SAN FRANCISCO -- Buster Posey put the Giants on his back two summers ago, and he has the MVP trophy and World Series ring to prove it. As the season's final month approaches, Posey once again appears ready to do the heavy lifting.

His walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth Wednesday night turned a blown save into a celebration. Posey drove in three runs in a 4-2 win over the Colorado Rockies a night after hitting two homers in support of Madison Bumgarner's bid for a perfect game.

"We can jump on his shoulders," Tim Hudson said.

How far will that get the Giants?

"A lot of us know what this team is capable of if we do get into the playoffs," Posey said. "This is a fun time of the year."

The season's final two months bring out the best in the game's brightest, but a year ago Posey faded away. He hit .244 in the second half, with just two homers in 197 at-bats, as the Giants slumped to the finish line. Posey rededicated himself during the offseason, putting on about 10 pounds of muscle to help him survive another summer behind the plate. The work has continued during the season, and as the Giants start to catch a glimpse of October, Posey is playing his best baseball.

He has five homers in his past seven games, including Wednesday's two-run blast, his second career walk-off. He said the feeling in the clubhouse is "night and day" compared with last August.


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"There's really no way around it," Posey said. "It's a better feeling. We feel we have something to play for."

The win allowed the Giants (70-62) to keep pace with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who maintained a five-game lead in the National League West. They're 1½ up on the Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates in the race for the second wild card spot, but they nearly gave away a chunk of that cushion against a Rockies team that's been a fly in the Giants' soup all year long.

A night after Bumgarner one-hit the Rockies, Hudson kept them hitless through three. As Hudson headed for the late innings, the Giants failed repeatedly in bids to break open the game. They left runners on the corners in the second and again in the third. Gregor Blanco's safety squeeze pushed across a run in the fourth, but the Giants left two on base in that inning, too.

Hudson lost the no-hit bid and the shutout in the fifth when Corey Dickerson smoked a leadoff homer into McCovey Cove. The splash hit was the 100th in AT&T Park's history. An inning later, Hudson hit his own milestone, striking out Franklin Morales to become the fourth active big leaguer to hit the 2,000-strikeout mark.

"I struck out the pitcher," he said, a wry smile on his face. "I broke out the repertoire."

Manager Bruce Bochy met Hudson on the dugout steps, offering a handshake that usually means the starter's night is done. Hudson was confused until he realized Bochy was offering congratulations for the 2,000th strikeout. Bochy had his own milestone to chase, but his bid for win No. 1,600 hit an oil patch in the top of the ninth, in part because of a decision he made.

Hudson had thrown just 87 pitches and had a 2-1 lead after Posey's RBI single in the seventh, but Bochy handed the ball to Santiago Casilla, who has battled a bug in recent days. The closer hit Drew Stubbs and then gave up a game-tying double to Justin Morneau.

"That's a tough call," Bochy said. "You've got your closer and he's fresh and he's been throwing well. That's his job. It's always a tough call. I felt (Hudson) did his job in eight innings."

Hudson backed his manager, even if he did lose a shot at reaching double-digit wins for a 14th time as a big leaguer. Posey made sure Bochy hit his milestone, launching a Juan Nicasio fastball toward the Bay Bridge.

"Buster does what you expect Buster to do," Hudson said.

  • A specialist ordered Hector Sanchez to rest for three more weeks, and the Giants have told the backup catcher not to prepare for a return this season. Sanchez still has headaches and dizziness related to a second concussion suffered earlier this month, and he said he was still vomiting earlier in the week.

    Sanchez at some point might have to start thinking about his long-term future as a catcher, but Wednesday he was trying to stay upbeat. He said he was grateful for the diagnosis he got earlier this week during a visit to Dr. Micky Collins' facility in Pittsburgh.

    "In three weeks, I'll be fine," Sanchez said. "I don't know if I can play (this year), but I'll be fine."

    The other concussed Giant, first baseman Brandon Belt, took a day off from the rehab process because his wife, Haylee, went into labor for the couple's first baby "Baby Giraffe."

  • Infielder Ehire Adrianza will head to the team's Scottsdale, Arizona, facility this weekend to continue rehabbing a hamstring strain that has kept him out for 30 games and likely will end his season. Adrianza said this strain is much worse than the one that sidelined him in June and July, and he doesn't expect to be fully recovered until the last week of September.

    THURSDAY'S GAME
    Colorado (Jordan Lyles 6-1)
    at Giants (Yusmeiro Petit 3-3), 12:45 p.m. CSNBA

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    Nhat V. Meyer/staff
    Tim Hudson reacts after a double play to end the top of the fourth. He gave up a run in eight innings and got a no-decision.