Rockies 2, Giants 1

The San Francisco Giants were in prime position to gain ground
in both the NL West and wild-card races until they got beat on a
strange shattered-bat triple and an uncharacteristically off throw
by their second baseman when he couldn’t grip the ball.

The Colorado Rockies rode that big break a step closer to making
their own postseason push.

Carlos Gonzalez tripled over charging right fielder Cody Ross
with no outs in the ninth and scored on Freddy Sanchez’s second
throwing error of the game, and the Rockies rallied to beat the
Giants 2-1 on Monday night.

”When you see the bat shatter, hear the sound, you’re going to
break in,” said Ross, making just his second start in right field
since joining the Giants last week. ”You think you have the right
read on it and the next thing you know it’s over your head. …
That’s kind of a bizarre broken-bat triple. I’ve never seen
anything like that, really.”

The Giants squandered a key chance to gain ground on first-place
San Diego in the division and the Phillies in the wild-card race
after both those teams lost. Instead, San Francisco still sits five
games back in the division and 1 1/2 games behind Philadelphia.

Colorado sits 3 1/2 games behind the Phillies, two behind the
Giants.

Gonzalez, a right fielder himself, felt for Ross.

”It was difficult,” Gonzalez said. ”As an outfielder, you see
the bat broke and your first move is going to be running into the
infield. It was crazy because I hit the ball on the barrel and I
didn’t know how that bat broke. I guess it was meant to be. It was
crazy. That’s how we won the game.”

Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez carried a shutout bid into the
ninth then gave way to All-Star closer Brian Wilson (3-2) after a
leadoff walk to Dexter Fowler. After Ross’ miscue, Freddy Sanchez’s
relay throw skipped past third baseman Pablo Sandoval and
Wilson.

Rafael Betancourt (5-1) pitched the eighth for the win, then
Huston Street finished for his 13th save in 17 chances.

”I don’t think you can understate that win right there,”
Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. ”We made them earn the things that
they got.”

Despite getting back-to-back quality outings from Matt Cain and
Sanchez, Giants starters are just 5-13 over their last 27 games.
The once-reliable bullpen blew Cain’s three-run lead in the seventh
inning Sunday against Arizona, then Wilson couldn’t hold it for
Sanchez.

”I could have finished the inning. He wanted to go with the
closer, though,” Sanchez said. ”I was on. I had all my pitches
working for strikes.”

The move wasn’t easy for manager Bruce Bochy, who said Sanchez
got out of his delivery.

Buster Posey put San Francisco ahead on an RBI single in the
fourth. Posey returned to the lineup after missing two games to
rest a mild strain in his left forearm sustained Friday night
against Arizona.

Sanchez left to a rousing standing ovation. His performance had
come at an ideal time as the September stretch run nears with 19
straight games against division opponents. The Giants beat
last-place Arizona 9-7 on Sunday to avoid what would have been an
embarrassing sweep at home.

San Francisco was in the hunt until mid-September last year but
wound up missing the playoffs for a sixth consecutive year.

Jorge De La Rosa struck out nine to match his season high and
avoided losing to the Giants for the first time in 11 career
outings, including seven starts. He is 6-0 – 3-0 at AT&T Park –
with the six wins his most against any opponent. De La Rosa hung
tough with Sanchez, allowing one run on four hits in seven strong
innings.

The Rockies, fresh off a 5-1 homestand, couldn’t capitalize on
the Giants grounding into double plays in the second, fourth and
sixth innings. They did when it mattered.

Freddy Sanchez also committed an error in the first inning – his
third in four games after not having one all year before this
stretch. The throwing error allowed Eric Young Jr. to go from first
to second following a leadoff single. Young was then caught
stealing, the Giants’ first in the last 16 attempts by
opponents.

Colorado’s Clint Barmes came off the bereavement list and was in
the lineup at shortstop in place of Troy Tulowitzki, sidelined for
what could be a few days with a sore left groin. Tulowitzki
extended his hitting streak to 10 games Sunday.

Notes: The Rockies are tweaking their rotation for Thursday and
Friday: Jhoulys Chacin will go in Thursday’s makeup game with the
Phillies at Coors Field and Aaron Cook on Friday in San Diego. …
Rockies pitchers Jeff Francis and Matt Daley, both on the DL, are
set to throw simulated games Tuesday. … Injured Giants INF Mark
DeRosa (wrist surgery) hopes to begin swinging sometime this month
and be ready to return if the Giants make the playoffs, but him
playing again in 2010 is still highly unlikely. ”The Gods are not
for him this year,” Bochy said.