SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Lance Niekro broke out of a slump with a tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth inning, and the San Francisco Giants snapped a four-game losing streak with a 6-4 win over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.

The Giants showed some late-inning energy not exhibited from this downtrodden club in recent days, rallying for five runs on seven straight hits in the eighth to keep Colorado from its first three-game sweep in San Francisco.

After pinch-hitter Deivi Cruz flied out to start the eighth, the Giants broke loose. Dan Miceli failed to field Michael Tucker’s infield single, looking in all directions in the air before discovering the ball on the ground near his foot.

San Francisco tied it on Ray Durham’s RBI single off Miceli (1-2) following a two-run single by Pedro Feliz. Niekro’s hit ended an 0-for-13 slump.

Scott Munter (2-0) pitched the eighth for the win and Tyler Walker got his 19th save in 24 opportunities.

J.D. Closser homered and Garrett Atkins hit a two-run double for the Rockies, who won the first two games of the series each by one run and earned back-to-back road victories for the first time this year. Colorado hasn’t swept a three-game road series since July 23-25 last year in Arizona.

The bullpen blew it for starter Jose Acevedo, who pitched six strong innings for the third straight start and retired 11 of his final 12 batters.

Closser hit his seventh homer leading off the seventh. Atkins staked Acevedo to an early lead with his double in the first.

Feliz hit a sacrifice fly in the first for the Giants, but they couldn’t muster much more until he hit a bases-loaded, two-run single in the eighth. Randy Winn tripled in the first and doubled in the third, but the Giants left runners on second and third that inning.

Giants manager Felipe Alou considers the next week or so to be a critical period for his team to either stay in the division chase or fall out altogether. San Francisco plays the surging Astros this weekend – and has to face Houston’s top three pitchers: Andy Pettitte, Roy Oswalt and Roger Clemens.

Kevin Correia struck out a career-high six in six innings for the Giants, allowing five hits and two earned runs. The 24-year-old right-hander started in place of struggling veteran Kirk Rueter, who was sent to the bullpen for the second time this season.

Colorado has exhibited impressive energy considering the club is in a stretch with 34 games in 34 days to start the second half. After a weekend series in Arizona, the Rockies return to Coors Field for a franchise-record 14-game homestand.

Giants outfielder Moises Alou missed his second straight game and probably won’t play until Saturday at the earliest because of a tight right hamstring.

Notes: Winn was a home run shy of the cycle. … The Giants activated C Mike Matheny from the bereavement list after missing two games because of the death of his grandfather. … Colorado’s Dustan Mohr started in CF as manager Clint Hurdle gave the struggling Cory Sullivan a day to rest – and it might not be the only one. “He says he feels fine,” Hurdle said. “We’ll monitor it. He’s going to get some rest.” Hurdle also plans to use new OF Larry Bigbie in center sometime soon. … Injured Giants closer Armando Benitez, recovering from surgery to reattach two torn hamstring tendons to his pelvis, was scheduled to make his second rehab start for Class-A San Jose.

AP-ES-08-04-05 1832EDT


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