SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Ryan Vogelsong(notes) couldn’t have been much better in his first home start for San Francisco. A sellout crowd at AT&T Park made sure he wouldn’t forget it once his afternoon was over.
Vogelsong left to a long and loud standing ovation, the first he’s received in the big leagues, while combining with two relievers on a three-hitter and helping the Giants complete their first series sweep of the season with a 3-0 win over the slumping Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
The 33-year-old right-hander, who was drafted by the Giants in 1998 and then spent the next decade bouncing back and forth between the minors with San Francisco and Pittsburgh, was overcome by the reception.
“That’s the best experience I’ve ever had in baseball, to be honest with you,” Vogelsong said. “It was awesome. My first start here as a Giant, and to pitch like that and to have the fans recognize not only the way I pitched but I think also the journey that it’s been … to have them recognize that, that’s what made it the best.”
Vogelsong’s second win of the season couldn’t have come at a better time for the defending World Series champions, who beat the first-place Rockies for a third straight day and pulled within a game of the NL West leaders.
San Francisco is 5-1 against Colorado this season and 9-2 versus the Rockies dating to 2010.
“It’s early but it’s good to get a sweep,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “There’s so much baseball left. This is going to be a battle but we certainly helped our cause by coming in here and winning some games.”
This time it didn’t get that far and the Rockies, who entered May with a 4 1/2 -game lead in the division, finished their road trip 1-5.
“Over the course of a 162-game schedule you’re going to step into a pothole and that’s what we did,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “We’ll find out the mettle of our club, it’s that simple. There’s not a whole lot to speak of when you get three hits.”
Now add Vogelsong (2-0) to the list.
He was perfect through five innings and didn’t allow a hit until Iannetta’s leadoff single in the sixth. Tagged for five runs over four innings by the Mets in his previous start, he struck out four and walked one in 6 1-3 innings against Colorado.
The Giants also backed him with strong defense.
Jason Giambi(notes) and Ian Stewart(notes) both hit deep flyballs that were caught at the warning track. Giants third baseman Miguel Tejada(notes) also made a tough play when he snared Jonathan Herrera’s(notes) line drive just in front of his face in the fourth.
“In my last start I was just trying to make pitches instead of being aggressive and coming after hitters,” Vogelsong said. “Today I just said, ‘Just go after them with your best stuff and see what happens.”’
De La Rosa never got settled in after walking four of his first six batters. The lefty, who has been Colorado’s most effective starter this season, finished with a season-high five walks and the first blemish on his record.
Tracy juggled his lineup, moving a slumping Stewart to eighth in the batting order. Stewart went hitless in three at-bats and is in a 1-for-15 funk, though he’s far from the only Rockies player struggling.
That’s why it was no surprise when Tracy’s frustrations boiled over during a subtle yet pointed 10-minute pregame session with reporters.
“I didn’t sign up here to manage this ballclub and come in second,” Tracy said. “If we’re not producing, we will evaluate this club every day because we have other alternatives to explore if things aren’t working out. And we will do that, I guarantee you. That for me is where this organization is at.”
It didn’t seem to help.
Colorado got just two runners to second base, and Wilson wrapped up the Giants’ third shutout of the season. It was his 11th straight save after he blew his first opportunity against St. Louis on April 8.
Ross, a key contributor during San Francisco’s championship run a year ago, had an RBI single off De La Rosa in the fourth, then added a two-run homer in the sixth to make it 3-0.
Ross also made a big play defensively when he ran into foul territory and over the bullpen pitching mound to catch Herrera’s flyball.
NOTES: Colorado INF Ty Wigginton(notes) (right oblique strain) played soft toss before the game but the Rockies are unsure when he’ll progress further. … San Francisco 1B-OF Aubrey Huff(notes) was rested and will get two straight days off because the Giants don’t play Monday.