Home run helps Gi­ants win third straight game, sends Rockies to eighth con­sec­u­tive loss

Lodi News-Sentinel - - Front Page - By Gideon Ru­bin

SAN FRAN­CISCO — Jae-Gyun Hwang stepped out of his com­fort zone and into a beer shower.

The na­tive South Korean left be­hind lu­cra­tive con­tract of­fers to pur­sue a life­long dream of play­ing base­ball in the ma­jors.

Hwang home­red in his ma­jor league de­but, a tiebreak­ing drive in the sixth in­ning that led the San Fran­cisco Gi­ants over Colorado 5-3 on Wed­nes­day and ex­tended the Rockies’ los­ing streak to a sea­son-high eight games. And then af­ter the game, he got soaked. “There’s not such a thing in Korea, but I’ve got­ten to know there is such a thing, per­son­ally, just a few min­utes ago,” Hwang said through a trans­la­tor. “I was ac­tu­ally more sur­prised about how cold the beer was.”

A 29-year-old who starred for South Korea’s Lotte Gi­ants, Hwang was brought up from Triple-A Sacra­mento be­fore the game and in­serted into the start­ing lineup at third base, bat­ting fifth.

He grounded out in the sec­ond in­ning, hit a run-scor­ing grounder in the fourth that cut Colorado’s lead to 2-1, then broke a 3-3 tie when he home­red against Kyle Free­land (8-6). Hwang was given a stand­ing ova­tion from fans as he rounded the bases and was mobbed by team­mates when he got back to the dugout.

He took a called third strike in the eighth, com­plet­ing a 1-for-4 day.

“He plays with a lot of emo­tion, he’s got a lot of fire in him and that’s what you love about him,” Gi­ants man­ager Bruce Bochy said.

“He’s a clutch hit­ter, you look at what he’s done as far as his body of work in Korea and he’s been a big RBI guy, so those guys do have a way of step­ping up in the mo­ment.”

Ty Blach (5-5) gave up three runs — one earned — seven hits and three walks in 6 1/3 in­nings. Ge­orge Kon­tos, Steven Ok­ert and Hunter Stick­land com­bined for one-hit re­lief. Strick­land re­tired Ian Des­mond, his only bat­ter, on a fly­out for his first save this sea­son.

San Fran­cisco’s bullpen pitched 13 1/3 score­less in­nings dur­ing the three-game sweep. The Gi­ants en­tered the se­ries on a five-game skid and

with 12 losses in 13 games.

Free­land gave up four runs and seven hits in six in­nings.

“There are games where you go six in­nings and give up four runs and you’re cred­ited with the win,” Rockies man­ager Bud Black said. “We would say that, hey, he pitched well enough to win. This game, he just got out­pitched a lit­tle bit by their guy. That was the key.”

Nolan Are­nado’s two-run sin­gle put Colorado ahead in the first, but San Fran­cisco took a 3-2 lead in the fourth on Hwang’s grounder and Nick Hund­ley’s two-run homer.

A day af­ter he was called up from Triple-A Al­bu­querque, Mike Tauch­man sin­gled in the ty­ing run in the sixth, his first big league hit and RBI.

With the bases loaded in the eighth, Bran­don Belt hit a one-out, bases-loaded grounder that short­stop Trevor Story stopped with a dive. Story threw to sec­ond for a force­out, and sec­ond base­man Pat Valaika’s throw sailed over first as Gorkys Her­nan­dez scored. The Rockies ar­gued that Austin Slater’s slide in­ter­fered with Valaika’s throw, but um­pires up­held the clean slide af­ter a video re­view, and Belt went to sec­ond on the throw­ing er­ror.

Web gem — Are­nado made a div­ing play to his glove side to snag Blach’s third-in­ning grounder, then from a near-sit­ting po­si­tion spun and threw to first for the out.

Trainer’s room — Rockies: INF DJ LeMahieu did not play af­ter leav­ing Tues­day’s game in the fourth in­ning with a strained right groin. He had been the only player to ap­pear in each of the Rockies’ first 80 games . ... OF Car­los Gon­za­lez, out with a right shoul­der strain, took swings in the bat­ting cage. “From what I saw it’s not 100 per­cent with bat speed, but it’s with nice in­tent,” Black said. “He’s mak­ing some ag­gres­sive swings. He’s get­ting bet­ter.”

Gi­ants: The Gi­ants placed RHP Mark Me­lan­con on the 10-day DL for the sec­ond time this sea­son. Me­lan­con has a right prona­tor strain . ... The Gi­ants placed INF Conor Gil­laspie on the DL with back spasms . ... Dan Sla­nia was re­called from Dou­ble-A Rich­mond.


The San Fran­cisco Gi­ants' Jae-Gyun Hwang cel­e­brates as he crosses home plate af­ter his six­thin­ning home run against the Colorado Rockies on Wed­nes­day in San Fran­cisco.

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