05/23/10 7:29 PM ET
Giambi ignites offensive outburst vs. Royals
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
Jason Giambi's three-run homer helped the Rockies build an early nine-run lead. But instead of coasting, the Rockies had to battle to an 11-7 victory over the Royals at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
- 134 wins
- 118 wins
Troy Tulowitzki added a solo shot -- his third homer in four games -- as the 11 runs tied a club record for most in a game this season. They had an 11-3 victory over the Mets on April 13 and a 12-11, 10-inning loss to the D-backs on April 28.
And it was necessary on Sunday, when starter Aaron Cook threw four scoreless innings but gave up four runs, while getting one out before being lifted in the fifth. The Rockies yielded a season-high 18-hits, including Willie Bloomquist's eighth-inning solo shot.
The Rockies ended a seven-game road trip 3-4 by taking 2-of-3 from the Royals. They beat two of the game's most highly regarded pitchers -- the Astros' Roy Oswalt and, on Sunday, the Royals' Zack Grienke (1-5).
Now the Rockies (22-22) hope to carry the good offensive feeling home. The Rockies and Brewers are tied for the fewest home games in baseball at 18, but the Rockies will return to Coors Field for a six-game series, against the D-backs starting Tuesday and the Dodgers starting Friday.
Not only will they be home, but they'll be there with good weather expected. The Rockies actually play in a dry climate, but they've had four weather postponements, including three in a four-day stretch earlier this month. Before this year, they'd had two May postponements since Coors Field opened in 1995.
"It's going to be great for us, especially offensively, to go up there loose, instead of fighting to get loose to swing the bat all the time," said Giambi, whose homer was his second of the year.
The Rockies loosened up against Greinke on Sunday. They bested him for nine hits and eight runs, seven earned, in 3 1/3 innings. For the defending American League Cy Young Award winner, it was his shortest outing since going three innings against the White Sox on July 18, 2008, and the first time he had given up seven earned runs since the White Sox scored seven on him in that game.
"Just not a lot of life on pitches and pitching in the thighs area of the strike zone and you just don't get away with pitches in that area," Greinke said.
Manager Jim Tracy theorized that the Rockies' aggressive approach met a slightly-off Greinke.
"It appeared to me he was not really locating strike one like he's capable of doing, because we had some early-count swings where we barreled the ball up and hit some balls in the gap," Tracy said.
Giambi, who waited for a changeup and launched it for the homer, had struggled as a pinch-hitter but hopes to have untracked himself by going 5-for-14 while serving as designated hitter for the three Interleague games against the Royals. He was 3-for-6 Sunday.
Tulowitzki, who went deep against Bryan Bullington in the sixth, has homered in three of the last four games. Ian Stewart had three hits, and Dexter Fowler went 2-for-5.
Fowler's RBI single in the Rockies' five-run fourth ended an 0-for-23 skid.
"I told them to save the ball for me," Fowler quipped.
No one saved the ball from the first Major League win for Esmil Rogers (1-2), who replaced Cook with one out and bases loaded in the fifth and gave up Chris Getz's run-scoring single, but escaped the inning by forcing Bloomquist into a double-play grounder. The Rockies' five double plays tied a club record last accomplished on Aug. 8, 2006, against the Dodgers.
Manuel Corpas, who threw a scoreless ninth, said he was unaware of the significance to Rogers and flipped the ball to a fan after the final out. But Rogers, who has been up-and-down in starter and relief roles, can hold onto the memory of stopping the damage with the double play.
"[Catcher Paul] Phillips told me, 'Let's go get a ground ball,'" Rogers said.
Cook was doing that until he walked David DeJesus and Billy Butler to open the fifth. Cook has 25 walks in 50 2/3 innings -- 4.44 per nine innings. The last two years he walked 2.31 per nine.
"I'm not making quality pitches all the time right now -- I'm missing and those guys are laying off," Cook said. "I'll try to take a positive from, take the first four innings and forget the fifth inning.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.