Aaron Cook couldn't keep his fastball down. His bunts were another story altogether.
Cook got bunts down in both of his at-bats Thursday night, one of them igniting a three-run rally and the other delivering the decisive run in Colorado's 5-3 win over the San Francisco Giants.
"Oh, it's huge. Us pitchers all take a lot of pride in it. We work on it day after day, getting our bunts down in key situations," Cook said. "That first one was just a sacrifice I put out there and they happened to make an error. The second one was just one my own, there was no sign."
Cook scored Colorado's first run when Troy Tulowitzki hit a two-run double off Noah Lowry (4-3) in the third. Tulowitzki scored from second base when shortstop Omar Vizquel threw wildly past third base after fielding Matt Holliday's bouncer for the Giants' second error of the inning.
The Rockies made it 4-0 in the fourth when Cook sacrificed a runner home with a bunt. First baseman Ryan Klesko fielded it and threw to first for the second out of the inning instead of home for a play at the plate.
"I was just reading Klesko back and knew Lowry was a left-handed pitcher, so I was just trying to push it out there on the left side and hoped Torry (Yorvit Torrealba) read it with me. And he made a great break when it hit the ground," Cook said.
On Cook's first bunt, Lowry was charged with an error.
"I was thinking second right off the bat," Lowry said. "I was going to go to second, and went to take the ball out of the glove and I just didn't have it. I decided to hold onto it. I probably could have thrown it to first, but I didn't want to rush it."
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, "Noah got a little greedy on that bunt, thinking second base, and that opened up a big inning there for them. That was the difference in the game. Lowry had good stuff. He just couldn't get a handle on the ball to get an out there."
Cook (2-1) allowed three earned runs on six hits and four walks without a strikeout in six innings. He cruised until the sixth when San Francisco got all its runs on two-out, RBI singles by Ray Durham, Benji Molina and Fred Lewis.
"They were up," Cook said. "Looking back, I probably hit a wall. I was starting to lose command of my fastball and they were all pitches I left up and they hit them right back up the middle."
Lowry gave up four runs, two earned, on six hits and four walks in seven innings.
Barry Bonds leads his team in several offensive categories and now that he's within 10 of Hank Aaron's record 755 home runs, he can expect to see a lot more bases on balls than pitches to hit, although on this night he got to take plenty of cuts and was walked only once.
Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said before the game that he's going to walk the San Francisco slugger every chance he gets during the teams' four-game series at Coors Field.
"If there's a base open we're going to put him on," Hurdle said. "I'm not going to let him beat our ballclub. It got 25 guys to answer to ... I've got ownership to answer to. One of the groups I don't have to answer to is to fans who want to watch Barry hit. I don't have to answer to those people."
He strayed from that strategy, however.
In the fourth inning Bonds came up with the bases empty and one out with the Giants trailing by three runs. Cook went at him and sent a 3-1 sinker off the right-field wall for a double, narrowly missing his 746th homer.
"A four-seamer probably would have been off the third deck," Cook said. "A sinker goes off the wall."
With one out and first base open again in the sixth, Cook pitched to Bonds and got him on a groundout to first base before Durham, Molina and Lewis hit run-scoring singles.
In the seventh, Bonds came up for the fourth time with first base open and this time he was intentionally walked, putting runners at first and second with two outs. Manny Corpas got Durham to fly out to shallow left to end the threat.
Corpas also threw a scoreless eighth inning before Brian Fuentes pitched the ninth for his ninth save in 10 tries, getting Durham to line into a double play to shortstop Tulowitzki with two runners on.
The Rockies added an insurance run in the eighth, when Holliday tripled and scored on Garrett Atkins' sacrifice fly.
Notes: Vizquel tied Ozzie Smith's major league record for shortstops with his 1,590th double play in the seventh and his third of the night. ... The Rockies joined the growing list of teams to ban beer in the clubhouses following the alcohol-related traffic death of St. Louis Cardinals P Josh Hancock.
Pitcher's bunts burn Giants in loss to Rockies