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COL@SF: Morneau belts two-run double to take the lead

SAN FRANCISCO -- The fans at AT&T Park boo the very mention of the name of Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, and he loves it.

"You want boos in different stadiums -- that tells you a lot," he said.

By the end of the last three games, many of his teammates could bask in derision as well.

Justin Morneau's eighth-inning, two-run, pinch-hit double completed a comeback from ineffective early pitching and a four-run deficit as the Rockies won, 8-7, Sunday afternoon to complete their first three-game sweep at AT&T Park since Sept. 23-25, 2008.

"I'm surprised it's not longer than that, to be honest," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "It's a tough place to play. I'm sure the Giants don't get swept here much, period."

Tulowitzki, who grew up not far from San Francisco in Sunnyvale but gets no hometown welcome, earned more anger Sunday. After not starting Saturday because of a right middle toe injury, Tulowitzki hit his 18th homer of the season for two runs in the third off Giants starter Madison Bumgarner and went 3-for-4 to bring his Majors-leading batting average to .362.

The Giants led, 7-3, before Josh Rutledge's RBI double in the seventh off Bumgarner. The game-turning eighth featured Drew Stubbs' RBI triple and Michael McKenry's infield RBI single off Juan Gutierrez (1-2), and Morneau's opposite-way, soft double inside the left-field foul line off Javier Lopez to win the game and make him a part of a richening rivalry.

"They're a balanced team and they're going to be in every game, and that's what we try to do, too," Morneau said. "We play nine innings and make you finish us off. When you have teams that play each other a lot and know each other well, you get that rivalry. We came out on the right side of it this series."

A little less than a week ago, the Rockies (34-35) were enduring an eight-game losing streak and a bad period that lasted even longer and looked like a team that was on its way to being ignored. That's far less desirable than being hated.

But after sweeping the National League West-leading Giants (43-27) with all the victories in comeback fashion, the Rockies will head to Los Angeles for three games with the second-place Dodgers starting Monday.

"It's amazing -- last week at this time we were in the dumps, and now we're on a high," said closer LaTroy Hawkins, who earned saves in all three games to bring his total to 14, after having gone 19 days without a save opportunity.

Friday's victory came courtesy of a five-run ninth that saw Ryan Wheeler and McKenry produce key pinch-hits. Saturday's game provided a brand new flavor of crazy, as the Rockies turned it on Brandon Barnes' two-run, inside-the-park homer in the ninth. But Sunday's victory was equally improbable because of how it started.

Juan Nicasio, whose rotation spot grows more tenuous with each short outing, lasted just two innings and two batters of the third. He gave up just three runs, but also four hits and four walks. Nicasio has a 14.36 ERA and has given up 35 hits in 15 2/3 innings in his last four starts.

With three starters (Brett Anderson, Tyler Chatwood and Eddie Butler) on the disabled list, alternatives are thin. But Nicasio will have to improve to hold his place when the injured guys return.

"He's struggling to command it, but we'll try to get him right," Weiss said.

Lefty Franklin Morales replaced Nicasio and gave up three home runs -- consecutive shots by Hector Sanchez and Pablo Sandoval in the fourth and a solo shot to Bumgarner in the fifth. But it turned out his work in the third, when he kept the inning scoreless after replacing Nicasio, ended up a factor in the eventual outcome.

After the Giants made the least of the opportunity Nicasio gave them, Tulowitzki's homer cut the difference to 3-2 and sparked the Rockies.

"Every time I go up to the plate, I'm trying to give us some momentum, so it wasn't like it was a special situation or anything," Tulowitzki said.

But by the eighth -- a rally that made a winner of reliever Matt Belisle (2-2) for the second time in the series -- it became a special day for the Rockies.

The lead changed when Morneau looped Lopez's 1-1, 86 mph fastball down the left-field line, and McKenry and DJ LeMahieu, who had reached on a fielder's choice, scored, with LeMahieu deftly sliding past catcher Sanchez.

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