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SF@LAD: Bumgarner two-hits Dodgers over eight innings

The surprising Rockies have given the defending National League West champion Giants a challenge in the standings in the early going. Beginning on Monday, the two division rivals will go head-to-head for the first time this year.

The Rockies have jumped out to a 5-1 record to start the year, after taking two of three from the Brewers in their opening series, and sweeping the Padres in Denver this weekend.

The Giants, meanwhile, were hammered by the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon and dropped their weekend series to St. Louis. They took two out of three against the Dodgers to start the season, but still find themselves looking up at the Rockies in the standings.

Colorado will be challenged when facing Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner, who tossed eight superb innings against the Dodgers in his season debut. He scattered just two hits, did not walk a batter and struck out six in one of the best starts of his young career.

Seventy-six of Bumgarner's 101 pitches were strikes, and he threw first-pitch strikes to the first 17 batters he faced, and 22 of 26 overall. He didn't reach a three-ball count until the 19th hitter he faced.

"That's the best I've felt in a long time," Bumgarner said. "If it's close like that, there's no room for error. I felt like I was careful, and kept the ball out of the middle as much as I could."

Rockies lefty Jorge De La Rosa, meanwhile, hopes to improve after a so-so first outing. He gave up four earned runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings, striking out three and walking three.

Manager Walt Weiss gave him the hook after just 4 1/3 innings to avoid the Brewers' Ryan Braun, who had homered earlier in the game.

"It surprised me a little bit, because I just had 77 pitches, but they took me out," De La Rosa said. "It's good because we won."

Giants: Struggling with men on base

• The Giants have combined to hit just .172 (5-for-29) with runners in scoring position during their first six games.

• The Giants are in the midst of playing eight day games in 10 contests. They'll play a matinee against the Rockies on Wednesday before four against the Cubs this week (Thursday-Sunday) in Chicago.

• Infielder Brandon Belt still does not have a hit this season. He's 0-for-13 in three games.

Rockies: Serious series starts

• This year marks the first time the Rockies have won each of their first two series of the season since 1995. That season, they won each of their first three. It is the club's only other 5-1 start in franchise history. They began that year 7-1.

• De La Rosa is 3-2 with a 2.58 ERA in seven career games at AT&T Park.

Worth noting

• The Giants won 14 of 18 meetings against the Rockies last season, outscoring Colorado, 125-75.

The 14 season wins (seven at home and seven on the road) are the most the Giants have ever had against the Rockies in a single season. Comments