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Giambi's pinch hit saves Rockies vs. D-Backs

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DENVER (AP)

Jason Giambi is starting to spoil the Colorado Rockies with all his clutch hits. The veteran slugger came through again, delivering a pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth to lift Colorado to a 5-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night. He's driven in at least one run — and four total — in all three of his pinch-hitting appearances since joining the team earlier this week. "He's digging himself a hole. If he ever happens to get out, we're all going to be mad at him," Seth Smith said. "He's helping us win games." And keep pace with San Francisco, who beat Milwaukee earlier in the evening. The win kept Rockies a game ahead of the Giants in the NL wild-card race. After Yorvit Torrealba singled in the eighth and was bunted over to second by Clint Barmes, Giambi was brought in off the bench. Giambi lined a pitch from Blaine Boyer (0-2) into left-center, easily scoring Torrealba. After reaching first, Giambi clapped his hands in excitement as the crowd followed suit. Giambi, who left the clubhouse before reporters were allowed in Friday, also had a pinch-hit, two-run single in a win over the New York Mets on Wednesday. "That's what he's getting paid to do over there and that's his role," Diamondbacks manager A.J. Hinch said. "Obviously, this one tonight hurts us." As much as it hurt the Diamondbacks, it helped the Rockies, who appreciate his steady play and veteran approach in the heat of a playoff push. "We know what (Giambi) can do. He's definitely a professional hitter," Torrealba said. "He's a good guy to have around. He's a good guy to have on your team." With Giambi's big bat available on the bench, Smith has been getting more regular playing time and he's making the most of it. Smith had a career-best four hits, including two doubles that produced three runs. Rafael Betancourt (1-1) got Chris Young to ground out to end the eighth to earn the win. Franklin Morales, filling in for the injured Huston Street, pitched the ninth for his second save in three chances. After issuing a two-out walk to Ryan Roberts, he got Justin Upton to pop out to end the game. Torrealba's single in the eighth extended his hitting streak to 13 games. He's one away from tying Joe Girardi's mark for longest streak by a Rockies catcher. After giving up a run in each of the first two innings, Dan Haren settled in and stymied the Rockies. He scattered seven hits over six innings and struck out eight against a team he typically torments. Haren has a 2.86 lifetime ERA against Colorado. "I had probably my worst stuff of the year," Haren said. "They were hunting the fastball early and went primarily to cutters and splits and curveballs after that. I was able to battle through and give us a shot." Jason Hammel lasted six innings, giving up five hits and four runs (three earned). Hammel has proved to be a better pitcher on the road this season than in the confines of Coors Field. He has a 2.93 ERA away from Denver and a 6.29 mark at home. Ian Stewart hit a solo homer for the second straight game, sending an 0-1 pitch from Haren into the second deck in right-center. His homer in the second inning was his 21st of the season. As for Giambi, he's fitting well into the Rockies' plans to use him as a force off the bench. "In Jason's case, where he's at at this point and time in his career, the opportunity to embrace something like what we're doing with him I think can be a wonderful thing for him," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "I think it can extend him a little further beyond where he might think his career is at this point and time."

Notes

Rockies pitchers Aaron Cook (shoulder) and Manny Corpas (elbow spurs) threw on the side Friday, while Street (sore arm) went through strengthening exercises. ... Colorado OF Dexter Fowler (bruised right knee) will head to Double-A Tulsa for a rehab assignment. Fowler is eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday. ... Hinch said he expected to use newly promoted RHP Daniel Cabrera in the bullpen. ... Hawpe finished the game with four strikeouts in four at-bats. ... Arizona C Miguel Montero has now hit safely in all eight of his games against Colorado. He had a two-run single on Friday.
Tagged: Diamondbacks, Rockies

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