Though they had Marco Scutaro only for a brief time, the Colorado Rockies might regret sending him to the San Francisco Giants.
Scutaro has ripped apart Colorado pitching since that trade - as have many of his teammates while the Giants have dominated this NL West rivalry - and he's on a roll going into a four-game set at Coors Field starting Thursday night.
Despite suffering a two-game sweep in Toronto this week, San Francisco (23-17) has won nine of 14 while Scutaro has hit .482 with 13 runs scored. He's hit safely in all of those games, though his streak of multihit games ended at seven in Wednesday's 11-3 loss.
Scutaro joined Colorado for 2012 but was traded to San Francisco in July for infielder Charlie Culberson. While Culberson remains in the Rockies' farm system, Scutaro's .315 average leads the Giants after he hit .362 for them last season before winning the NL championship series MVP and a World Series ring.
San Francisco is 14-2 against the Rockies since acquiring Scutaro, and he's hit .418 with 13 RBIs in that span. He's 12 for 27 with seven RBIs in six games back at Coors.
The Giants' current nine-game winning streak over Colorado (21-19) is their longest in the 20-year history of this series. They've averaged 7.1 runs during that run while batting .355.
"They're a real good situational at-bat team," manager Walt Weiss told the Rockies' official website. "They don't expand the zone to help out the pitcher to let the pitcher off the hook. The pitcher is constantly having to earn every out they get against that club. That's how they ended up winning the championship last year."
Scutaro was 6 for 11 in these teams' lone series this season April 8-10. The Giants totaled 23 runs as Hunter Pence had five RBIs, giving him 17 in 16 games against Colorado in a San Francisco uniform.
Buster Posey has torched the Rockies since the arrival of Scutaro and Pence, batting .491 with five homers and 18 RBIs in 15 games. Pablo Sandoval has hit .377 with eight homers and 20 RBIs in 19 matchups with Colorado since the start of 2011.
The Rockies have lost 24 of 29 against San Francisco and have not won any of the previous 10 series.
"I feel like ever since I've been in the big leagues, every game we've played the Giants we've been in it, but they always seem to find that key moment," outfielder Eric Young said.
Matt Cain (2-2, 5.04 ERA) is looking to beat the Rockies for a fifth straight time. He's 7-1 with a 2.79 ERA in his last 10 starts against them.
The right-hander didn't face Colorado last month, when he was 0-2 with a 6.49 ERA in six starts. He's bounced back to win both of his outings in May, yielding three runs and eight hits in 15 1-3 innings.
Colorado's 1-2-3 hitters of Young, Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez have batted a combined .134 (9 for 67) against Cain.
That trio went hitless Wednesday in a 6-3 road loss to the Chicago Cubs, the Rockies' sixth defeat in eight games.
Jhoulys Chacin (3-2, 2.70) is looking to avoid a third loss in as many starts following a stint on the disabled list. He's allowed eight runs and 16 hits in 12 innings since returning, compared to 3-0 with a 1.46 ERA before straining his back.
Colorado has lost his last five starts against the Giants as Chacin has gone 0-3 with a 5.26 ERA. During that span, Sandoval is 7 for 12 against the right-hander with two homers.
Sandoval failed to homer in a fourth straight game Wednesday, when the Giants gave up five first-inning runs after allowing six in Tuesday's 10-6 defeat.
"I can't think back to when we had two games, identical games, where we made mistakes there in the first inning," manager Bruce Bochy said. "... It's hard to explain. But it happened and now we've got to move on."
The Associated Press News Service
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