Flores’ 3-run homer sends MLB-leading Giants past Rockies
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Night after night, the San Francisco Giants’ depth keeps shining through with games on the line. Closer Jake McGee struggled again with a second straight blown save, then Zack Littell came in and delivered just as he’d done three days earlier.
Wilmer Flores hit a three-run homer in the first, Thairo Estrada added an RBI single, and the Giants held off a late rally to beat the Colorado Rockies 5-4 on Friday night for their sixth straight win.
“Jake’s our guy. Obviously it’s very difficult to take him out of this game,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “But we really do have a ton of confidence that we’re going to get this worked out.”
Giants right-hander Anthony DeSclafani (11-5) allowed two runs on five hits over five innings to snap a four-start winless stretch in which he was 0-2 since beating Washington on July 10.
The MLB-leading Giants are 75-41 for the second-best record in San Francisco history through 116 games, behind the 103-win 1993 club in home run king Barry Bonds’ first season with the team.
“It’s not about one guy,” said Flores, who hit his 15th homer. “I feel like today we picked each other up. We’ve been doing it all year.”
McGee surrendered a two-run homer to Connor Joe in the ninth and missed his second straight save opportunity after also doing so Tuesday. Zack Littell struck out C.J. Cron swinging to end it with runners on first and second.
“We came back, we just fell one swing short,” Colorado manager Bud Black said.
The Giants quickly found a groove against lefty Austin Gomber (9-7), who was done after four innings coming off six shutout innings his last outing facing Miami.
DeSclafani returned from the injured list after missing one start with a fatigued pitching shoulder. He allowed an RBI single to Cron in the third.
But DeSclafani improved to 3-0 against the Rockies this season. He hadn’t allowed a run to them in two previous 2021 outings spanning 15 innings, all at home.
Gomber’s sacrifice bunt in the second got Colorado on the board for just its second run in four games.
The Rockies were shut out Tuesday at Houston, lost 5-1 to the Astros on Wednesday then blanked again in Thursday night’s series opener at Oracle Park, 7-0.
CRAWFORD’S NEW DEAL
Giants SS Brandon Crawford agreed to a new two-year contract worth $32 million that takes him through the 2023 season.
“This is the only organization we’ve ever known and they’ve always taken such good care of me and my family,” Crawford said in the dugout before having a night off from starting in the second game of a four-game weekend set.
He waved and tipped his cap during a long ovation in the fourth inning.
The deal will pay the 34-year-old shortstop $16 million in base salary in both 2022 and ’23. He is in the final season of a $75 million, six-year contract signed in November 2015. He is earning $15 million this season.
Former 49ers quarterback Alex Smith received a warm welcome and cheers when he was shown on the big screen in a Giants jersey.
He left in the late innings, but not before posing for selfies and signing autographs. He and his family moved back to the Bay Area a couple of weeks ago, with Smith saying, “this is home.”
“That’s always been the plan,” Smith said. “This is such a special place. It brought back a lot of memories from when I got drafted and a couple days after drafting I came to a game here. I’m so grateful and thankful for everything, for a lot over the course of my career and certainly to come back here and for it to be such a special place like this to receive an ovation like that it’s amazing, really, really touching. I don’t take it for granted and I’m so thankful.”
Rockies: SS Trevor Story pinch hit in the ninth but was out of the lineup a day after being hit by a pitch in the forearm in the fourth before exiting the game. “He’s going to be fine,” manager Bud Black said. ... Brendan Rodgers played in place of Story at shortstop after missing the previous four games with a bruised right from being hit by a pitch Saturday. Rodgers singled in the first to extend his hitting streak to 15 games.
Giants: 3B Evan Longoria went through more on-field work but wasn’t quite ready to come off the 60-day injured list — though Kapler didn’t rule out Longoria’s return to the starting lineup Saturday. The veteran infielder has been sidelined since June 5 with a sprained left shoulder sustained in a collision with Crawford. ... RHP Johnny Cueto, placed on the injured list Wednesday with an elbow flexor strain, is expected to return to the mound when the team visits the Mets for a series from Aug. 24-26. ... RHP Tyler Beede, currently at Triple-A Sacramento, is dealing with lower back pain that put him on the IL.
Giants RHP Camilo Doval was optioned to Sacramento to clear room for DeSclafani’s return. RHP Aaron Sanchez received his unconditional release after being designated for assignment Sunday.
LHP Kyle Freeland (3-6, 4.65) pitches Saturday night for the Rockies looking to win his third straight start on the heels of four consecutive losing outings. Freeland hasn’t had three victories in a row since four straight winning starts from Aug. 28-Sept. 13, 2018, a year when he also earlier won three in a row.
San Francisco had yet to settle on a starter even after the game.
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