Kids come through on Mother's Day
Lewis hits for cycle, Frandsen gets four hits to back Cain
DENVER -- Fred Lewis earned himself more playing time Sunday, but probably not an everyday job. Daniel Ortmeier is not about to become the San Francisco Giants' No. 1 right fielder. And infielder Kevin Frandsen remains a backup.Still, when the Giants needed a breath of fresh air, these youthful players and others provided a gust that propelled San Francisco to a 15-2 rout of the Colorado Rockies that featured almost as many achievements as runs. Lewis hit for the cycle, becoming the first Giant to do so since Randy Winn on Aug. 15, 2005, at Cincinnati and the first San Francisco rookie to do it since Dave Kingman on April 16, 1972. Lewis also collected five hits, including his first Major League home run, making him the first Giant to amass that many since Pedro Feliz and Deivi Cruz on Aug. 16, 2005, at Cincinnati. Frandsen recorded career highs with four hits and three RBIs. Ortmeier went 2-for-5 with two RBIs in his first career multiple-hit, multi-RBI game. Reserve catcher Eliezer Alfonzo equaled a personal best with three hits. All of the aforementioned are 28 or younger. Thrust into the lineup to rest several Giants regulars, they ultimately provided so much more. Ending a grueling stretch of 20 consecutive games, it was understandable that young reserves would generate a spark that veterans might find difficult to summon at this juncture. Matt Cain noticed the difference. "Tons and tons of energy," said Cain, summarizing the atmosphere in which he ended his personal two-game losing streak with a strong six-inning effort. Shortstop Omar Vizquel noticed something else. Referring to first baseman Lance Niekro and outfielder Todd Linden, players in their 20s who recently were designated for assignment, Vizquel said that this group of aspiring Giants seem bent to avoid that fate. "All the young guys are improving and showing they want to belong here," Vizquel said. "I think they saw what happened to Linden and Niekro. They want to have the opportunity and take advantage of it. It's great to see kids come through like that." They weren't the only ones. Every starter -- including Cain, who blooped a fifth-inning RBI single -- hit safely as the Giants (19-18) amassed their highest run total since an 18-7 victory on Sept. 3, 2004, against Arizona. Their 22 hits represented the team's most since a 23-hit outburst here on July 2, 2002. This came one day after the Giants mustered two runs and four hits. Then again, the Rockies entered Sunday ranked last in the National League with a 4.84 ERA. "It's not like they have a bad pitching staff," Frandsen maintained. "That's baseball; it happens like that. It could happen to you." It didn't happen to the Giants, primarily because Cain (2-3) limited Colorado to 1-for-8 hitting with runners in scoring position. He sustained the momentum he established in his last start, when he allowed the Mets four runs in two innings before throwing five shutout innings. "Even though the last game didn't go the way I wanted it to, I threw a lot of strikes [72 in 104 pitches] and I wanted to carry that over into today," Cain said. A victim of poor offensive support through much of the season, Cain enjoyed an embarrassment of riches. Lewis doubled to open the game and was balked home by Rockies starter Taylor Buchholz (1-2) before the Giants roared for four runs in the fourth, three in the fifth, one in the sixth and six in the seventh. "We needed that. We've been struggling a little bit," said manager Bruce Bochy, whose Giants had lost four of their previous five games and 10 of 16. The struggles ended as Lewis, a left-handed batter who's likely to start against right-handed pitchers while Dave Roberts is sidelined, continued his hitting clinic. Lewis lofted a three-run homer in the fourth inning off Buchholz for his first Major League home run. Defying the percentages, Lewis, a left-handed batter, drove an RBI triple in the fifth inning off Rockies left-hander Tom Martin. Lewis finished his cycle in the seventh inning when he led off with a line-drive single to right on a 1-2 pitch from Denny Bautista. The Coors Field crowd responded with a warm ovation for Lewis, who became the franchise's 22nd player to hit for the cycle and the ninth in San Francisco history. It was only the 16th Major League game for Lewis, who received a September callup last season, and just his fourth start. Lewis, 26, wasn't certain when he batted in the seventh whether he had a chance at a singular achievement. "I didn't put a whole lot of emphasis on it," he said. "I wasn't sure if they counted the triple a triple, because I hesitated going around second. So I was going up there just to hit, because I didn't know for sure." Even after completing his accomplishment, Lewis struggled to fathom that he was in Triple-A with the Fresno Grizzlies only a few days ago. "That's amazing. It really is," he said. The only grumbling in an upbeat San Francisco clubhouse came from Steve Kline, who seethed as Colorado's Yorvit Torrealba took second base without the Giants trying to stop him in the ninth inning as the Rockies trailed, 15-1. Torrealba soon scored on pinch-hitter Chris Iannetta's single. "I'm a dumb hick and I forget a lot of things, but I won't forget that," said Kline, who considered Torrealba's move unnecessary. But even Kline couldn't ignore the day's prevailing theme. "It shows what youth can do for an older team," he said.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.