Published January 13, 2015
Solid pitching and timely hitting sounds more like San Francisco's recipe for success, but that is the formula fueling Colorado right now.
The Rockies look to best their division rivals for a fifth straight time on Saturday afternoon in the second of three straight meetings with the Giants.
San Francisco had won 10 straight versus Colorado -- including the first four encounters this season -- before the Rockies' began their current series winning streak by claiming the final three meetings of a four-game set in Colorado last weekend. The Rockies took that finale 5-0 and then won Friday night's opener by the same score.
In his first game off the disabled list following a neck injury, Michael Cuddyer hit his eighth homer of the season and drove in three runs to pace Colorado. He had been out since May 12 and is hitting .325 on the season with 26 RBI.
"Cuddyer picked up where he left off. Especially in two-strike and RBI situations, he is a tough out. Another guy in the middle of our lineup that drives in runs really well," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
Carlos Gonzalez added his team-leading 12th home run of the season, a solo shot in the eighth inning, to help Colorado snap a nine-game slide in San Francisco. Tyler Chatwood allowed just four hits over six innings of work to earn the win.
The Rockies also remained tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks atop the NL West, with the Giants falling a game back of the clubs.
Tim Lincecum lost his second consecutive start after giving up four runs on seven hits with a pair of walks and eight strikeouts over seven innings for the Giants, who have dropped seven of their past 10 games.
"Overall, I would say Tim was okay," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's hard to say that when you do give up four, but there was some bad luck involved with that. It was an improvement, and he had good stuff tonight, but he did make a couple of mistakes."
Colorado's Juan Nicasio and former Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito of San Francisco squared off last weekend on May 19, with Nicasio getting the better of his left-handed counterpart in the aforementioned 5-0 decision. The two square off today in a rematch.
Nicasio won for the first time in four starts, allowing just three hits over six scoreless innings with one walk and five strikeouts. He improved to 4-1 with a 4.47 earned run average this season following his first victory since April 26.
"I threw a lot of fastballs down in the zone," Nicasio said on his club's website. "I had more focus today and I threw strikes."
The 26-year-old righty also moved to 1-1 with a 3.71 ERA in three career starts versus the Giants, while Zito lost to the Rockies for the first time since Sept. 25, 2008. That snapped his six-decision winning streak against the division rivals.
Zito is 3-3 with a 3.91 ERA on the season and is winless in his last five starts. He has suffered defeat in back-to-back starts, going 5 2/3 innings in each while yielding 10 earned runs and 23 hits.
The 35-year-old was charged with all five Colorado runs last Sunday as well as 11 hits to remain without a win since April 21.
"My timing was kind of in and out today," said Zito. "I made some pitches when I had to get out of some jams, but generally the ball was up in the zone."
Zito fell to 8-3 lifetime versus the Rockies with a 2.70 ERA in 22 games (20 starts).