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SF@COL: Panda completes the cycle with a triple

DENVER -- This time, the run support came early and often for Ryan Vogelsong.

Pablo Sandoval became the first Giants player to hit for the cycle since 2007 and Vogelsong added to his stellar season with another strong outing, as the Giants hung on to beat the Rockies, 8-5, on Thursday night in front of 34,364 at Coors Field.

The victory was the fifth straight for the Giants, who cut the idle D-backs' lead in the National League West to seven games.

Sandoval homered in the first, singled in the second, doubled in the fifth and legged out a triple to complete the cycle -- in his first four at-bats -- in the sixth. He became the first Giant to hit for the cycle since Fred Lewis accomplished the feat on May 13, 2007, also at Coors Field.

Sandoval's triple was a scorched line drive that sailed just over the glove of right fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who crashed into the wall and fell to the ground. That gave Sandoval the time he needed to scamper to third base. The sprint left him winded, but he was too excited to worry about catching his breath.

"I was tired, but I was happy," said Sandoval, whose cycle was the 25th in Giants history. "It was my first time [hitting] a cycle in the big leagues, so I had to be happy. No matter what, if I'm tired, I'm still going to be happy."

Vogelsong had received just three runs of support over his last five outings entering Thursday's start, but the Giants wasted no time backing the right-hander on a cool, crisp night in the Mile High City.

Sandoval followed Carlos Beltran's two-out single in the first with a mammoth two-run home run -- his 20th of the season -- to right field.

"The homer was supposed to be in and down but it was in the middle and high," said Rockies starter Jhoulys Chacin, who was charged with seven runs (four earned) over 5 2/3 innings.

The Giants capitalized on a pair of Rockies errors for three unearned runs in the second. After Brandon Crawford walked and Vogelsong followed with his first of two singles, Cody Ross hit what appeared to be a double-play ball at shortstop Tommy Field. But Field -- a rookie replacing the injured Troy Tulowitzki (hip) -- sailed his throw to second baseman Mark Ellis into right field, allowing Crawford to score.

Jeff Keppinger drove in the second run of the frame with a sacrifice fly to center, and Ross scored when rookie first baseman Jordan Pacheco committed an error on a Beltran ground ball.

The Giants added a pair of runs in the sixth, highlighted by Ross' RBI double. Sandoval capped his big night by belting a pitch from Chacin off the right-field wall. As the ball caromed toward center field, Sandoval churned his way around second and slid headfirst into third, inciting a raucous cheer from the Giants dugout.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he playfully rubbed Sandoval's legs after his double in the fifth, telling the third baseman, "I've got to get these things lose for a triple. ... Sure enough, he hit the perfect ball."

For his part, Sandoval said a triple was the furthest thing from his mind.

"I didn't even think about it; I swear," Sandoval said. "They told me you need a triple for the cycle, but I said, 'You know what, I was just going to have a great at-bat.' That's what I was looking for."

Vogelsong allowed two runs on four hits over 5 1/3 innings, while striking out eight against four walks. He limited damage in the third by getting Ty Wigginton to hit into a bases-loaded double play. The win snapped a string of five straight losing decisions for Vogelsong, though that streak would have likely never been as long if he had been receiving the type of support he was afforded on Thursday.

"We swung the bats great tonight, especially early," Vogelsong said. "It was great to jump on top like that. It definitely takes some of the pressure off."

The Rockies rallied for three runs in the seventh off Steve Edlefsen, keyed by Chris Iannetta's leadoff home run, cutting the deficit to two runs. But Brandon Belt hit a solo shot in the ninth and the Giants bullpen closed the door to preserve the victory.

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