Giants hang on to beat Rockies 6-5

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DENVER — Even if some of his teammates confessed their doubts, Madison Bumgarner always expected to take the mound on Saturday at Coors Field.

The Giants’ front office spent part of the week fielding calls regarding Bumgarner’s availability ahead of Wednesday’s 1 p.m. trade deadline, but Bumgarner said he never seriously considered the idea of wearing a different uniform.

The Giants ace made his first post-trade deadline start Saturday against the Rockies, donning the same road grey uniform and black cap he’s grown accustomed to in a 10-year career. The No. 40 jersey remained the same, but Bumgarner didn’t quite look like himself in Denver.

Despite an uncharacteristically tough night for Bumgarner, the Giants earned a come-from-behind 6-5 win over the Rockies on the shoulders of the only member of the club who’s been around as long as their starter.

Buster Posey entered in the top of the eighth as a pinch-hitter and delivered a go-ahead, two-run double on a 100.7-mph fastball from Rockies flamethrower Carlos Estevez. After fouling off a two-strike slider, Posey shot Estevez’s heater into right center field to give the Giants their first runs since the first inning.

The clutch hit snapped Posey’s 0-for-11 streak as a pinch-hitter that dated to June 28, 2018, when he singled in a 9-8 Giants loss at Coors Field. With the help of set-up man Tony Watson and closer Will Smith, the Giants captured a much-needed victory and improved to 56-55.

Despite losing a one-run affair in Friday’s series opener, the Giants have now won nine of their last 10 one-run games and are a major-league best 27-11 in games decided by one run.

Watson dealt with pressure at the beginning and end of the eighth inning, as he allowed a leadoff single before he started a 1-3-6 putout of Ian Desmond. After giving up a two-out triple to Garrett Hampson, Watson induced an inning-ending groundout from Tony Wolters to preserve the edge.

In the ninth, Smith allowed singles to Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado, but worked his way out of trouble to capture his 27th save of the year.

After the Giants handed Bumgarner a four-run first- inning lead, the lefty conceded a run in the second, two in the third and two more in the fifth. Rockies shortstop Trevor Story and Blackmon each took Bumgarner deep on Saturday and his final line may have looked worse if not for an outstanding fifth-inning grab by center fielder Steven Duggar to rob Desmond of a home run.

The line also could have looked slightly better, as Duggar and left fielder Mike Yastrzemski suffered a lapse in communication that led to a double and the Rockies’ second-inning run.

In his final seven starts before the trade deadline, Bumgarner was masterful as he posted a 2.51 ERA and struck out more than a batter per inning. In the most challenging pitching environment in the major leagues, he gave up eight hits and issued two walks while striking out just two Rockies hitters.

Rockies starter Jon Gray limited the first-place Dodgers to three hits over eight innings in his last outing, but the Giants wasted no time making Gray uncomfortable on Saturday. Their primary challenge was keeping him in that state.

San Francisco scored four runs in the first inning including three with two outs as Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Crawford and Scooter Gennett all came through with key hits.

Sandoval drove in the Giants’ first run with a double that snuck just inside the third base line before Crawford singled into left field to bring his third baseman home from second. Third base coach Ron Wotus made an aggressive decision to test the arm of left fielder Ian Desmond, but it paid off as Sandoval belly-flopped into home with a rumbling slide that drew a few laughs from the Giants dugout.

Gennett, who made his Giants debut on Friday, followed with his first home run with the club as he sent a Gray offering into the home bullpen beyond the right center field fence.

The Giants recorded six more hits against Gray, but failed to score another run against the right-hander before he was lifted in favor of reliever Bryan Shaw in the top of the fifth.

For the second straight night, an inability to add on made for a tense evening for the Giants as Bumgarner struggled through his worst outing since he gave up six runs in 3⅔ innings on June 20 against the Dodgers.

After recording two hits in their first three at-bats with runners in scoring position, the Giants went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position before Posey drove in pinch-runner Kevin Pillar and right fielder Austin Slater.

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