SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – When Juan Nicasio walked the first two batters in the sixth inning, what appeared to be a safe lead quickly disappeared for the Colorado Rockies.
Brandon Crawford started San Francisco’s rally with a three-run homer and Angel Pagan added a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning to lead the Giants to their eighth straight win over the Colorado Rockies, 9-6 on Tuesday night.
“Juan had a clean fifth so I ran him out there in the sixth and he walks the first two guys. I think he got tired quickly in the sixth,” Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. “After that we couldn’t piece it together. The Giants just keep coming. They won a championship playing like that. They string together a lot of good at-bats, there are a lot of tough outs over there. We couldn’t shut them down.”
Hunter Pence had a pair of RBI singles and Pagan and Marco Scutaro each had three hits for the Giants, who won despite another rough start by former ace Tim Lincecum.
Lincecum walked three batters, including the pitcher, and threw a wild pitch that helped lead to a five-run second inning for Colorado. But he settled down after that, staying in the game for four more innings, and then watched his teammates rally for the win.
“You have to feel good after the team wins, especially coming back from the hole I put them in there in the second inning,” Lincecum said. “I feel good about that. But I’m going back to the chalkboard after every start and going into refining mode and trying to fix the errors. That second inning really was a doozy for me.”
Dexter Fowler and Josh Rutledge each drove in two runs in the second inning, and Troy Tulowitzki added a solo homer off Lincecum to help the Rockies build a 6-2 lead.
But the Giants scored four runs in the sixth to tie the game and then won it in the eighth against Matt Belisle (0-1).
“We’re tired of it and ready to keep battling,” Belisle said. “Yesterday was a good effort and today doesn’t taste so good. I’m not worried about what we’ve done or what we’ve not done in the past. This is a new team, with a fresh start.”
Pinch-hitter Andres Torres started the winning rally with a double to right field and Pagan followed with a single up the middle that almost hit Belisle in the face.
Pablo Sandoval and Gregor Blanco added RBI singles to give the Giants insurance.
Santiago Casilla (1-0) pitched a perfect eighth for the win and Sergio Romo got three outs for his fifth save.
Nicasio walked Gregor Blanco and Hector Sanchez to start the sixth. That ended his night after 95 pitches, marking the 110th straight game a Rockies starter has failed to reach the 100-pitch mark.
Adam Ottavino came in and allowed Crawford’s second career homer at AT&T Park, a rare opposite-field shot in a noted pitchers’ park.
“I fell behind 2-0, we had a four-run lead, so I tried to challenge him,” Ottavino said. “I wasn’t trying to be too fine. He put a good swing on it. I’ve had success against him in the past, especially away. When he hit it I was going to back up third. It surprised me when it went out.”
The Giants then loaded the bases with one out before Belisle relieved and allowed a tying single by Pence that gave him 1,000 career hits. Belisle escaped the jam without further damage when he got Brandon Belt to hit into an inning-ending double play.
Lincecum, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, is still trying to find his groove following a disappointing 2012 season when he had a career-high 15 losses and an NL-worst 5.18 ERA.
After matching a career high with seven walks in his first start last week against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Lincecum was hurt again by a lack of command against the Rockies.
He needed just nine pitches to work through a perfect first inning before being able to find the plate in a five-run second.
He might have come out of that inning unscathed if not for a bad decision by Scutaro, who threw wildly trying to get a force at second base instead of taking a sure out at first. That helped set up the big inning that featured a two-run double by Fowler and a two-run single by Rutledge.
Lincecum retired nine of 10 batters following Rutledge’s single, allowing only another walk to Nicasio. But Tulowitzki added to the Rockies’ lead when he sent a first pitch halfway up the seats in left field for his third homer of the season.
Lincecum allowed six runs, four hits and four walks with seven strikeouts in six innings.
NOTES: Colorado has homered in all eight games. … Barry Zito, who is 7-2 in his career vs. Colorado, will start the series finale against Jeff Francis.
By JOSH DUBOW, AP Sports Writer
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