Rockies, Hilliard take aim at Bochy's Giants, add special message

Rookie Sam Hilliard and his Colorado teammates look to pad their home run totals at the expense of San Francisco Giants right-hander Jeff Samardzija when the Rockies go for a second consecutive win in the three-game series Wednesday night.

Colorado used five homers, including a three-run blast from Charlie Blackmon in the 16th inning, to pull out an 8-5 win in the series opener.

The loss dropped retiring Giants manager Bruce Bochy under .500 at 1,050-1,051 for his 13-year San Francisco run, with just five games remaining -- all at home this week.

While a large contingent of reporters and dignitaries crowds around Bochy before the games this week, Hilliard hopes to use the bigger-than-usual audience to draw attention to a special cause.

He and his teammates have been wearing special t-shirts during pregame festivities and under their jerseys during recent games, hoping to increase awareness of the need for additional funding to find a cure for ALS, which has relegated his dad, Jim, to a wheelchair for two years.

Promoted for the first time on Aug. 27, Hilliard initially focused solely on baseball. But six homers in his first 23 games has given him a platform from which he had now elected to make himself heard.

"I just got to a point where I said to myself, 'You're not doing anything to help if you're not talking about it,' " he admitted to reporters this week. "Getting the word out there, spreading the word about the foundation, and doing whatever I can to help ... They say there's no cure, but it's just an underfunded disease, and they're working to find a cure."

Hilliard did not add to his homer Tuesday in a tough lefty-on-lefty matchup with Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. But Wednesday he'll take his initial cracks at Samardzija (11-12, 3.64), who has allowed 28 homers in his 31 starts this season.

Overall, the veteran has pitched well against the Rockies this year, going 2-1. One of the wins featured seven shutout innings in a 1-0 Giants victory in April.

Samardzija has gone 6-7 with a 3.89 ERA in 20 games (16 starts) against the Rockies in his career.

The Rockies have scheduled right-hander Tim Melville (2-3, 5.40), who has never faced the Giants.

The first-year member of the Rockies has made six starts, four of which have been at home. He has yet to lose on the road, going 2-0 at Arizona and San Diego while allowing just three runs in 12 2/3 innings.

The 29-year-old will find himself pitching amid the Bochy hoopla, part of which has been reserved for speculation on who will be the Giants' next manager.

The three-time-champion skipper weighed in on the subject before Tuesday's game.

"He's going to be one fortunate manager," Bochy assured reporters. "He'll be with a storied franchise that has such a great history. Beautiful ballpark. Beautiful city. Beautiful fans. There's not a better place to manage in baseball, I'm convinced of that. He's going to not just appreciate it, he's going to love it. It's just a great place. It changed my life when I came up here."

--Field Level Media
Copyright © 2019 ESPN Internet Ventures. All rights reserved.