Francis Chased Early, Rockies Swept By Giants
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – The Colorado Rockies were rolling when the week began, riding a five-game winning streak as they arrived to face the World Series champions.
They left the Bay Area on a three-game skid.
San Francisco jumped on Jeff Francis right away and the Giants made it another sweep of Colorado with a 10-0 win Wednesday.
“I was expecting to come in here and win a series,” first-year Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “The Giants played well. This one today got away from us early. We look at it as three games of 162.”
Colorado had homered in each of its first eight games before being shut out for the first time in 2013. Chris Nelson had two of the team’s seven hits, but the rest of the Rockies couldn’t muster much against Zito.
Buster Posey drove in three runs while NBA star Kevin Durant cheered him from the stands, while Zito pitched another gem and contributed with his bat.
Staked to a quick lead, Zito (2-0) won his 11th straight decision, including last year’s postseason. San Francisco earned its 16th consecutive victory in games he has started, the longest such run by a Giants pitcher since 16 in a row by Carl Hubbell for New York in 1936, STATS said.
“It’s hard to speak about a stretch or a run or the past, really,” Zito said. “Today the boys came out swinging. They were starting to click on all cylinders offensively, which was great because a lot of people underestimate our offense. And days like today really show what we can offer.”
Zito has thrown 14 scoreless innings so far, the deepest the lefty has gone without giving up a run to start a season in his 14-year career.
Posey hit an RBI triple in the first, a run-scoring double in the second and an RBI single in the fifth. He scored twice.
Durant and Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Nick Collison attended the game on the team’s off day ahead of Thursday’s matchup at Golden State. Durant was eager to see the NL MVP, saying: “My man, Buster. I just like his intensity.”
“It’s humbling,” Posey said. “You don’t even know if they know who you are to begin with.”
The Giants won their ninth in a row overall against Colorado. They also have beaten the Rockies nine straight times at AT&T Park.
“We can’t get hung up on games this early in the season, whether we get swept by the Giants or sweep the Padres,” Colorado’s Eric Young Jr. said. “There’s just too much baseball left to play.”
Andres Torres hit a two-run single, Joaquin Arias singled home a run in a rare start and Marco Scutaro hit a sacrifice fly as the Giants went ahead 7-0. They chased Francis (1-1) in the second inning for the shortest start of his career.
Only four of the seven runs he allowed were earned.
“I’d miss a pitch and they’d whack it. I’d make a pitch and they’d whack it,” Francis said. “It’s been a trend the last few times we’ve been here, but we always come in here expecting to win. That’s not going to change.”
The Giants had a season-high 16 hits a day after getting 14.
Zito had an RBI single in the fifth. He singled the next inning for his first career multihit game, prompting a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 41,606 and chants of “Barry! Barry!” He has a four-start hitting streak dating to the 2012 postseason.
“He’s going to have a shift soon, probably,” Posey cracked.
Zito allowed seven hits in seven innings, struck out four and walked one. Javier Lopez and Chad Gaudin completed the seven-hitter.
Zito was part of his second shutout already this season, and he hasn’t lost since Aug. 2 against the Mets.
Weiss has been around long enough to know how early it is. He expects to have a potent offense and contend in the NL West.
“We won the first two series, we lost this one,” he said. “If we go into San Diego and win another series, we’re in a good place.”
NOTES: Francis’ previous shortest start was three innings, done five times. … Weiss rested 1B Todd Helton for the day game after a night game and with a lefty starter on the mound. … Posey’s triple was the fourth of his career. … Colorado CF Dexter Fowler, who has a hit in seven of his team’s first eight games, had his first day off until a pinch-hit grounder in the eighth. … The Rockies have the day off Thursday.
By JANIE McCAULEY, AP Baseball Writer
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