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Giants, getting healthier, pursue sweep of Rockies

Right-hander Alex Cobb will hope for greater success against a pair of former American League rivals when he attempts to pitch the host San Francisco Giants to a three-game sweep over the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday afternoon.

The Giants have dominated both on the mound and at the plate in the first two games of the matchup of National League West clubs, running up 8-5 and 9-2 victories.

San Francisco starters Carlos Rodon and Alex Wood allowed a combined three runs (two earned) in 11 1/3 innings, each emerging with a win.

The Giants’ bats did the rest, amassing 11 hits on Monday and then 12 hits on Tuesday.

For the first time this season Tuesday, San Francisco manager Gabe Kapler was able to pencil LaMonte Wade Jr. and Brandon Belt (just back from the COVID injured list) into the first two spots in his lineup. The duo combined for three RBIs.

The Giants are still awaiting the return of Wilmer Flores (back) and Evan Longoria (finger) from injuries.

“It makes a big difference,” Kapler said of having Wade and Belt hit first and second, respectively. “Obviously it pushes other really good bats down the lineup and creates some real length.

“Whenever Wade and Belt are in the lineup at the same time, they both see pitches. They’re both selectively aggressive, certainly willing to keep the line moving. When you add Flo to that mix, with that nice right-handed bat, it makes it even deeper. And with Longoria not that far away, you can start to see that this offense has a chance to start coming together.”

Cobb (1-1, 4.80 ERA) hasn’t won since the first of his four starts this season, but he does own a win in his only career head-to-head with the Rockies. That occurred more than nine years ago — on May 5, 2013 — when he pitched the Tampa Bay Rays to an 8-3 win, allowing three runs in 6 2/3 innings.

Having spent his entire career in the AL before this season, the 34-year-old is quite familiar with a couple of Rockies imports. Randal Grichuk has bombed him to the tune of 8-for-14 with three doubles, a home run and five RBIs, while C.J. Cron has gone 5-for-16 with a double, three homers and five RBIs.

Cron was one of four Rockies with multiple hits in the Tuesday loss. Colorado’s big hitter thus far in the series has been Yonathan Daza, who followed up a two-run single on Monday with a single, a double and a triple in the rematch.

In an effort to give Colorado’s offense a shot at salvaging one win in the series, the Rockies will turn to Chad Kuhl (3-0, 1.82 ERA) in the finale.

The 29-year-old right-hander has allowed more than one run just once in his five starts, the most recent of which was a six-inning, three-hit, one-run outing at Arizona on Friday. He did not get a decision in the Rockies’ 4-1 loss to the Diamondbacks.

Kuhl has neither a win nor a loss in three career starts against the Giants, pitching to a 3.63 ERA. He allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings in a 6-4 Pittsburgh Pirates win at San Francisco last July in his only previous visit to Oracle Park.

Rockies manager Bud Black’s advice to Kuhl: Keep the walks (the Giants drew five in each of the first two games) to a minimum.

“We didn’t pitch great,” Black said after the Tuesday defeat. “You can’t give this team free passes. They’re tough. You can’t do that.”

–Field Level Media