Sandoval hits for cycle, Giants top Rockies

Third baseman Pablo Sandoval hit for the cycle for-4, helping the San Francisco Giants down the Colorado 5 in the opener of a four-game series at Coors Field.

Sandoval became the first Giants player to hit for the cycle since Fred Lewis accomplished the feat on May 13, 2007, also at Coors Field. Sandoval also became the 23rd player in Giants franchise history to do it and only the 10th since the club moved to San Francisco.

Sandoval picked up the first leg of the feat when he blasted a pitch from Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin over the right field wall for a two-run homer in the opening inning. He singled up the middle in the second and ripped a double to left to start the fifth.

He came up to attempt the hardest part of the cycle in the sixth against Chacin. He drove a high fastball into the right-center field gap. The ball hit high off the wall and caromed away from right fielder Carlos Gonzalez, allowing Sandoval to hustle all the way and dive head first into third base.

"I was tired, but I was happy," Sandoval said.

Brandon Belt cracked a solo home run, Cody Ross picked up two hits, including an RBI double. Brandon Crawford added two hits and a run scored for the Giants, winners of five straight. They are six games behind Atlanta for the lead in the wild card standings and seven back of Arizona in the NL West.

Ryan Vogelsong (11-7) gave up two runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings while fanning eight and walking four. He also chipped in offensively with a pair of hits and two runs scored.

Chris Iannetta and Jordan Pacheco smacked solo homers and Eric Young Jr. added an RBI double for the Rockies, who were unable to carry momentum over from a 6-2 win over Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Chacin (11-12) was tagged with the loss after going 5 2/3 innings, giving up seven runs -- four earned -- on nine hits while walking four and striking out one.

San Francisco opened the scoring in its first at-bat when Carlos Beltran ripped a two-out single and Sandoval smacked a Chacin offering deep into the seats in left-center to give the Giants an early lead.

The Giants added three more in the second to make it 5-0. Crawford walked, Vogelsong singled and Ross reached and advanced to second on a throwing error by Thomas Field, which allowed Crawford to score and give the Giants runners on second and third. Vogelsong trotted home on a sacrifice fly by Jeff Keppinger and Ross scored on the second error of the inning, this one by Pacheco.

"We battled but we had some miscues on the defensive side of things," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.

The Rockies got on the board in the third when Chacin walked and Dexter Fowler singled before Mark Ellis slapped a single to left to score Chacin. Seth Smith worked a walk to load the bases with one out, but Vogelsong pitched out of the jam by inducing a 6-4-3 double play from Ty Wigginton to keep the Rockies at arm's length.

Pacheco's leadoff homer in the fourth cut the Giants' lead to 5-2. It was his second home run of the season.

But the Giants came back with two more in the sixth to widen the lead to 7-2. Vogelsong singled to begin the inning, moved to second on a passed ball and crossed the plate on a double by Ross. Ross then came around to score on a double-play groundout by Beltran.

Colorado fought back, however, in the seventh, plating three runs to make it a two-run game. Iannetta crushed his 13th homer of the season to begin the inning, Field followed with a single and pinch-hitter Chris Nelson ripped an RBI double. Giants manager Bruce Bochy summoned Dan Runzler from the bullpen, and he got Fowler to line out and Ellis to ground out, leaving the Rockies with a runner on third and two down. Young came through with a double to center to score Nelson.

Belt tacked on an insurance run in the top of the ninth with his sixth homer of the year to account for the final margin.

Game Notes

Colorado is 6-6 so far during the month of September,,,San Francisco leads the season series by an 8-4 count...Beltran is hitting .414 since joining the Giants at the trade deadline...Despite plating eight runs, the Giants have scored just 514 runs this season, the lowest total in the National League...The Giants lead the all-time series with Colorado 164-131...Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki sat out a second straight game with bursitis in his left hip...Ellis extended his hitting streak to eight games.