DENVER (AP)—With thoughts of the playoffs long since past, the Colorado Rockies are auditioning their younger players for next season.
Jeff Baker is making a strong case for himself.
The 25-year-old September call up hit two three-run homers in the Rockies’ 20-8 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday night.
“He’s doing some things that are getting some people’s attention,” manager Clint Hurdle said.
Baker hit his first major league home run in his final at-bat at Arizona on Sunday, and then hit two more in his first two plate appearances Monday. He’s only the fifth Colorado player to hit homers in three straight at-bats.
The outfielder was at a loss to describe his memorable night.
“See it, hit it,” said Baker, who also had a double. “I just want to play well.”
The Rockies, who had a season-high 19 hits, tied the club record for runs, reaching 20 for the third time, the last on Sept. 20, 2005, against San Diego.
It was also the most runs the Giants have allowed since a 20-9 loss to the Chicago Cubs on Aug. 13, 1959.
“I don’t remember the other time that we gave up 20, but I’m sure I was there,” said manager Felipe Alou, who played for the Giants from 1958-63.
The Giants fell 4 1/2 games behind Los Angeles in the NL West after the Dodgers beat San Diego 11-10 in 11 innings Monday night to take over first place in the division. They are four games behind the Padres in the wild-card race.
Garrett Atkins doesn’t have to worry about his future with the Rockies.
He had four hits and drove in a career-high six runs Monday. He is hitting .324 with 25 home runs and 110 RBIs.
“He’s talked about more in the opposing clubhouses now,” Hurdle said. “There’s more questions asked of me about him by opposing players and managers.”
Justin Hampson (1-0) gave up six runs in five innings to win in his first major league start.
“The guys showed up to help me out, that’s for sure,” Hampson said. “It’s hard to mess up enough to mess up that outing. Twenty runs? It’s hard to do enough wrong to not get the win.”
Hampson had made two relief appearances since being called up from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Sept. 7.
“His command wasn’t as sharp and he probably pitched more up in the zone,” Hurdle said. “That’s not usually a very healthy combination. He battled through it. It was a good night for him.”
Giants starter Noah Lowry (7-10) was pulled after 1 1-3 innings, the shortest outing of his career. He gave up nine hits and a career-high nine earned runs. Lowry has never pitched well at Coors Field and saw his ERA in Colorado climb from 8.06 to 12.05.
Alou was concerned there may be something wrong with Lowry, who never showed up in the clubhouse after the game.
“Anytime a pitcher of that quality—because Lowry is a good pitcher and has had some good games this year—anytime he pitches like that, I feel there is something wrong with the guy,” Alou said. “You just have to wait a day or two and see if there are any signs of something being wrong when he throws on the side.
“The way he threw tonight isn’t going to get anybody out.”
Baker’s first homer to right highlighted a six-run first inning. The Rockies had four singles, a walk and a home run before Lowry recorded an out.
Matt Holliday had three hits and three RBIs for the Rockies, who had 18 hits five times this season, the last at Los Angeles on Sept. 3.
“It’s always fun to be a part of something like this,” Baker said.
: If Hurdle had a vote for NL rookie of the year, his choice would be simple: Giants RHP Matt Cain. Cain is 13-9 this season with a 3.75 ERA. “He’s gotten better as the year’s gotten on,” Hurdle said … Rockies C Alvin Colina had an RBI single in his first major league at-bat. … Colorado OF Jeff Salazar hit his first major league home run in the eighth.