Giants have majors' best record after Cueto beats Rockies
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Johnny Cueto intends to pitch in next week's All-Star Game after not getting to play in his first appearance there two years ago.
If Giants manager Bruce Bochy has any say in the matter, Cueto will start in the Midsummer Classic.
Cueto pitched a five-hitter to become the NL's first 13-game winner, and San Francisco beat the Colorado Rockies 5-1 on Wednesday night to move atop the major league standings.
''He has made an enormous case of starting that game,'' Bochy said following Cueto's fourth complete game this season. ''You look at his record, his numbers, what a great first half he's had. It's obvious we're pulling for it to happen.''
With the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list and Jake Arrieta of the Cubs stumbling in recent weeks, the door is wide open for the Giants right-hander to become the second Giants pitcher in five years to start the All-Star Game, following Matt Cain in 2012.
''It would be big,'' Cueto said through an interpreter. ''It would mean a lot because it would be the first time that I would ever pitch in an All-Star Game. And I want to pitch.''
Cueto (13-1) allowed one run on five hits with eight strikeouts and one walk while going the distance for the fourth time this season. He also became the first Giants pitcher since John Burkett in 1993 to win 13 games before the All-Star break.
The performance gave San Francisco's slumping bullpen a much-needed break.
''Whenever he's hitting spots, it's tough,'' Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez said. ''He's going to keep you off balance with all the different moves that he has. I like him because whenever you are trying to get big he's hard to hit.''
San Francisco (54-33) passed the Chicago Cubs (52-32) for the majors' best record and has won five of seven. Buster Posey homered for the second time in three days, Brandon Belt doubled and tripled and Brandon Crawford drove in two runs for San Francisco.
Posey struck out looking with a runner on third in the first inning before hitting his 11th home run of the season off Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa (5-7) in the sixth.
De La Rosa allowed three runs over seven innings with five strikeouts and one walk. The Colorado lefty has lost two straight since his four-game winning streak.
Grant Green walked and scored on Belt's RBI triple in the first. Belt scored on Crawford's two-out single.
Green also scored on a wild pitch in the eighth and Crawford added a sacrifice fly to make it 5-1.
Rookie sensation Trevor Story drove in Colorado's lone run in the fourth on a fielder's choice grounder with the bases loaded.
CUETO AT THE PLATE
San Francisco's starter wasn't as dominant at the plate as he was on the mound, but Cueto still managed to end an 0-for-26 slump when he singled off De La Rosa in the second inning.
Giants: Bochy said he hopes to know by this weekend when OF Hunter Pence (right hamstring surgery) will begin a rehab assignment. Pence has been taking batting practice and running. ''He's coming along great, right on pace,'' Bochy said. ... RHP Matt Cain (strained right hamstring) is scheduled to throw 65 pitches in a rehab start with Triple-A Sacramento on Friday. ... 3B Matt Duffy (strained right Achilles tendon) has been running on a treadmill. ... RHP Cory Gearrin was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder. ... RHP Albert Suarez was called up from Sacramento to take Gearrin's place on the roster.
Rockies: Right-hander Chad Bettis (6-6) pitches Thursday in the opener of a four-game home series with Philadelphia. Bettis has a 6.58 ERA over his previous five starts.
Giants: Jeff Samardzija (8-5) makes his third start against the Diamondbacks this season in Arizona on Friday. In his other two appearances combined the right-hander allowed five earned runs in 15 1/3 innings.