Late Home Run Sinks Rockies 6-2

The Colorado Rockies bullpen faltered against the San Francisco Giants again Sunday, giving up 4 runs in the top of the 9th, including a 3-run homer to Brandon Crawford, to take a 6-2 victory, their 6th straight at Coors Field.

The Giants, who have won 15 of 19, have a two-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers, who beat Arizona 3-0 on Sunday. They now head home to Oracle Park with a chance to clinch their first division title since 2012 and to end LA’s run of 6 straight.

San Francisco may have to do it without first baseman Brandon Belt, who left Sunday’s game in the seventh inning after getting hit on the left hand with a pitch while squaring to bunt. Giants manager Gabe Kapler said a scan was inconclusive and Belt will get X-rays back in San Francisco.

“It’s not time to reflect on us losing Brandon Belt,” Kapler said. “We’re just not there yet.”

Crawford was optimistic Belt wouldn’t be out long.

“It’s scary when it’s a fastball or a hard pitch either close to his hand or on his hands,” he said. “There are so many little bones that can break. From talking to him, he seems like he should be all right, not miss too much time.”

San Francisco had to work for its 102nd victory overall — its most since winning 103 in 1993.

It was 2-all when reliever Daniel Bard (7-8) walked Steven Duggar and Wilmer Flores, and pinch-hitter Tommy La Stella lined an RBI single with one out.

Rockies manager Bud Black turned to Tyler Kinley to keep it close instead of allowing Bard to face Crawford.

“Bardo’s been out there a little bit the last five days and you could tell he wasn’t hitting his spots,” he said. “The walk to Duggar and the base hit to La Stella, I thought Kinley would give us a better chance against Crawford.”

Crawford spoiled the strategy with his 23rd of the season.

“Craw’s been good in those moments all season long. No surprise,” Kapler said. “He got a pitch he could drive.”

Camilo Doval (5-1) pitched the eighth inning for the win.

San Francisco starter Kevin Gausman struck out 11 in six innings but was left with a no-decision when Colorado tied it in the seventh.

Gausman retired 13 straight after Garrett Hampson’s single to lead off the first inning. C.J. Cron ended the streak with his 28th homer with one out in the fifth that cut San Francisco’s lead to 2-1.

Gausman, who entered Sunday with a 5.33 ERA in five September starts, said he made a mechanical adjustment that helped him.

“For me today was a big step forward. I could just tell from the get-go that I was my normal self and back to when I was going good,” he said. “That confidence just came back and I felt like I could throw any pitch when I needed to.”

Giants reliever Ryan Littell committed a balk in the seventh to put runners on second and third. Cron, who led off with a single, scored on a grounder when he beat the throw home from second baseman Donovan Solano that tied it at 2.

San Francisco scored its first run on a groundout in the second inning and added another in the fifth. Belt reached on a bloop double with two outs and scored on Kris Bryant’s single.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Giants: INF Darin Ruf (right oblique strain) was planning on taking swings Sunday and is hopeful to come off the 10-day injured list on Thursday, the first day he is eligible.

PAINFUL PITCH

Belt was hit when he squared to bunt against reliever Lucas Gilbreath. He stayed in the game to run but Flores took over at first in the bottom of the inning.

“He knows when the best way for him to get on base is to put a bunt down, he knows when the best way to get on base is to take pitches,” Kapler said. “Not surprised, thought it was a smart play against a tough lefty late in the game.”

Belt’s absence was magnified when Flores’ error in the seventh contributed to the tying run.

UP NEXT

Giants: Kapler announced after the game that Logan Web (10-3, 3.04) will start Tuesday against Arizona to begin six home games against the Diamondbacks and San Diego to close the regular season.

Rockies: RHP Germán Márquez (12-10, 4.32) will make his final home start of the season when Colorado opens a three-game series against the Washington Nationals on Monday.

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