Rich Aurilia drives in the go-ahead run to give the Giants a 4-1 win over the Rockies

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Jorge Julio came into a crucial game for the Colorado Rockies with the score tied in the eighth inning. Six batters and 16 pitches later, the San Francisco Giants had a three run advantage.

Rich Aurilia hit a two-run single off Julio in the eighth and the Giants beat the Rockies 4-1 on Monday night, extending their winning streak to five games and snapping Colorado’s string of victories at three.

With the loss, the Rockies fell 4 1/2 games behind the San Diego Padres in the NL wild-card race.

“I have no excuses,” Julio said. “It was a bad day.”

Jorge Julio (0-5) gave up five hits and retired just one batter.

“I didn’t want fly balls. I wanted ground balls,” Julio said. “They just had the luck with the ball.”

Randy Winn, Barry Bonds and Ryan Klesko each singled to open the eighth. After Winn was forced at the plate, Aurilia singled to left field. Frandsen followed with his double, ending the night for Julio.

“It all started with Winn,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Then it got contagious. If we approach it right we can salvage a decent season here. We want to finish strong.”

Brian Wilson (1-0) pitched the eighth for the win and Brad Hennessey pitched the ninth for his 15th save in 17 chances, including the last 12 in a row.

“It’s good to win a few games in a row and to be playing good baseball,” said Aurilia, who singled in the eighth to give the Giants a 5-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday. “Winning makes it fun and makes it easier to come to the ballpark.”

Brad Hawpe hit a home run for the Rockies.

The Rockies, who fell to 28-38 on the road, continued to struggle scoring runs away from Coors Field. Manager Clint Hurdle made an interesting decision in the seventh, after the Rockies put runners on first and second against Barry Zito with no outs.

Hawpe came up, and even though he had supplied all the offense and was batting seventh, Hurdle had him bunt.

“I got the bunt sign so I’d better get the bunt down,” Hurdle said.

Jamey Carroll followed with a groundball to short that didn’t score the runner from third. Rookie Ian Stewart then pinch hit for starting pitcher Josh Fogg, and struck out as a pinch hitter.

“I felt we needed to score a run and to get the run without a hit would have set us up,” Hurdle said.

Zito went seven innings, allowing a run on four hits. He walked one and struck out seven. Zito has given up three runs in his last 22 innings after allowing seven in his previous 11.

“It’s always about staying the process,” Zito said. “You go out and give of yourself and that usually leads to good results. We can show ourselves we can play and compete against good teams.”

The Giants, who have won 10 of 12, appear to be gaining confidence now that they’re not a factor in the pennant race.

“Right now it’s don’t worry about the standings,” said Kevin Frandsen, whose two-run double highlighted a three-run eighth inning in the Giants’ 4-1 win over the Colorado Rockies on Monday night. “We’re playing good baseball and it still matters. It’s still a season. We need to set ourselves up for 2008 by taking a good finish into the offseason.”

The Rockies, however, need to figure out a way to win on the road if they’re going to continue to contend. They have two more at San Francisco before they head to NL West-leading Arizona for a three-game set this weekend.

“Any loss is tough especially with LA and San Diego above us,” rookie shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. “This is an important series for us. Hopefully we can come back and win the next two.”

Matt Holliday extended his hitting streak to a career-high 17 games with his first-inning single.

The Giants scored a run in the fourth to take the early lead. Omar Vizquel walked and went to second on an infield groundout. Bonds was walked intentionally and Klesko followed with an RBI single.

Hawpe led off the fifth with his 24th home run of the season, sending a 3-2 pitch from Zito into the first row of the arcade in right field to tie the game. It was Hawpe’s first home run of the season when batting seventh.

Notes

Holliday’s hitting streak is the longest by a Rockies player since Jeffrey Hammonds hit in 18 straight from May 29-June 21, 2000. … Fogg snapped an 0-for-10 streak (a span of six starts) with his third-inning single. … Hawpe has struck out at least once in each of his last 11 games. … Giants RHP Vinnie Chulk was placed on the DL with a blood clot in his right hand. … Bonds received his 40th intentional walk of the season, tops in the majors. … Tulowitzki singled in the eighth to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.

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