With an early tussle atop the National League West standings underway, the Rockies and Giants will meet once more Sunday after a wild finish to Saturday's game set up a rubber match at AT&T Park.
The Rockies had claimed a shutout victory in the opener, and then Angel Pagan put a finishing flourish on the second game with a walk-off, inside-the-park homer in the 10th inning Saturday. With the two teams battling with Arizona for the early NL West lead, a series finale with some significance is on tap.
On Sunday, Giants ace Matt Cain, beginning to emerge from a sputtering start to the season, will be on the mound for the Giants, and the Rockies will send right-hander Jon Garland to the mound as they try to make it a winning weekend on the road.
It certainly started out that way for Colorado, which came into the series having lost nine straight at San Francisco, dating back to last season. The Rockies held the Giants scoreless for the first 14 innings of this series before San Francisco broke through with three runs in the sixth inning of Saturday's game, eventually sending it into extra innings.
But the Giants came up with just enough offense Saturday to come away with their seventh walk-off victory of the season. Giants manager Bruce Bochy saw the end in his office after being ejected by home-plate umpire Alfonso Marquez after the second of two close calls went against the Giants, but he was glad to see the winning outcome for his Giants.
"I can't say enough about how they found a way to win that ballgame, because that's one that would have stayed with us a long time," Bochy said.
In the finale, the Giants will go with the pitcher who has been their rock for years but has been trying to right the ship in 2013. Making his 11th start of the season, Cain has gone 3-0 with a 3.45 ERA in his last four starts, taking a no-decision in his last outing against the Nationals despite allowing just two runs on seven hits over seven innings.
Garland, who signed with the Rockies at the end of Spring Training and made his first outing since shoulder surgery in 2011, will be making his first start against the Giants since 2010, when he was with the Padres. Garland absorbed his third consecutive loss his last time out, allowing five runs in six innings against the D-backs.
Rockies: CarGo keeps rolling
Carlos Gonzalez homered for the third straight game Saturday, giving him 13 homers on the season and 42 runs scored, tops in the National League.
Over the Rockies' last 11 games, Gonzalez has gone 17-for-42 (.405) with three doubles, a triple, six home runs, 13 RBIs and 14 runs.
• Eric Young Jr., who will be trying to fight through his hitting woes in a reserve role, served only as a pinch-runner Saturday. "He's still a weapon. We'll try to keep him involved, like everybody else," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
Giants: Gaudin in relief, for now
While the Giants are considering whether they want to use Chad Gaudin in a starting role, he made another appearance in a relief role Saturday, pitching a scoreless seventh inning to give him a 2.00 ERA in 16 appearances out the bullpen.
How that affects his availability to start Tuesday in place of injured right-hander Ryan Vogelsong remains to be seen. Bochy, who expects to announce the starter Sunday, likes what he has in the veteran Gaudin, but notes that the rotation's gain could be the bullpen's loss if he shifts to starting.
"Taking a veteran guy out of your bullpen when you have one that's down already, that's another element [in] the decision-making," Bochy said.
• The Rockies had run off four consecutive victories against the Giants before Saturday, including back-to-back shutouts (one on May 19 in Colorado, the other Friday) for the first time since the two teams began playing each other in Colorado's first season in 1993.
• Following Sunday's finale, the Giants will head across San Francisco Bay for the opener of a two-game series against their Interleague rivals, the A's, followed by two more back at AT&T Park on Wednesday and Thursday. The Rockies will be matched with the Astros as Interleague rivals for the first time with Houston joining the American League, meeting for two in Houston followed by two in Denver.
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.