Rockies' offense erupts against Giants
Surge with bats led by Barmes' four-hit, three-RBI night
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Rockies could have used a performance like Wednesday night's a month ago. Several of them would have been nice.
The 15-6 victory over the Giants at AT&T Park, which featured four hits, including a home run and four RBIs, from Clint Barmes did little more than make it difficult for the Rockies to fall out of third place in the National League West.
But the Rockies, winners of six of their last nine, don't have the playoffs to shoot for, so they'll take what they can get. They scored more runs in any of their road games this year and finished one run shy of the club record, accomplished on Aug. 3, 2003 at Pittsburgh.
Garrett Atkins hit his 21st homer of the season, for three runs in the fifth, and Jeff Baker added a solo shot, his 12th of the year. Chris Iannetta's two-run double in the first inning gave him 65 RBIs for the season and let him surpass Brent Mayne's club record for a Rockies catcher, 64 in 2000. Pitcher Livan Hernandez (13-11), who also had two hits on a night the Rockies had 18 hits, gave up 12 hits, but just five runs in seven innings.
"It never means nothing to have a good game," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.
Barmes, who hit a second-inning solo shot and a two-run double against Giants starter Jonathan Sanchez (9-12), is playing as if every game is a chance to solidify future playing time. That's a prudent position, with the Rockies possibly looking to add a second baseman.
Because rookie Jayson Nix couldn't hold the second base job he was handed on Opening Day and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki suffered an injury in April, Barmes received regular playing time at both positions. All Barmes has done is hit .294. Wednesday night was his fourth four-hit game of the season.
Also, Barmes moved into the leadoff spot when the Rockies learned before the game that center fielder Willy Taveras' season was over because of a stress fracture in his right tibia. Barmes has done better in other slots than leadoff, but nights like Wednesday demonstrate why Hurdle doesn't mind putting him at the top of his lineup card.
"It was an easy move to make because he's handled that spot well every time he's been up there," Hurdle said. "You like having a barrel to your bat up there. He's been in a good place offensively."
Barmes doesn't mind being versatile as long as it gets him on the field, rather than delegate him to a bench role.
"I'd love to be an everyday guy," Barmes said. "I've been an everyday guy [in the Majors and the Minors] up until this year. I'm blessed to be able to move around and play other positions, and I believe I can play them well and I enjoy them. But anyone in here that's a competitor would say that he'd want to be in the lineup every day."
Iannetta, hitting .271 with a .395 on-base percentage, has been a bright spot in a rough offensive season for the Rockies, who possess a lineup of strong hitters, but have had tough-to-explain difficulties scoring.
Iannetta began the year sharing playing time with Yorvit Torrealba, but has been receiving the greater share when he turned hot as Torrealba struggled. The fact he established a club mark even though he wasn't the starter the entire season is notable. But Iannetta was unaware he was going into the club record book.
"I didn't even know about it until 'Ace' [hitting coach Alan Cockrell] told me," Iannetta said. "I had no clue. I don't really pay attention. When I get to the offseason, I'll look back and say it's really cool."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.