DENVER (AP) San Francisco pitchers walked seven, matching their second-most this season, and the Colorado Rockies overcame a three-run deficit to beat the Giants 9-5 on Saturday in the opener of a day-night doubleheader.
Thairo Estrada tied a career high with four hits for the Giants (75-73), who began the day one game behind Arizona and Cincinnati for the final NL wild card, also a half-game back of Miami.
Keaton Winn, Ryan Walker (4-3) and Ross Stripling combined for the seven walks, and Rockies pitchers also walked seven. LaMonte Wade Jr. homered for San Francisco.
“One of the calling cards for our pitchers all year is we avoid the walk,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “It’s a big part of our structure and what we preach, and our pitchers have done a great job of executing it all year. You can’t walk anybody in this ballpark. It’s almost always going to come back to bite you.”
Ezequiel Tovar had a career-high four RBIs and three hits for the Rockies, starting the comeback from a 3-0 deficit with a bases-loaded triple in the third.
Kris Bryant hit an RBI single in the fifth for a 4-3 lead, Walker forced in a run with a walk to Hunter Goodman, his third of the inning. and Stripling walked Castro for a 6-3 advantage. Tovar added an RBI single in the seventh that included Austin Wynns’ two-run single.
Stripling made his first appearance for the Giants since missing 25 games with a mid-back strain. He walked his first batter to end a streak of 169 batters faced without issuing a walk.
“A little bit of rest and cobwebs definitely needed to be shaken off,” Stripling said. “A big situation to be brought into after a month so I tried to slow it down and made some good pitches, but not enough and ended up walking him there.”
Karl Kauffman (2-4) allowed an unearned run and two hits in four innings and Gavin Hollowell got an eight-out save, his first save for Colorado. The Rockies have won two straight from San Francisco after losing 16 of 17 dating to August of 2022.
“The biggest issue we have right now is we’re having opportunities with runners in scoring position, we’re getting runners on base with no outs, sometimes first and second with no outs, and we’re just not able to come up with the big blow,” Kapler said.
The Rockies could win their first series from an NL West opponent this season with a victory on Saturday night.
San Francisco took a 2-0 lead on Blake Sabol’s two-run double in the second inning and added another run in the third when Estrada singled, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on two passed balls by Austin Wynns.
San Francisco’s Scott Alexander (7-2, 4.53) and Colorado’s Kyle Freeland (6-14, 5.07) were to start the night game.
Wade didn’t have a hit in first five plate appearances of the series but his on-base percentage is rising. Wade walked three times in Friday’s loss and drew another in his first at-bat Saturday. Wade leads the Giants with 72 walks this season.
Rockies: RHP Peter Lambert (right biceps tendinitis) was placed on the 15-day injured list, effectively ending his season. Kauffmann was recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque to take Lambert’s roster spot.
LHP Sean Manaea (5-6, 4.80) starts Sunday for the Giants and RHP Chris Flexen (1-7, 7.22) for the Rockies.
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