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Panda Carries Giants to Sweep of Rockies

(Sept. 19, 2012) -- San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval homered from both sides of the plate and combined with Buster Posey to hit back-to-back homers today as the Giants won, 9-2, and completed a four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies at AT&T Park.

 The outcome widened the Giants' lead over second-place Los Angeles in the National League West to 9 1/2 games and trimmed San Francisco's magic number for clinching the division title to four, pending the Dodgers-Nationals game later Thursday.

Sandoval, a switch-hitter who had ended a 41-game streak without a homer on Wednesday night, continued his power surge with a first-inning homer batting right-handed off Colorado left-hander Jorge De La Rosa (0-1).

 Highlighting a six-run, fourth-inning rally that broke a 2-2 tie, Sandoval batted left-handed against right-hander Edgmer Escalona and reached the right-field arcade for a three-run homer. Moments later, Posey drove Escalona's 1-1 pitch into the left-field pavilion.

 Barry Zito (13-8) yielded two runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings to win his fifth consecutive decision. The Giants also lengthened their winning streak in Zito's starts to nine.

 The Giants will open a three-game series at home at 7:15 p.m. Friday against the Padres. On the mound for San Diego will be 22-year-old rookie right-hander Casey Kelly (2-1, 5.85 ERA). He'll face Giants righty Ryan Vogelsong (12-9, 3.65 ERA).

Vogelsong's slide from mid-August continued in his last outing, when he allowed six earned runs on five hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings against the D-backs. He led the National League with a 2.27 ERA as of Aug. 13, but has a 10.31 ERA since then.