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Giants' win streak continues with sweep of Rockies

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DENVER — When the San Francisco Giants return home to Oracle Park on Thursday, ace Madison Bumgarner will take the mound for what could be one of his last two starts before he’s dealt to a contending club.

It could also be another normal outing for a pitcher who suddenly finds himself playing for the hottest team in baseball.

For months, the Giants appeared destined to control the July 31 trade deadline by sending out their most valuable assets in return for the top prospects belonging to contending clubs.

With the team enjoying its best stretch of baseball in more than three years, the Giants’ front office could be having second thoughts as the players now control their own destiny through their performance over the next two weeks.

After completing a four-game sweep of the Rockies with an 11-8 win on Wednesday at Coors Field, the Giants (47-49) have won a season-high five in a row and 12 of their last 14 games to take over sole possession of third place in the National League West.

“It’s a lot of fun when everybody wrote you off before the season started,” catcher Stephen Vogt said. “Even still, it’s, ‘How long is this going to last?’ I can say that the attitude in this room is, ‘Let’s win today.’ We feel good about the way we’re playing.”

On the shoulders of a balanced offense attack, the Giants wrapped up their first four-game sweep at Coors Field since Sept. 15-18, 2011 and their first sweep of any kind in Denver since 2012.

“From the very beginning, no one picked us to do anything,” said reliever Derek Holland, who threw 1⅔ scoreless innings out of the bullpen on Wednesday. “For what we’re doing, the noise we’re making, I think that’s huge for us.”

How stunning was the team’s 6-1 road trip that included four games in three days in Colorado?

In the 22 games the Giants played at Coors Field prior to this week’s series, the club appeared allergic to the hitter-friendly confines as they posted a 3-19 record.

A three-run eighth inning rally helped the Giants score in the double digits for the sixth time in their last 14 games. In the club’s previous 151 games, San Francisco had scored 10 or more runs just five times.

“It’s just a different vibe,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “They know they can come right back. The confidence has grown. They’ve done it.”

Every starting position player finished with at least one hit, six recorded multi-hit games and six drove in a run on Wednesday as the Giants put the finishing touches on a series in which they outscored the Rockies 40-15.

The Giants entered the day leading the major leagues with 26 home runs in the month of July and received a pair of go-ahead home runs in the middle innings on Wednesday.

Trailing 4-3, Vogt homered for the second time in the series and the fourth time this season as he yanked a two-run shot into the right field bleachers to push the Giants ahead 5-4 in the fifth.

After Colorado added a run in the bottom of the inning, shortstop Donovan Solano hit his second home run of the year out to the deepest part of Coors Field to give the Giants a 6-5 advantage in the top of the sixth. Solano’s 433-foot solo shot against Rockies starter Jon Gray marked his first homer against a right-handed pitcher since Sept. 21, 2016 and after doubling in the eighth inning, the shortstop set a new career high with nine total bases.

With a four-hit day, Solano improved his average to .337 and earned the nickname “Donnie Baseball” from his teammates.

“I feel flattered,” Solano said. “We’re a team and when we go out there, that’s what we want to do. Play as a team. Win as a team. I’m just happy that things are working out for us right now.”

An offense that entered the day averaging eight runs in the month of July reached that total by the end of the seventh inning, offsetting a rough outing from starter Shaun Anderson.

Anderson’s 12th career start was his worst to date as the rookie failed to complete five innings on a humid, 94-degree afternoon at Coors Field. The right-hander surrendered five earned runs in 4⅓ innings on a day when the Giants needed their starter to pitch deep into the game.

The Giants gave Anderson two different leads to work with, but he couldn’t hold either against the Rockies as he allowed a go-ahead two-run home run to second baseman Ryan McMahon in the bottom of the fourth inning before permitting a game-tying single to third baseman Nolan Arenado in the bottom of the fifth.

“He was not sharp with his command,” Bochy said. “There’s no getting around it. I thought he was up more than he normally is.”

After recording four quality starts in his first five outings in June, Anderson has given up at least four earned runs in all three of his July appearances. With a short-handed pitching staff and a handful of other options available to start Monday against the Cubs, the Giants could elect to option Anderson to Triple-A Sacramento and add an extra reliever ahead of their seven-game homestand beginning Thursday.

It wasn’t a great day for Anderson, but a different Giants rookie continued to showcase his value to the roster on Wednesday.

The Giants had only one player on the diamond for all 36 innings of their four-game, three-day series in Denver, but there was never a reason for Bochy to take Mike Yastrzemski out. Despite nearly being sent down to Triple-A on Sunday due to a roster crunch, Yastrzemski added two hits in Wednesday’s finale to finish with nine in the four-game series.

“The legs are heavy, but after a win, they feel a lot lighter,” Yastrzemski said. “Especially after a sweep like that. You kind of forget how your body is feeling when you’re doing well.”

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