(Sports Network) - The Colorado Rockies are desperately trying to make it back to the postseason for a second consecutive year. They may have to settle for spoiling the playoff hopes of the San Francisco Giants.
After falling out of first place in the crowded National League West with Saturday's loss to the Rockies, the Giants will attempt to bounce back in today's finale of this pivotal three-game series between divisional foes from Coors Field.
Colorado bumped San Francisco from the West's top spot and stayed alive in the race with a hard-earned extra-inning victory last night, with MVP candidate Troy Tulowitzki's one-out double in the bottom of the 10th providing the winning margin in a 10-9 thriller.
With San Diego defeating Cincinnati on Saturday, the Padres now own a half- game edge on the Giants for first place. San Francisco also enters today's play tied with Atlanta for the lead in the NL Wild Card standings, with the Rockies 3 1/2 games off the pace with only eight left to play.
Colorado had hurt its playoff chances with an ill-timed five-game losing streak that included a 2-1 setback to the Giants in Friday's opener, but showed plenty of fight in rallying from a three-run deficit to prevail last night.
San Francisco had taken a 9-6 lead after erupting for five runs in the top of the sixth, but the Rockies scratched home a run in the bottom of the frame before tying things on Tulowitzki's clutch two-run double off Giants closerBrian Wilson in the eighth.
Wilson (3-3) was still on the mound when Carlos Gonzalez singled with one out in the 10th and Tulowitzki capped his big night with a double in the left- field gap to bring home the winning run. The standout shortstop ended the game 4-for-5 with a homer and five RBI.
"It was huge cause our backs are really against the wall," said Tulowitzki of the win. "It's the closest thing we've had to a must-win game all season. To come back and win this way is huge for our confidence."
Gonzalez had a productive game as well, finishing 3-for-6 with an RBI and three runs scored. Melvin Moracontributed a two-run single for Colorado, which improved to 52-25 at Coors Field this season.
Cody Ross belted a three-run homer, one of four long balls on the night for San Francisco. Aubrey Huff added a solo shot as part of a 4-for-5 performance at the plate, with Andres Torres and Freddy Sanchez also going deep in the loss.
Prior to Saturday's defeat, Giants pitchers had allowed three runs or less in 18 straight games, the third-longest streak in major league history.
Matt Cain had a lot to do with that impressive sequence, and the tough right- hander will toe the rubber this afternoon seeking to add to his stretch of consecutive scoreless innings. He hasn't surrendered a run in 18 straight frames spanning his last three starts.
More importantly, San Francisco has won in each of Cain's last six assignments, and the 2009 NL All-Star is 3-0 over that period. He could have had another win after firing six shutout innings of two-hit ball last Tuesday in Chicago, but was removed for a pinch-hitter with the game still scoreless.
Prior to that no-decision, Cain permitted just three runs and no walks in seven shutout frames to best the rivalLos Angeles Dodgers on September 15.
Cain has been a problem for the Rockies as well this season, having amassed a 2-0 record with an excellent 1.57 ERA in three previous 2010 encounters with Colorado. In a July 4 matchup at Coors Field, the former first-round pick gave up three runs and fanned six in a seven-inning no-decision.
For his career, Cain is 10-6 with a 3.01 ERA in 21 starts against Colorado and owns a 3-2 record with a 3.64 ERA over eight visits to Denver.
While Cain has put up good lifetime numbers against Colorado, the Rockies' Jorge De La Rosa has been sensational when facing the Giants during his career. The left-hander takes the mound today sporting a 6-0 record and a 2.01 ERA in eight overall starts versus San Francisco, and pitched extremely well in a non-verdict against the Giants back on August 30.
In that game, De La Rosa held San Francisco to one run on four hits and racked up nine strikeouts before exiting with his team trailing 1-0 after seven innings.
The Mexican native won his next three starts following that tough-luck no- decision before taking a loss at Arizona this past Tuesday. De La Rosa allowed just three runs in seven innings against the Diamondbacks, but received little offensive support in a 3-1 setback.
Colorado has won nine of the 17 meetings in this year's season series, which concludes today. The Giants have lost five of the eight games played between the teams at Coors Field in 2010 and are just 4-10 in their last 14 trips to Denver.