nothing serious. I’ve been throwing every day.”
“A lot of good things happened this month,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. “We’ve raised the bar and are disappointed we didn’t win the series. We’re not going to accept mediocrity or just being OK.”
Jeff Fassero (4-6) won his third straight decision, allowing an unearned run and two hits in three innings. Correia left with an injured right shoulder after giving up one run, two hits and two hits in two innings.
Armando Benitez worked the ninth for his fifth straight save since coming off the disabled list two weeks ago, his ninth in 11 chances overall.
Jeff Francis (12-10) remained winless in three starts in San Francisco, where he has given up 18 runs in 14 1-3 innings, an 11.04 ERA. He gave up four runs and six hits in six innings and allowed four homers in a game for the second time this month.
“I felt like I had good command but when it came time to make those 3-2 pitches, I came over the plate and they wouldn’t miss it,” Francis said.
Atkins hit an RBI double in the first, but Alou homered leading off the second and Matheny homered with two outs for a 2-1 lead. Matheny has a career-high 11 homers, and is one RBI shy of his career-high of 50, set last year with St. Louis.
Durham, batting .333 since the All-Star break, homered leading off the bottom half for a 3-2 lead and Linden homered leading off the sixth. Lance Niekro tripled off Jamey Wright in the seventh and scored on Matheny’s hit.
Miles hit an RBI single in the eighth.
OF Brad Hawpe and IF Clint Barmes are expected to be activated off the DL on Thursday, when active rosters expand to 40. … OF Larry Bigbie (strained right Achilles’ tendon) was scheduled to begin his rehab assignment on Wednesday night at Colorado Springs. … Giants SS Omar Vizquel was out of the starting lineup for a second day due to illness. He had a headache Tuesday and felt dizzy. … Giants OF Barry Bonds continued his regular workouts in the L.A. area but was unable to take batting practice due to logistical problems. … Moises (294) and his father, Felipe (206) Alou have a combined 500 career home runs. … Benitez got his 253rd save, taking sole possession of 23rd place, one ahead of current Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti.