Rockies' Chatwood looks for road glory vs. Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Colorado Rockies right-hander Tyler Chatwood will be seeking a piece of individual glory while stalling a rival's pursuit of a playoff berth when he faces the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.

Chatwood ranks among the major-league leaders in road winning percentage (7-1, .875) and road ERA (1.88) as he prepares for his final start of the season.

A win against the Giants would allow the 26-year-old to tie Rich Hill of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals and Aaron Sanchez of the Toronto Blue Jays -- all 8-1 (.889) -- for the top road winning percentage in baseball.

Chatwood also has a chance to pass Hill (1.74) for the lead in road ERA. It would take six shutout innings to lower the fifth-year Rocky's mark below 1.74.

Holding the Giants without an earned run for six or more innings would not be a first for Chatwood this season. He limited San Francisco to one unearned run on four hits over seven innings in a 5-2 win in Colorado on May 27.

Chatwood also beat the Giants 7-3 the only time he faced them in San Francisco, on July 5. He allowed three hits and two runs (one earned) in five innings that day.

A third win over San Francisco would be a major blow to its playoff hopes. The Giants (83-74) will take the field Wednesday night sandwiched between the New York Mets (84-74) and St. Louis Cardinals (82-75) in the battle for two wild-card spots in the National League.

All three contenders totaled 12 runs in wins Tuesday.

"I told Bam Bam (hitting coach Hensley Meulens): They responded to the challenge," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said of the Mets and Cardinals, who played earlier games than the Giants. "They put up big numbers. I told him, 'It's up to you.'

"He accepted the challenge, I guess."

The Giants exploded for 19 hits, their most in a home game this season, in a 12-3, series-opening win.

San Francisco right-hander Jeff Samardzija also will have a personal incentive when he pitches the middle game of the three-game series.

The start will be Samardzija's last of the season; and, if the rotation holds, he'd be the next man up after Sunday's finale. That would put him in place to start Wednesday's wild-card game, should the Giants get there.

That said, Bochy announced Tuesday that Johnny Cueto has recovered from a groin injury and will start Thursday's series finale against the Rockies. He also would have ample rest (five days) to start next Wednesday.

One more quality start from Samardzija and it might be hard to keep him out of the wild-card game. He has allowed just nine hits and one run in 13 2/3 innings during his last two starts, striking out 13.

Among the Rockies he'll have to deal with Wednesday night is D.J. LeMahieu, who is dueling Washington Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy for the NL batting title.

LeMahieu, who singled in his last at-bat Tuesday to go 1-for-4, will take a .349-.347 advantage into Wednesday's action.

As Rockies star Nolan Arenado observed last week, "The thing about D.J. is he always has competitive at-bats. He never gives up an at-bat. And now he's better than ever."