AT&T PARK — The National League West is stacked this year, even with one of its traditionally good teams fighting to avoid being the worst team in baseball.
So, that leaves the San Francisco Giants to play spoiler — a role they might not like, but would rather play than lie down.
“It’s been a tough year. We’re not where we want to be. And we don’t like being in this role, where we can be the spoiler,” manager Bruce Bochy allowed after his team beat the Colorado Rockies, 4-0, to complete a two-game series sweep. “… Despite that, it’s easy to get into that shutdown mode this time of year when you’re out of it. I think when you look at these two games, that has not happened.”
On Wednesday, Matt Moore lasted six-plus innings and didn’t allow a run. It was the first time the lefty has had a scoreless start in 36 tries, dating back to his 8.2-inning, near no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers last season.
The San Francisco win further stunted the Colorado Rockies’ dreams of claiming the second wild-card spot.
“With that team having a lot to play for, for us to pick up these last two, especially last night, it feels good,” Moore said. “We don’t have to be playing for this time of year but for us to go out and compete and not take no for an answer, i think, says a lot.”
The Giants bullpen relieved Moore effectively in the seventh, when he ran out of gas and allowed back-to-back singles to leadoff the inning. Steven Okert and Cory Gearrin combined to put the Rockies down in order with two strikeouts.
Joe Panik was the hero on offense. The Gold Glove-winning second baseman’s drive into triple’s alley in the first set him up as the first run of the game after Denard Span cashed him in on a sacrifice fly.
During his next turn at the plate, Panik led off the third with a double and scored again on a sac fly a couple hitters later. His double-play partner, Brandon Crawford, followed that with a 356-foot solo home run that landed on the right-field arcade.
The Giants got the all-important fourth run in the seventh, when Panik singled to score Pence from second. San Francisco is now 47-21 this season when its lineup scores four runs or more.
For Colorado, the loss was another setback — a night after the Giants earned their eighth walkoff victory of the season — in their pursuit of a playoff berth. At press time, the Rockies were clinging to a half-game lead over the red-hot Milwaukee Brewers.