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09/26/10 2:10 AM ET

Extras setback drops Giants into second

DENVER -- This wasn't a ballgame. This was a fight that left the Giants bloodied but unbowed, aware that more confrontations remain.

The Giants must keep scrapping because they fell to second place in the National League West on Saturday night with a 10-9, 10-inning loss to the Colorado Rockies. San Francisco dropped a half-game behind the San Diego Padres in the division race and settled into a tie with Atlanta atop the NL Wild Card standings.

Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki doubled to snap a 9-9 tie in the 10th, after Carlos Gonzalez singled with one out off Giants relief ace Brian Wilson (3-3). It was Tulowitzki's fifth RBI of the game.

Tulowitzki hit a line drive that barely eluded shortstop Juan Uribe, but the ball was hit so hard that it nearly darted past left fielder Pat Burrell. Burrell slid to cut off the ball and relayed it to Uribe. But Gonzalez easily beat Uribe's throw home.

Asked by a reporter if he "tipped his cap" to Tulowitzki, who has 15 home runs and 40 RBIs in September, Wilson (3-3) declined to take refuge in that well-worn cliche.

"I don't tip my cap," said Wilson, who also absorbed his fifth blown save by yielding Tulowitzki's two-run double in the eighth inning that tied the score 9-9. "They beat us. That's fine. We're 1-1 in the series right now. Tomorrow is the deciding factor."

The Giants' streak of 18 games in which they limited opponents to three runs or fewer -- the longest in the Major Leagues since 1917 -- evaporated during the Rockies' four-run fifth inning that gave them a 6-4 lead. But that was a minor issue.

The health of center fielder Andres Torres and second baseman Freddy Sanchez were more pressing concerns for the Giants, who return home after Sunday's series finale to face Arizona and San Diego for three games apiece.

Starting his first game since undergoing a Sept. 12 appendectomy, Torres displayed the qualities the Giants missed. He belted a leadoff homer in the third inning to tie the score, 2-2, then made an artful running catch of Chris Iannetta's drive to right-center field in the fourth inning. But Torres left the game after that inning for precautionary reasons, having felt a stretching sensation in his left side as he reached for the ball.

"There's still scar tissue there," said Torres, who believed that he can play Sunday. "I just want to make sure I didn't hurt it worse."

Sanchez, batting .389 in his last 27 games, sustained a mild strain in his right shoulder as he turned a sixth-inning double play and left the game two innings later. Bochy said that Sanchez will be evaluated on Sunday.

The physical attrition fit the nature of the game, which was typical of Coors Field. The teams combined to amass 32 hits and use 13 relievers. They also exchanged the lead four times in the first six innings.

"There are so many games like that here," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "No lead is safe."

But the Giants might have put a little more comfortable distance between themselves and Colorado had it not been for Gonzalez's lunging catch of Buster Posey's line drive to right-center field in the sixth inning. The Giants scored five runs in that inning, three on Cody Ross' home run, to vault ahead, 9-6. But with four runs already in, runners on first and second and nobody out, Posey's drive might have generated a more fruitful rally if Gonzalez hadn't snared it.

"I guess as quick as he was closing in on it, I thought he might have a shot at it," Posey said. "That was a huge, huge play in the game. It's more likely both runs would have scored and I'm on second or third with [none] out."

San Francisco's bullpen, which had allowed two earned runs in 51 innings spanning September's first 21 games, finally faltered in the eighth as it failed to protect a 9-7 lead.

Pinch-hitter Dexter Fowler led off with a single against Jeremy Affeldt. Sergio Romo replaced Affeldt and struck out Jonathan Herrera, but with left-handed pinch-hitter Jason Giambi due up, Bochy opted for lefty specialist Javier Lopez. Lopez broke even, surrendering a single to Giambi before striking out Gonzalez.

Bochy summoned Wilson, who had converted nine of 10 save opportunities of four outs or more this season. Make that nine of 11. Tulowitzki doubled off the right-field wall on a 1-1 fastball, scoring Fowler and pinch-runner Clint Barmes.

That blow fed Tulowitzki's confidence when he faced Wilson in the 10th.

"Anytime you have success off a guy your first at-bat, you like your chances the next at-bat," Tulowitzki said. "I thought he was going to stay away from his fastball because I barreled it up. I was thinking he was going to go slider-cutter and that's what he did. The whole at-bat, it was cutters. It was a decent pitch. It started in and came at me, but I put a good swing on it."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.