Giants observations: Carlos Rodón strikes out 12 in third straight win

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What we learned as Giants win third straight behind Rodón's 12 Ks originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO -- The path to 107 wins last year was paved in part by the Colorado Rockies.

The Giants took 15 of their 19 games against the Rockies last year, including their final seven, and outscored them 125-60.

Their first meeting of 2022 was more of the same.

Mauricio Dubon gave Carlos Rodón three early runs and that was more than enough, as the overpowering lefty took the lead through the sixth in a game the Giants would win 8-5. It was their third straight win and got them to 17-12 on the season, one game ahead of a Rockies team that has been one of the National League's top surprises early on.

Here are three things to know from the win:

Keeping Them Busy On The K-Board

For the second time in six starts with the Giants, Rodón hit double-digit strikeouts in his first five innings. He struck out 12 overall, getting to double-digits for the 14th time in his career and second time this season. In his first start in orange and black, Rodón struck out 12 Miami Marlins in five innings.

The 10th strikeout was Rodón's most important. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases in the fifth for Yonathan Daza, who dumped a single into left to score a pair and get the Rockies within a run. That brought up No. 3 hitter Randal Grichuk, but Rodón went away from his usual fastball-heavy approach, throwing three straight nasty sliders. Grichuk swung over the top of all three of them, ending the inning.

The Rockies saw 30 pitches in the first inning and fouled off 11 of them, and their pesky ways forced Rodón to throw 110 pitches, a season-high for the Giants and the third-highest total in three seasons under Gabe Kapler. Johnny Cueto has the previous two at 110 or above.

Dubi Breaks Through

Dubon started both weekend games and went 3-for-8 with four runs scored, a homer and two RBI. The hot streak certainly continued on Monday night.

Dubon hit second against lefty Austin Gomber and picked another homer and two more singles while scoring twice and driving in three runs. He has raised his OPS from .306 to .665 over the past three games.

The hot streak comes at an interesting time for the Giants. Everybody assumed they would have to trade Dubon -- who is out of options -- at the end of the spring, but injuries and an expanded roster made that unnecessary. Evan Longoria will be back this week and Tommy La Stella isn't far behind, but at the moment it's hard to see how the Giants can part ways with Dubon given how valuable he's been against left-handed pitching.

The One That Got Away

Farhan Zaidi was right about Connor Joe, he just didn't have the opportunity in 2019 -- Bruce Bochy's final season -- to stick with the right-handed hitter after he got off to a brutal start. Joe came back to San Francisco as the Rockies' leadoff hitter, and he bothered Rodón all night.

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Joe had a single in the first and another one in the third, and he took some close pitches in the fifth while drawing a walk that loaded the bases against Rodón. The solid night raised Joe's OPS to .833.

The Rockies weren't able to fully take advantage, though, because Rodón absolutely dominated the heart of their lineup. Grichuk struck out swinging three times and cleanup hitter C.J. Cron -- who already has nine homers -- also went down swinging in all three of his looks at Rodón.