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COL@SF: Scutaro smashes huge go-ahead homer in ninth

SAN FRANCISCO -- Country music filled the Colorado clubhouse Tuesday night as the foreign feeling of winning returned to the team.

After watching a three-run lead evaporate late and the crowd come alive, Marco Scutaro hit a pinch-hit, game-winning home run in the top of the ninth to send the Rockies to a 5-4 victory over the Giants.

The veteran infielder was held out of the starting lineup for a routine day off, but he ended up playing the hero. Scutaro reacted on a 1-2 fastball from Santiago Casilla and snuck it over the fence in left field, before pumping his fist as he rounded first base.

It felt good to hit his first home run in a Rockies uniform, but Scutaro said it felt even better to put his team back in the win column, as it entered Tuesday's contest having lost nine of its previous 10.

"Losing is no fun, man," Scutaro said.

Complete with some late-inning controversy and drama, the National League West affair also featured the successful returns of Troy Tulowitzki and Jeremy Guthrie. Tulowitzki went 2-for-4 with an RBI as he shook off a left knee injury he suffered Monday, while Guthrie was effective in his first start since April 22.

The veteran right-hander, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list after a shoulder injury from a bicycle accident, went 5 1/3 innings, giving up an unearned run on four hits and four walks while striking out four.

"It was difficult being hurt the way I was and missing all my starts like that," Guthrie said. "It's certainly good to be back and help the team win and end the trip on a positive note as we try to get some momentum going back to our place."

Guthrie threw 90 pitches, 50 for strikes, and said he felt fine physically despite feeling a bit "rusty" to start the game. After issuing two walks to begin the contest, Guthrie settled down and eventually left the game with a 3-1 lead, with the only run he allowed coming via a Brandon Belt sacrifice fly.

"I just didn't have much of a feel to start the game," Guthrie said. "I was trying not to overthrow it, trying not to underthrow it. I just couldn't locate my fastball, but then I got more comfortable."

As Guthrie worked his way through the Giants' lineup, his teammates were busy chipping away at Giants righty Tim Lincecum. Using seven hits and four walks, the Rockies pushed across four runs against Lincecum. Tulowitzki's RBI single tied things up at 1 in the fourth before the Rockies added two in the sixth and another in the seventh.

But the 4-1 lead would soon be erased by the Giants, who have made a habit of providing their fans with dramatic victories this season at AT&T Park. Melky Cabrera delivered a two-run double before scoring on an Angel Pagan single later in the seventh inning, making it a 4-4 game in a matter of minutes.

The Giants threatened to take the lead again the eighth inning, loading the bases with one out, but Rex Brothers was able to shut the door on San Francisco, striking out Belt and Cabrera to kill the threat.

"He threw the best pitches that he's thrown to date this year in the sequences to Belt and Cabrera," Colorado manager Jim Tracy said. "He hasn't thrown the ball with more authority and more aggressively and better than that at any time this year. That's the guy we're looking for."

Then came the ninth inning and with it came some more late-inning drama.

Rafael Betancourt ultimately got the save -- his seventh of the year and first since April 25 -- but he had to earn it. Pagan reached first on an RBI single and stole second during Brandon Crawford's two-out at-bat, sliding just under the tag. Catcher Ramon Hernandez, who threw the would-be final out to second base, threw up his hands in disgust at the call and Tulowitzki tried to argue with umpire Dana Demuth, but to no avail.

After Crawford drew a walk, Betancourt finally put the Giants to bed by striking out pinch-hitter Nate Schierholtz. It could even be argued that Betancourt struck him out twice: TV replays showed Schierholtz committing on a two-strike swing that could have ended the game, but third-base umpire Kerwin Danley said Schierholtz didn't go around.

Finally, Betancourt froze Schierholtz with a fastball down the middle to end the game. With the way his team has struggled in recent weeks, Tracy said he would have been livid had his team lost on a bad break like a check-swing call.

"I don't want to dwell on it too much ... but I don't know how I'd be sitting here with you guys right now," Tracy said.

Luckily for Tracy and his troops, they head back to Colorado for a five-game homestand as winners. Though his team dropped six of eight contests on the NL West road swing, Tracy said he was trying to stay optimistic for the future.

"We did a very good job of winning this ballgame," Tracy said. "It took some character, which I think this team has a lot of."

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