DENVER — Madison Bumgarner believes in creating your own luck, but in one respect, he said Sunday, the San Francisco Giants have caught a tremendous break.
With a 5-2 win over the Colorado Rockies, the Giants snapped a six-game losing streak and picked up a game on the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks. The Giants began this 10-game trip three games out of first place, and after losing five of six to the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Rockies, they're still just three games out of first place.
"Nobody has really run away with it," Bumgarner said. "It's a close division, which makes it fun. We know we've got to be pretty happy with the spot we're in with the way we've played."
Bumgarner hasn't been part of the rough stretch, combining with Matt Cain this month to stabilize the rotation amid a host of other problems. Since giving up 12 combined earned runs in a June 1 doubleheader in St. Louis, the duo has been charged with just 15 earned runs in 10 starts.
The Giants wasted Cain's gem Saturday, but Bumgarner got plenty of help Sunday while giving up just one run in seven innings. Buster Posey's solo homer gave the Giants, who had led for just two of the previous 56 innings on this trip, an early lead. The Giants caught a break in the fifth inning, helping them score three more runs.
With Andres Torres on third and Tony Abreu on second, Posey hit a grounder to second. Abreu took off for third, where Torres remained, and it appeared Abreu would be caught up in a double play after Posey was thrown out at first. But Jordan Pacheco's throw back to second bounced into the outfield, allowing Torres to score and Abreu to reach third. Hunter Pence followed with a two-run homer that put the Giants up 4-0.
"We've been looking for a big hit for a while," Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "And it took some pressure off some of the guys."
Bumgarner kept the pressure on the Rockies, pounding the zone while improving to 4-1 over his past five starts.
"He's a spectacular talent," Bochy said. "It showed today."
Bumgarner said he didn't feel any added pressure to stop a season-high six-game losing streak, but after the team's first handshake line in over a week, he acknowledged that it was a big win for the Giants, who are 39-42 at the season's halfway point. It was just the 10th victory of the month for the Giants, but they lost just two games to first place in a division where four of the five teams are under .500.
All five teams are bunched within four games of each other, and the biggest threat might be the team in last place. With their lineup finally healthy and rookie Yasiel Puig providing a daily jolt, the Los Angeles Dodgers have won eight of nine to creep back into the race.
Posey was at first base for the second straight day because of what he described as "general tightness" in his legs.
"It's normal with a lot of catchers," Bochy said.
Bochy said the condition is not serious, but it's enough of a hindrance that Posey was moved to first base again, pushing Brandon Belt to the bench for a second straight day. Bochy said he talked to Belt on Sunday morning to explain the situation.
"I didn't want him to think he's on the bench against lefties, but Buster could use another day from behind the plate," Bochy said.
Belt said he would start taking fly balls in left field so the Giants would have another option on days when Posey needs to play first base. Belt started four games in left field last season.
The Rockies' Michael Cuddyer extended his franchise-record hitting streak to 27 games with a single in the eighth inning.