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Giants closer blows lead in the ninth for second straight day in 5-4 loss to Rockies

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SAN FRANCISCO - Sergio Romo was almost speechless after giving up five runs in the ninth inning Friday. The Giants' closer was even more stunned a day later when he blew another save.

Brandon Barnes hit a two-run, inside-the-park home run off Romo to lift the Colorado Rockies to a 5-4 win and hand stumbling San Francisco its fifth loss in six games.

"I had two outs, one pitch away again ... and they found a way to stay alive," Romo said. "They got me again. What can I do?"

Romo went into the day tied for the most saves in the majors and was on the verge of notching his 21st of the season when Charlie Blackmon singled with two outs. Barnes then lined a hit to centre field that San Francisco's Angel Pagan misplayed, allowing the ball to skip to the fence as Blackmon and Barnes raced around the bases.

It marked the first time in Romo's career that the closer had blown consecutive save opportunities. He has four blown saves overall this season.

"That's a tough one for Sergio," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He was throwing the ball well. So many good things have happened to us ... now, we've hit a bump in the road so it's going to be important that we handle this well."

Buster Posey's sacrifice fly in the seventh inning had given the Giants a 4-3 lead. Posey also doubled and homered to finish with a season-high three RBIs — the most by San Francisco's two-time All-Star in more than 11 months.

Hunter Pence hit his ninth home run of the year while Gregor Blanco had three hits for San Francisco.

It wasn't enough to prevent the Giants' fifth loss in six games.

Barnes is the fourth opposing player to hit an inside-the-park home run at AT&T Park.

"I saw it get by him (Pagan) and I just turned my head and kept going," Barnes said. "My legs were getting a little heavy at third I just kept trying to grind it out."

Rex Brothers (3-4) pitched one inning for the win and became the 76th pitcher in history to strike out the side on nine pitches. LaTroy Hawkins worked the ninth for his 13th save, although he had to wait to celebrate.

Pagan appeared to ground into a game-ending double play and several Rockies players came out of the dugout to celebrate. Bochy, who successfully overturned a call earlier in the game, again challenged the ruling. After a brief review, the umpires upheld the original call.

The Giants went into the game with the best record in the majors but were staggering on the heels of four losses in five games. They trailed late in this one, too, before Posey tied it with a two-run homer in the fifth then drove in Pagan with the go-ahead run in the seventh.

San Francisco's bullpen couldn't make it hold up.

Jean Machi pitched out of a two-on, two-out jam in the eighth before Romo took over in the ninth. He got two quick outs before Blackmon singled. Barnes followed with his hit to centre that got by Pagan and resulted in the game-winning runs.

"It looked like a soft-serve base hit but it hit and really skipped," Bochy said. "It just got by (Pagan)."

The Rockies scored twice off Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong in the second then took a 3-1 lead in the third following back-to-back doubles from Morneau and Josh Rutledge.

It could have been worse for Vogelsong, who needed instant replay to get out of a two-out jam in first after Rutledge appeared to leg out an infield single and load the bases. Bochy successfully challenged the call and Rutledge was ruled out to end the inning.

Posey's two-run homer off Christian Bergman in the fifth tied it.

Bergman lasted six innings in his second major league start. The Rockies' rookie allowed eight hits, struck out three and didn't walk a batter.

Pence homered off Bergman in the first.

NOTES: Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki was not in the starting lineup after injuring a toe running to first base on an infield single during the ninth inning of Friday's 7-4 win. Tulowitzki pinch-hit in the ninth and flew out to centre. ... The Rockies also rested C Wilin Rosario after he fouled a ball that ricocheted off the ground and hit him in the face. ... Giants reliever Santiago Casilla (hamstring) could be activated from the disabled list, depending on the outcome of his latest rehab appearance on Saturday. ... LHP Madison Bumgarner (8-4), who pitches the series finale for San Francisco, has a 1.24 ERA over his previous four starts. RHP Juan Nicasio (5-5) takes the mound for Colorado. ... Joe Torre, the executive vice-president of baseball operations for MLB, and California governor Jerry Brown attended the game.

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