By Morris Phillips
SAN FRANCISCO–Improbably, the Giants avoided post-season elimination for the second night in a row.
While the Giants drubbed the Rockies for a team-record eighth, consecutive time, winning 6-4, the Phillies lost to the Cubs, and Brewers lost at home the Marlins.
Of the 18 clubs that will be parked in front of their TV screens when the playoffs commence on October 7, 15 have already ordered food from their preferred, delivery service. The Giants aren’t one of them, and that’s a good thing. Officially, they’re still battling.
“We’ve still got a chance, I guess,” Carlos Rodon said. “A lot of things have got to go our way, but all we can control is us winning.”
An upbeat, engaged Rodon maybe as valuable to the Giants as any late-season surge. In winning for the 14th time as a Giant, Rodon was flawless, allowing two hits and striking out 10 in six, scoreless innings of work. With each impressive outing, it becomes more and more apparent that the Giants will want to consummate a long-term deal with Rodon, and make him the most, prominent free agent signing in the Farhan Zaidi era, pending Aaron Judge’s decision, of course.
While the Rockies started six rookies on Thursday night, making Rodon’s path less Rockie, the Giants started one, Ford Proctor, who essentially won the game. Proctor’s second inning, grand slam off Ross Feltner increased the Giants lead to 5-0 and erased whatever doubt regarding the game’s outcome early. Proctor, who started his trip around the bases in a reserved manner was an absolute teenager with a huge smile on his face when he crossed the plate, in celebration of his first Major League home run.
“The fastest I’ve ever run around the bases, I know that,” Proctor said. “This past week has been a whirlwind. Just trying to take it all in and enjoy it.”
Kelly Tomlinson was the last Giant to have his first home also be a grand slam in 2015, and Brandon Crawford also achieved the feat in 2011, when his slam was also his first Major League hit.
Eight different Giants had at least one hit in the ballgame including pinch-hitter Austin Slater, who doubled and later scored in the seventh.
Very little went wrong for the Giants individually or collectively until the ninth inning when Jharell Cotton fell into trouble in his third inning of relief. Yonathon Daza and Alan Trejo singled to open the inning, giving Colorado runners at first and third. With one out, C.J. Cron’s sacrifice fly scored Daza with the Rockies’ first run.
That flurry forced Gabe Kapler into his bullpen and Sean Bouchard greeted John Brebbia with a two-run homer off Brebbia’s first pitch. Two batters later, Elehuris Montero tripled home Michael Toglia and the Giants’ lead was trimmed to 6-4.
Camilo Doval came on to face Ezequiel Tovar as the tying run and Doval retired Tovar to end the game.
The Giants welcome Arizona to Oracle Park for their final, three home games starting Friday night. Alex Cobb will face the Diamondbacks’ Merrill Kelly in the opener.