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Giants secure series sweep with 2nd straight comeback win over Rockies



© Isaiah J. Downing | 2023 Jun 8

The Giants took the series opener with an avalanche of offense; their eight doubles in the game matched a San Francisco-era record.

In the meat of the series sandwich, San Francisco needed to order up exactly five runs to mount a late-inning comeback, and delivered on all of them. 

Then in the finale, the Giants blended power and small ball to mount a second straight comeback victory. 

Thairo Estrada and Michael Conforto homered, and the Giants rallied for three runs in the ninth inning with a jolt off the bench. Brandon Crawford hit the game-tying double as a pinch hitter, and San Francisco manufactured two more runs for closer Camilo Doval, who’s been automatic. 

Doval tallied his National League-leading 16th save in the 6-4 victory. If a clean sweep is when a club dominates in all three games of a series, this was a dirty sweep. One way or another, the Giants (32-30) earned it.

Estrada’s first-inning home run — San Francisco’s first of the three-game series — gave the Giants a 1-0 lead. But the Rockies hit around the order in the bottom half, hanging four on starter Alex Cobb. Colorado’s lead held until the ninth inning. 

After his last start, when Cobb rode his splitter to 7.2 scoreless innings, the veteran said his delivery felt better than it had all season — and possibly in years. 

Against the Rockies, Cobb worked with Blake Sabol, the most inexperienced and defensively challenged catcher the Giants have rostered. 

Entering Thursday, Cobb had a 8.59 ERA in 7.1 innings pitching to Sabol. That’s a tiny sample, and Cobb’s preference to call his own games via PitchCom makes it difficult to decipher how much impact his batterymate has, but that’s a noisy number. Cobb’s ERA with Joey Bart and Patrick Bailey this year is below 2.00. 

Sabol, a Rule 5 pick, must stay on the roster all year in order for the Giants to keep him in the organization. He’s hit like a big leaguer and the Giants believe in his talent long-term, but his catching ability is far behind that of Bailey and Bart’s (that’s to be expected for a rookie with minimal high-level experience at the position). 

Cobb settled down after the first inning, and even pitched through some clear discomfort. He appeared to tweak his hip on a fifth-inning delivery, but insisted to manager Gabe Kapler and head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner that he could continue. 

The righty finished with seven strikeouts in five innings. All four of his earned runs came in the first inning.

When Taylor Rogers relieved Cobb, the Giants had cut into Colorado’s lead. J.D. Davis tripled and Michael Conforto smacked his 12th home run of the season. The former Mets, hitting fourth and fifth in SF’s order, made it 4-3. 

Both Conforto and Estrada’s homers were no-doubters that would’ve cleared the fence in all 30 ballparks. 

Taylor and Tyler Rogers, working back-to-back in their hometown in consecutive games, each pitched scoreless frames to keep the Giants close. The latter left the bases loaded in the seventh.

Then in the ninth, the Giants summoned the same comeback magic they found on Wednesday night. Blake Sabol and pinch-hitter Mike Yastrzemski each drew walks against closer Pierce Johnson. Then veteran Brandon Crawford, hitting for the slumping Casey Schmitt, shot an 0-2 curveball to right-center for a game-tying double. 

LaMonte Wade Jr. gave the Giants a 5-4 lead with a sacrifice fly. Joc Pederson added an RBI single on a letters-high fastball to extend the rally. 

Doval, who has allowed two earned runs in his last 16.2 innings after Thursday’s save, continued his reign. 

No sweep comes easily, and even though the Rockies are a last-place team, they had a formidable 15-14 record at home. There are platitudes about the Rockies that seem to hold true every year, regardless of the Rockies’ roster. One of them is that the club plays tough at home, and another is that it seems like teams’ injured lists get filled up during Coors Field series. 

Brandon Belt’s 2021 season ended in Coors Field. LaMonte Wade Jr.’s knee flared up in Denver last year, causing him to miss five weeks. Muscles seem tighter in altitude. Flukey accidents tend to happen in the park where canisters of oxygen are readily available. 

The Giants needed two comebacks to do it, but they swept the Rockies in Coors Field. And, just as importantly, the team that landed in Denver as healthy on the position player side as they have been all year appears to have gotten through the series unscathed.