DENVER – When traffic filled the bases, Aaron Cook’s sinker was superb as the pitch dipped and dropped to bail him out of trouble.
Cook relied heavily on his trademark pitch to win his seventh straight decision Sunday, leading the Colorado Rockies to a 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Cook gave up nine hits in seven innings, yet always seemed to wiggle off the hook as he allowed just two runs.
“It’s not the end of the world if somebody’s on,” Cook said with a shrug. “I really don’t worry about guys on base. Once they’re on, what am I going to do?”
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Let his defense go to work.
The Giants rolled into 16 groundouts, including a double play in the fourth that thwarted a potential rally.
Cook (10-3) has now forced 17 double plays this season, which ranks among the NL leaders.
“He’s got one of the best (sinkers) in the game and good command of it,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “When you’re facing a guy like Cook, you know you have your work cut out.”
For a series in July, this almost had a playoff vibe to it. And by taking two of three, the Rockies increased their NL wild-card lead to two games over the Giants.
Sure, there’s still a lot of games left. But Rockies manager Jim Tracy said this was vital for momentum as the team heads out on a 10-game road trip.
“We leave here feeling very good about ourselves,” Tracy said.
The Giants, meanwhile, return home with a sinking feeling. Asked to describe the team’s 3-7 road swing, Travis Ishikawa simply said, “Awful.”
San Francisco had Cook on the ropes a couple of times, but couldn’t deliver the clutch hit.
For that Cook can thank his diving sinker.
It helped him work out of trouble in the fourth after Pablo Sandoval and Ishikawa led off with singles. Cook enticed Edgar Renteria into a 4-6-3 double play. Then Clint Barmes helped Cook out by diving for John Bowker’s grounder between first and second, popping up to a knee and throwing John Bowker out by a stride.