SAN FRANCISCO -- In a rare on-field display of emotion, Buster Posey quickly clapped his hands twice after lashing a seventh-inning single that gave the Giants a temporary lead Wednesday night.
What Posey did later drew greater applause and was more enduring.
Posey belted a two-run homer to break a ninth-inning deadlock and lift the Giants to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies, which San Francisco needed to maintain its footing in the races for a postseason berth. The Giants stayed 1 1/2 games ahead of Atlanta and Pittsburgh in the competition for the National League's second Wild Card spot. San Francisco remained five games behind first-place Los Angeles in the NL West.
It was a milestone-filled night at AT&T Park. Giants starter Tim Hudson recorded his 2,000th strikeout during a scintillating eight-inning effort. San Francisco's Bruce Bochy recorded his 1,600th career managerial triumph, thus surpassing Tommy Lasorda for 19th place all-time. And Colorado's Corey Dickerson clobbered a fifth-inning homer, the lone run Hudson allowed, over the right-field barrier and into San Francisco Bay. It was the 100th ball hit into the drink in regular-season play, 66 of them being "Splash Hits" by Giants players.
But Posey's walkoff homer transcended all these feats.
With the score tied at 2, Angel Pagan singled with one out in the ninth off Juan Nicasio (5-6), Colorado's fourth reliever. Nicasio approached safety by striking out Hunter Pence. Then Posey drilled an 0-1 fastball into the tunnel beyond the left-field corner for his third home run in two games. He also has driven in seven of San Francisco's nine runs in this series, exceeding the Rockies' five-run total.
Posey accounted for his offensive outburst in typically understated fashion. "I just keep my simple approach and try to get the barrel on [the ball]," he said.
Others, however, understand the 2012 NL Most Valuable Player's potential impact. "We need to jump on his shoulders and get us through this last month," Hudson said.
Demonstrating his calm, confident approach, Posey worked the count to 3-2 before delivering his seventh-inning hit off Rockies right-hander Brooks Brown that put the Giants ahead, 2-1. "I was happy we had the lead," Posey said, explaining his burst of applause. "I thought we were going to win the game."
They did, but endured some drama first.
Santiago Casilla (2-3), who converted his previous 11 save opportunities, finally blew one as the Rockies pulled even in the ninth. Casilla struck Drew Stubbs with a pitch to open the inning and set up Justin Morneau's run-scoring double. That denied a victorious decision to Hudson, who surrendered four hits in eight innings.
But instead of crumbling, a resolute Casilla forced Michael McKenry to bounce into an inning-ending double play, which started with shortstop Matt Duffy's deft stop of a tricky hop.
"That's not easy to do," Posey said, praising Casilla for extinguishing the Rockies' offense after they tied the score. Referring to Madison Bumgarner's reaction to losing his perfect game in Tuesday's eighth inning, Posey added, "It's kind of like Bumgarner giving up the double last night and striking out the side."
Posey's surge reflected his excitement generated by the Giants' bid to return to the postseason following a dreary 2013 campaign.
"This is a fun time of the year," he said. "It's night and day coming to the park compared to last year. There's really no way around it. It's a better feeling."
Bochy, who steered the Giants to World Series triumphs in 2010 and 2012 -- the franchise's sole triumphs in the Fall Classic since it moved west in 1958 -- deflected the spotlight produced by win No. 1,600 toward others.
"It means I'm very fortunate," Bochy said. "It really does. You're lucky to, first of all, be doing what I'm doing up here. It's just been a tremendous ride. ... It's all about the support that you've had over the years -- ownership, front office, players, coaches. That number's not you. Sure, it goes on your record. But there's so many people that have done something to help me, and you don't forget that, how lucky you are to be doing this as long as I've been doing it."