Buster Posey said he was aware he was a homer away from the cycle Wednesday for the Giants --- and if he wasn't, he was reminded with some "chin music," Posey said, by the Rockies' pitcher in his final at-bat.
SAN FRANCISCO -- On a day when he praised batterymate Barry Zito for his preparation, San Francisco Giants slugger Buster Posey did some pregame studying of his own Wednesday.
Turns out he’s every bit the student Zito is.
Posey drove in three runs with a triple, double and single, and Zito continued his mastery of the Colorado Rockies with seven innings of shutout pitching as the Giants completed a series sweep with a 10-0 thrashing of their National League West rivals at AT&T Park.
Posey, who had just one extra-base hit in his first 24 at-bats of the season, roughed up Rockies starter Jeff Francis for an RBI triple in a two-run first inning and a run-scoring, ground-rule double in a five-run second as the Giants ran away early toward a third consecutive win.
“I’ve been out in front of pitches and swinging at bad pitches,” Posey said of his .208 start through eight games. “Today I wanted my focus to be on letting the ball travel and getting good pitches.”
Francis (1-1) obliged, leaving two fastballs over the plate for Posey to crush in the difference-making first two innings. The veteran left-hander took the loss, giving up seven runs in 1 2/3 innings.
Andres Torres also had three hits, including a double and a two-run single, for the Giants (6-3), who pounded out 16 hits against five Rockies pitchers less than 24 hours after putting up nine runs the night before. Torres, starting in left field in place of Gregor Blanco, had entered the game hitting .188 with no RBI.
“They’re starting to click on all cylinders,” Zito (2-0) said of the Giants’ offense, to which he contributed two hits, two runs scored, an RBI and a sacrifice bunt. “That’s great because they’re underestimated by a lot of people.”
The Rockies (5-4) arrived in San Francisco in first place in the National League West, riding a five-game winning streak.
Posey, the reigning NL Most Valuable Player, had one crack at hitting for the cycle, needing a home run in his at-bat against the fourth Rockies pitcher, Adam Ottavino, in the seventh. But he skied a routine fly to center field.
“I was aware of it,” he said of what would have been his first big-league cycle. “After a bit of chin music, it wasn’t the most comfortable at-bat. I just got ahead of it.”
In lowering his career ERA against the Rockies to 2.46 -- the third-best among active pitchers -- Zito scattered seven hits over seven innings, running his streak of consecutive scoreless innings to open the season to 14.
The win was Zito’s sixth straight against the Rockies and 11th in a row overall dating back to last season, a streak during which the Giants have won the last 16 times he has taken the hill.
“It starts with his preparation,” Posey said of Zito. “He’s got a great game plan going into every game, and he executes it. You put those two things together and you’re going to have success.”
Three of the Rockies’ hits off the left-hander were doubles -- one apiece by Eric Young Jr., Troy Tulowitzki and Michael Cuddyer -- but Zito allowed only two baserunners as far as third base. He struck out four and walked just one.
Zito admitted pitching with a big lead was not comforting.
“The mindset that it’s easier when you have a lead is what gets the game tied up quickly,” he professed. “You’ve still got to bear down on every batter. You start just throwing the ball over the plate and they’ll show you why they’re major-league hitters.”
Zito not only slapped two hits to left field -- “He’s going to have a shift soon probably,” Posey predicted -- but he also, for the first time in his career, tagged up and advanced on a flyball.
“That was fun,” he noted. “I thought I executed my slide pretty well.”
Javier Lopez and Chad Gaudin pitched one inning apiece to complete the shutout, the Giants’ third of the season.
Marco Scutaro, Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford all also had two-hit days for the Giants.
For the Rockies, manager Walt Weiss wanted his team leaving town and headed to San Diego with the big picture in mind.
“We try to look at series,” he said. “We won the first two series (against Milwaukee and San Diego) and we lost this one. If we go down to San Diego and win a series, we’ll be in a good place.”
The Giants wasted little time jumping on Francis, although Colorado shortstop Tulowitzki had to share in the responsibility.
After the slugger was called out on a 3-2 pitch to end the top of the first inning, Tulowitzki exhausted about half his between-innings warmup time spatting with home plate umpire Laz Diaz.
Wouldn’t you know it: The Giants’ first contact, by leadoff hitter Pagan, was a chopper to Tulowitzki’s right, and his looping throw pulled first baseman Jordan Pacheco well off the bag. It was ruled a hit.
Posey’s one-out triple to the deepest part of the ballpark in right-center scored Pagan, and with two outs, Joaquin Arias smacked a single to left that made it 2-0.
The hits kept on coming in the Giants’ second, although the Rockies again threw themselves into a rough inning. Francis contributed to his own demise, throwing high to third base trying to get Crawford on a Zito bunt.
Posey hit his second shot of the game three batters later, this one one-hopping the wall in center field for a ground-rule double that produced a run. Torres capped the five-run inning and ended Francis’ day with a bases-loaded, two-RBI single to center after a throwing error on Rockies third baseman Chris Nelson had kept the parade around the bases moving.
Posey’s third RBI hit, a line single to left, came as part of a two-run fifth that made it 9-0. Zito had a sliced single that scored Torres, who had doubled, earlier in the inning.
NOTES: Posey met Oklahoma City Thunder basketball star Kevin Durant before the game. “It’s humbling,” the catcher assured. “You don’t even know if they know who you are.” … The Giants have now won nine in a row against the Rockies dating back to last season, the longest current run in the majors. … Zito enjoyed the first multiple-hit game of his career. … The Rockies had hit at least one home run in each of their first eight games. … Arias made his second start of the season, this one at third base in place of Pablo Sandoval, who not only had been the Giants’ hottest hitter (.467 in his previous four games) but also sported a .444 career batting average against Francis. … The Rockies also opted to sit their most productive hitter, Dexter Fowler, in the day game following a night contest. The outfielder began the day second in the N.L. in total bases (25) behind Atlanta’s Justin Upton. He pinch hit in the eighth inning against Lopez and grounded to shortstop. … The Giants flew to Chicago immediately following the game and begin an all-daylight, four-game series Thursday. They’ll move on to Milwaukee to complete a seven-game trip. … The Rockies get Thursday off before seeing the Padres for the second time this season. Jon Garland, who beat the Padres 6-3 last Saturday in Colorado, opens the three-game series in San Diego with a rematch.