San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner delivers a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 2, 2017 at Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Art Foxall/UPI | License Photo
DENVER -- The surging San Francisco Giants open a three-game series Monday at Coors Field, where they have fared poorly. But ace left-hander Madison Bumgarner, who is in vintage form, will start against the Colorado Rockies in a sequel of sorts.
Bumgarner (1-2, 2.51 ERA) and Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland (7-6, 3.29 ERA), who has been the Rockies' best starter, opposed each other Wednesday at AT&T Park. Both starters pitched seven scoreless innings before the Giants won 1-0 on Brandon Crawford's walk-off homer.
The Giants have lost 12 of their past 14 games at Coors Field. But they began their current road trip by sweeping three games at Arizona -- their first sweep at Chase Field since September 2016 -- giving the Giants (45-40) 10 wins in their past 12 games.
The Giants are 19-26 on the road, which is the second-worst road record in the National League. But they have won eight of their past 14 road games.
The Giants are tied for second in the NL West with the Los Angeles Dodgers, 2 1/2 games behind the Diamondbacks. That is the closest the Giants have been to first place since June 10, when they were also 2 1/2 games behind.
The Giants got strong starts from Andrew Suarez and Dereck Rodriguez while beating the Diamondbacks 2-1 and 7-0 and overcame a poor start by Derek Holland to win the series finale, 9-6.
"These are big games for us, for sure," Giants catcher Buster Posey said after Saturday's win. "I think we all collectively know we've got to play better on the road. ... We go to Denver, where we haven't played well the past couple of years. It's a matter of keeping our focus and executing."
Bumgarner's execution has been uncommonly good lately.
He has a string of 16 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to June 16 against the Dodgers at Los Angeles. He then worked eight scoreless innings June 21 against San Diego and limited the Rockies to two hits Wednesday in seven innings.
That gave Bumgarner back-to-back scoreless outings of at least seven innings for the first time in his career. In 27 starts in his career, Bumgarner is 12-7 with a 2.92 ERA against the Rockies.
At Coors Field, he is 5-5 with an ERA of 4.00 in 13 starts. He hasn't pitched in Colorado since 2016.
This is the second season in the majors for Freeland, who is 4-2 with an ERA of 2.61 in seven starts against the Giants. He's 2-0 in three starts against them this year.
Freeland has allowed three or fewer runs in 11 starts and four runs in the other. In six starts at Coors Field this year, Freeland is 4-2 with a 2.95 ERA.
Freeland held the Giants to four singles Wednesday, and registered 12 ground-ball outs.
Bumgarner gave up a single and a double, allowed one runner to reach third base and struck out eight (six swinging). Freeland threw 104 pitches, 67 for strikes. Bumgarner finished with 101 pitches, 66 strikes.
"It was a great matchup between two lefties, one just starting his career and getting his feet on the ground, and Bumgarner obviously we know what he's done in his career," Rockies manager Bud Black said. "It was impressive from Kyle in terms of the changeup usage, keeping the ball down, enough inside to keep the righties honest, changing speeds, sinking the ball."
The Rockies (41-43) dropped two of three at San Francisco but then won two of three at Los Angeles, ending a 3-3 road trip with a 6-4 loss Sunday that kept them six games behind Arizona.
The Rockies are 26-21 on the road, but their 15-22 home record is the second-worst in the NL.