By The Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO — The postgame hugs and handshakes had little zest.
The Colorado Rockies piled out of the dugout and moved in from all corners of the infield to congratulate themselves on the only thing left to celebrate: Not finishing last in the NL West, avoiding 90 losses and, perhaps most gratifying, finally being able to say this sorry season is over.
Kevin Kouzmanoff had three hits and drove in two runs, and the Rockies beat the San Francisco Giants 6-3 on Wednesday.
“We know where our situation is,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “We’re going to get busy here a hell of a lot sooner than later and do some of the things necessary to turn the tables on what is definitely a very disappointing season. But we’re going to solve it.”
As a small consolation, the Rockies will at least be able to soak in a win this winter.
Former Rebel Drew Pomeranz (2-1) outpitched fellow rookie Eric Surkamp (2-2) in their second matchup in two weeks and Jordan Pacheco added a pair of RBI singles for the Rockies, who snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Giants.
The series finale that many thought could have playoff implications in April became an afterthought.
San Francisco (86-76) wound up in second place in the NL West behind playoff-bound Arizona, becoming the first defending World Series champion not to make the playoffs since the 2007 St. Louis Cardinals. Colorado (73-89) finished fourth, just ahead of the last-place San Diego.
“We ended up on a positive note,” center fielder Dexter Fowler said. “These aren’t the expectations we have for ourselves. At the same time, we want to go out and have fun next year and exceed expectations.”
The finale attracted a sellout crowd of 41,873, many of whom took every last chance to cheer the 2010 champs. The Giants returned to the field several minutes after the final out to show their appreciation.
By then, the Rockies were already packed up in the visitors’ clubhouse and heading into an uncertain offseason.
They had plans — and, on paper, all the talent — to make a run at the division title. These two clubs were considered strong contenders to win the West when the season began, and both have busy winters ahead: Among the Rockies’ top priorities is acquiring a front-line starter, while the Giants again need a big bat.
“I think the important thing is we’ve kind of realized the error of our ways this year,” Tracy said. “Obviously, we were beat up this year, but there’s still other things we need to do to be an efficient club. And as we go into the winter and we go into spring training, that’s basically the message.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy and Tracy went with young lineups to evaluate who might make an impact come 2012.
San Francisco’s lineup featured only one starter from opening day in Pat Burrell — who might have played his final game — and only two players who were even on the 25-man roster on March 31 at Dodger Stadium: Burrell and infielder Mark DeRosa.
San Francisco lost reigning NL Rookie of the Year Buster Posey to a devastating season-ending leg injury in a home-plate collision with Florida’s Scott Cousins on May 25 and also went without second baseman Freddy Sanchez because of a shoulder injury that required surgery.
Many Rockies regulars sat out, too. No injured Carlos Gonzalez or Troy Tulowitzki, the two stars who received hefty new contracts last winter. Todd Helton is hurt, too.
The Rockies completed the seven-game road trip at 3-4, bouncing back from a 7-0 shutout a night earlier to avoid a sweep. Not exactly how they figured to end the season.
“Sometimes the education process can be very, very painful,” Tracy said. “But in order to learn some things about some of your young people, you have to expose them to some situations. I can promise you this: With the number of young people that we’ve used over the course of the month of September, we learned a heck of a lot more than we would have ever learned over the course of spring training.”
NOTES: Rafael Betancourt pitched the ninth for his eighth save in 12 chances as Colorado won the final game of the season for the first time since 2007. … Both teams’ hitting coaches are going under the knife soon. Colorado’s Carney Lansford needs a full right hip replacement, while Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens of the Giants will undergo surgery on his right knee.