The San Francisco Giants got to Denver late and woke up early. They had just played an intense series against a longtime rival, so a letdown in Colorado would have been excusable.
With the division lead on the line, they had plenty of energy.
Thairo Estrada hit two of San Francisco’s four home runs, Kevin Gausman pitched seven solid innings and the Giants beat the Rockies 10-5 on Monday to maintain their one-game advantage in the NL West.
“This group came ready to play today. Late flight last night, get in at 1:30 in the morning,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “The whole crew has a very, very quick turnaround and tired eyes this morning. These guys got ramped up well, got prepared and ready to hit, obviously, from the first pitch.”
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The major league-best Giants (88-50) took two of three from the rival Dodgers over the weekend to regain sole possession of first place. Los Angeles won 5-1 in St. Louis on Monday.
Sunday’s game finished around 8:30 p.m. Colorado time and Monday’s first pitch was 2:10 p.m. Instead of looking like a tired bunch, the Giants jumped on the Rockies early and cruised to a win.
“I was expecting everyone to be a little sluggish. We expended a lot of energy that last series, just mentally, being locked in every single pitch,” Gausman said. “From the get-go they were locked in and making (Kyle) Freeland work.”
Darin Ruf homered on the third pitch of the game and Buster Posey also went deep to give San Francisco 206 home runs this season. Toronto also connected four times Monday at Yankee Stadium to retain the big league lead with 210.
Handed an 8-1 lead by the fifth, Gausman (13-5) allowed three runs and five hits in giving the Giants’ overworked bullpen a rest. He also singled and scored a run.
“I wanted to go at least seven; that was the goal going in,” Gausman said. “I almost talked to Kap before the game, ‘Let me go 130 pitches, whatever it takes. These guys need a day off.’ I had some quick innings, some long (at-bats) and then followed by a one-pitch out.”
It was the first time two Colorado-grown pitchers started against each other at Coors Field. Gausman attended Grandview High School in Aurora, 12 miles from Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver, where Rockies lefty Freeland starred.
Gausman got the better of the matchup, striking out nine with one walk. Freeland (5-7) was tagged for seven runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings and served up four homers.
“It was cool,” Freeland said. “I wish we could have had a better battle.”
Ruf led off the game with his 15th home run and Posey hit his 17th one out later. Estrada had a solo homer in the fourth and a two-run shot in the fifth. Ruf drove in two with a triple to make it 8-1 after five innings.
Mauricio Dubón, who had three hits, delivered a two-run single in the sixth.
Trevor Story hit a two-run homer in the eighth, and Ryan McMahon and Garrett Hampson had solo shots for Colorado.
Giants: OF Mike Yastrzemski was a late scratch from the lineup due to a stomach issue. Steven Duggar started in his place and batted eighth. “He ate something that didn’t agree with him and we were trying to get him ready. I wouldn’t have had any issue if we ran out of players having Yaz hit,” Kapler said. ... Kris Bryant came out in the seventh. Kapler said the slugger has been bothered by wrist discomfort.
Rockies: RHP Peter Lambert (Tommy John surgery) tossed 2 2/3 innings with Double-A Hartford on Sunday. Lambert last pitched in the majors on Sept. 20, 2019.
San Francisco recalled right-hander Kervin Castro from Triple-A Sacramento and optioned righty Jay Jackson to the River Cats.
Ruf was a little too aggressive going after Joshua Fuentes’ popup in the seventh. Posey camped under the ball and as he made the catch. Ruf, running in from first base, slid into Posey’s left leg, knocking him down. Posey stood up and stayed in the game.
“We have to do a better job of communicating on popups and fly balls,” Kapler said.
SECOND TO ONE
Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon played in his 1,248th game for the club, one more than Carlos Gonzalez and 78 more than soon-to-be Hall of Famer Larry Walker.
Blackmon likely won’t catch Todd Helton for most games played with Colorado. Helton played in 2,247 during his 17-year career, all with the Rockies.
RHP Logan Webb (8-3, 2.56 ERA) starts Tuesday for the Giants against Colorado RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (3-6, 6.13).
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