Ford’s Drive: Rookie’s grand slam propels Giants to 6-4 win over the Rockies

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.

Not Mailing It In: Giants top the Rockies 6-3 to avoid post-season elimination

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–The streaking Giants aren’t just winning games, they’re also setting the table for 2023.

When the off-season’s as anticipated as the Giants, consider it a win-win.

Four different Giants, including rookie Ford Proctor, had run-scoring hits in a 6-3 win over the Rockies on Wednesday night. The Giants have won 8 of 9 and still have (slim) post-season possibilities with seven games remaining in the season.

The Giants trail the sixth-seeded Phillies by 6 1/2 games, and would have to leapfrog the Brewers as well in an almost impossible finish, but the door’s open as is the possibility they could finish .500 or better with their record at 77-78.

It’s been more than a month since the Giants have held a non-losing record with that being on August 23, after they beat the Tigers in Detroit to get to 61-61.

The Giants fashioned a bullpen game gem, starting with John Brebbia pitching a scoreless first inning for the ninth, straight time in his sometimes role as the opener. Sean Hjelle followed with four innings of two-hit ball after being recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Sacramento as the corresponding move to Jarlin Garcia being placed on the paternity list.

That performance earned Hjelle his first Major League win and a sticky, concoction celebration from his teammates.

“I think there was one beer mixed in there, too,” Hjelle said of what substances where poured on his head in the clubhouse. “It was great. I’m gonna feel gross for a couple of days.”

The 31-year old Shelby Miller was the other Giant to throw multiple innings, pitching the sixth and seventh. He was sharp, starting all six batters he faced with a strike and fanning five.

“He’s getting opposing hitters comfortable looking for a slider and then delivering a really quality strike with his fastball,” manager Gabe Kapler said of Miller.

Tyler Rogers and Yunior Marte also pitched an inning as the Giants held the Rockies to just four hits. The evening served as another hint that the answers to the team’s bullpen woes could be already in the clubhouse. In the last three weeks, Scott Alexander, Alex Young and Miller have been impressive while Brebbia and Camilo Doval have continued their outstanding seasons.

The Giants scored three runs in the first off Colorado’s Jose Urena, who gave up four hits, four walks and took the loss. The Rockies narrowed the deficit to 3-2 on Alan Trejo’s solo shot in the fifth. But the Giants responded, scoring three times in the sixth. Proctor’s first big league RBI came on a sacrifice fly scoring David Villar. Joc Pederson’s two-run triple later in the inning finished the scoring for the Giants.