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Crawford blast lifts Giants to 10-inning win over Rockies

The SportsXchange

SAN FRANCISCO -- Having just watched the most exciting play of the San Francisco Giants' young season blow up in the team's face, it wasn't likely shortstop Brandon Crawford was going to be able to upstage it.

But he figured out a way.

Crawford blasted left-hander Rex Brothers' second pitch into the San Francisco Bay for a walk-off home run in the 10th inning Sunday, giving the Giants a dramatic, 5-4 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

The crowd-pleasing win allowed San Francisco to continue its home mastery of its National League West rivals. Even after losing 1-0 Saturday, the Giants have beaten the Rockies in 15 of their last 18 matchups at AT&T Park.

The defeat was doubly painful for the Rockies, who learned shortly after the game had started that x-rays had shown that Saturday's starting pitcher, left-hander Brett Anderson, had broken the index finger on his pitching hand while batting in the 1-0 win. He will be placed on the injured list Monday.

Crawford, a left-handed hitter, pulled a Brothers fastball just inside the right-field foul pole and well into McCovey Cove for his first "splash hit" and first career walk-off homer.

"I knew the game was over," Crawford said of his monster shot that hugged the right-field foul line. "I didn't think (it was going to go foul), but I watched it just to be sure."

Reliever Sergio Romo (1-0), who pitched a scoreless top of the 10th, got the win. Brothers (1-1) took the loss.

Neither starting pitcher -- San Francisco right-hander Tim Hudson and Colorado right-hander Tyler Chatwood -- factored in the decision.

The Giants nearly won the game in regulation in an even more exciting fashion, but reserve outfielder Gregor Blanco was tagged out at the plate to end the ninth inning while trying to stretch a two-out triple into a walk-off, inside-the-park home run. A strong relay throw by second baseman D.J. LeMahieu to catcher Wilin Rosario denied a diving Blanco at the plate.

"I was going for it for sure," the speedy Blanco said of his first hit of the season in 11 at-bats. "I was out of gas as soon as I hit third base."

After Romo's scoreless inning, the game was over two pitches later thanks to Crawford's blast.

The hero was asked if it was the most memorable hit of his career.

"My first one was pretty good," he said with a smile. "But it's up there. Top two, I'll give you that."

The Giants led 4-1 through six innings before the Rockies got a solo home run from first baseman Justin Morneau, his first, in the seventh and then two in the eighth to end Hudson's day.

Third baseman Nolan Arenado and LeMahieu went down opposite foul lines for doubles on consecutive pitches to ignite the Rockies' game-tying eighth.

After a sacrifice bunt by pinch hitter Brandon Barnes, Rockies manager Walt Weiss opted to pinch-hit for .488-hitting center fielder Charlie Blackmon. It paid off when Drew Stubbs singled through a drawn-in infield off left-handed reliever Javier Lopez, scoring LeMahieu with the tying run.

"I would have taken a beating for that one," Weiss said of the surprising switch to Stubbs. "Javier Lopez makes a lot of money and he's one of the best at getting left-handed hitters out. Even though it's Charlie Blackmon, we're playing right into their strength if we let him hit."

Seeking a third consecutive win to begin his Giants career, Hudson gave up five hits and four runs in 7 1/3 innings. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.

Signed as a free agent in the offseason, Hudson hasn't walked a batter in his three Giants starts. The 23-inning stretch established a franchise record to begin a season, surpassing Atlee Hammaker's 21-inning run in 1983.

Chatwood, who was making his season debut after having been activated off the disabled list before the game, limited the Giants to a pair of singles through four innings and took a 1-0 lead into the fifth.

But he gave up three hits in the fifth, including a two-out, two-run single by center fielder Angel Pagan after Crawford had drawn the Giants even with a sacrifice fly.

Third baseman Pablo Sandoval increased the San Francisco lead to 4-1 with his second homer of the season, a solo shot to left field leading off the sixth.

That set the stage for the Rockies' comeback and Crawford's heroics.

"Great game. Great series," Weiss admitted. "Crawford hits a walk-off against one of the best left-handers in the game. What are you going to do?"

Chatwood, who suffered a strained left hamstring in spring training, left after six innings, having given up four runs on six hits. Like his rival, he struck out five and walked none.

NOTES: Giants CF Angel Pagan went 2-for-4, including his two-out, two-run single. He is now hitting 10-for-20 with 10 RBIs when batting with two outs. ... The multiple-hit game was Pagan's eighth of the season, tops in the majors. ... The Giants haven't lost a home series to the Rockies since May 31-June 2, 2010. ... Even though LHP Rex Brothers gave up SS Brandon Crawford's game-ending home run, the Colorado bullpen was borderline brilliant in the three-game series, limiting the Giants to one run on seven hits in 12 2/3 innings with 15 strikeouts. ... The Rockies demoted INF Charlie Culberson to Triple-A Colorado Springs to make room on the active roster for RHP Tyler Chatwood, who was activated off the disabled list before the game Sunday. ... Giants LHP Jeremy Affeldt (sprained right knee) pitched two perfect innings in relief for Single-A San Jose on Saturday night and likely will be activated from the DL before the Giants' three-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers that begins Tuesday.
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