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Pence's big night not enough as Giants lose

Wednesday - 9/11/2013, 3:32am  ET

San Francisco Giants' Hunter Pence swings for a three-run home run off Colorado Rockies' Jorge De La Rosa in the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

JANIE McCAULEY
AP Baseball Writer

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Hunter Pence joked with Giants third base coach Tim Flannery before Tuesday night's game that perhaps he was due for a big hit or two.

Or three. Or four.

Problem was, Michael Cuddyer had two of his own -- and they both cleared the fence as the Colorado Rockies rallied for a 9-8 win against San Francisco.

Pence hit a three-run homer in the first inning, an RBI double in the fourth and a tying, two-run single in the eighth against winner Wilton Lopez (3-4). Then Cuddyer came through with his second home run of the game in the top of the ninth.

"Yesterday I felt great and didn't get any hits," Pence said. "I felt terrible before the game and told Flannery maybe I'm due for some hits. It worked out."

Pence's 20th home run was a high drive to left that hit the foul pole and ricocheted into the stands. He has six straight 20-homer seasons.

He also has 21 stolen bases for his first 20-20 season.

"Hard to say," he said when asked about the accomplishment. "My goal at the beginning of the season was to play every day as hard as I can. I am grateful this is part of the process."

Cuddyer couldn't remember ever putting a ball in play against Sergio Romo until Tuesday night. The slugger was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts against Romo.

This time, Cuddyer worked the count and hit a tiebreaking homer leading off the ninth to go with his three-run shot earlier in the game.

"I don't usually sniff Romo," Cuddyer said.

Cuddyer sent a full-count pitch from Romo into the left-center seats for his 20th homer of the season, 10th career multihomer game and second this year. He also connected in Colorado's five-run fifth to spark the comeback.

Pence also drove in six runs on Aug. 12, 2009, at Florida with Houston.

"It's hard not to be a fan of Hunter," teammate Buster Posey said. "He gives 100 percent every day from the time he gets here to the time he leaves. He's the hard-working player I've seen and you're seeing the results."

Romo (4-7) gave up Cuddyer's go-ahead homer, though much of the sellout crowd of 41,171 was already long gone by the late innings. The game ended at 11:17 p.m. after 4 hours, 2 minutes.

Rex Brothers finished for his 16th save in 18 chances to end the longest nine-inning game of the season for each club.

"It's tough to lose a game like this," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "You're up 6-0, but the pitching couldn't hold it. Pence tried to carry us. He had quite a night. We just couldn't hold them."

Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa left early as a precaution with left thumb soreness as well as tender index and middle fingers. He was denied a chance to move into a share of the NL lead for wins with Washington's Jordan Zimmermann, who beat the Mets earlier in the evening.

Ryan Vogelsong has one win in seven outings since returning Aug. 9 from a broken bone in his pitching hand that sidelined him for 2½ months. He failed to strike out a batter for the third time in 108 career starts -- and first time since Sept. 29, 2004, at Philadelphia with the Pirates.

"I don't have a good answer right now," Vogelsong said. "The curve Cuddyer hit for the home run was no good but I don't think the others were that bad. I don't have a good explanation. Yeah, it's frustrating. I'm not putting together a full game."

It was the Rockies' turn to rally a night after losing in 10 innings.

D.J. LeMahieu had an RBI single in the fifth to extend his career-best hitting streak to 12 games, and Corey Dickerson also singled in a run that inning ahead of Cuddyer's homer.

"Neither team wanted to relinquish that game," Cuddyer said. "It was fun to see."

NOTES: Pence became the first Giants player with a 20-20 season since Barry Bonds (37 HRs, 28 SBs) in 1998 and seventh overall. ... Bochy greeted Rockies 1B Todd Helton near the batting cage before the game and wished him "good luck" ahead of his expected retirement. "I've always appreciated how he plays the game," Bochy said. ... San Francisco LHP Jeremy Affeldt, out since July 21 with a strained left groin, is scheduled to be activated from the DL on Wednesday. RHP Chad Gaudin, meanwhile, will likely face hitters once more Thursday in Los Angeles before returning from carpal tunnel syndrome. ... RHP Yusmeiro Petit (3-0) pitches Wednesday afternoon's series finale for the Giants after coming within one out of a perfect game Friday night against Arizona.


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