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COL@WSH: Chacin shuts down Nationals over seven

As the Giants lick their wounds following a sweep at the hands of the archrival Dodgers, if the scuffling squad has any reason for comfort, it's that it has company. The weekend opponent, the Rockies, have been in a free fall lately as well.

After enduring three consecutive tight losses in Los Angeles to fall two games under .500 -- the latest the Giants have been under .500 since 2008 -- they embark on the second portion of their 10-game road trip, which begins Friday in Colorado.

Because the roster has been in a state of flux for the majority of the season, the Giants have depended on certain role players to take on a leading role. One performer manager Bruce Bochy would like to see develop further is first baseman Brandon Belt. While Belt has already surpassed his 2012 home run totals, Bochy is hoping for more production from the left-handed hitter against right-handed pitching, against whom he's posted a .247 batting average this season (.327 against lefties).

"What you're looking for is improvement," Bochy said. "He knows that has to happen against right-handers. He'll face right-handers more than lefties. That's really an area where he has to get stronger.

"He got off to a horrible start, as you know. So for him to be at .260, hitting more homers, shows he's making strides."

One way he can demonstrate that is by improving his measly 1-for-12 career mark against Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin in Friday's series opener.

For the Rockies, who lost, 3-2, in a home makeup game to the Mets on Thursday after returning from a 2-7 road trip, a return to Coors Field might help stop their recent losing ways. Colorado is 23-18 at home, and San Francisco is 14-25 away from AT&T Park, giving it the second-worst road winning percentage (.359) in the National League.

"I don't get too caught up in what our record was on the road," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "For me -- show up today, we try to win today's game. Whatever happens tomorrow -- we show up tomorrow and we're going to try to win tomorrow's game.

"I don't really like to look at it as big blocks of the season. I'd rather try to keep it simple and show up and compete every day, show up the right way and compete that day. See what happens, take our best shot. If you can do that over the course of six months, then you ensure that you're taking your best shot."

Giants: Arias still ailing
The Giants -- losers of four straight and nine of 12 -- might suffer another loss before Friday's first pitch is even delivered. Bochy indicated Wednesday that reserve infielder Joaquin Arias, whose 11-game hitting streak was recently snapped -- might head to the disabled list with a strained left hamstring if he is still unable to play in the series opener.

Arias is hitting .276 this season and has been praised by Bochy for his versatility. He has appeared at three infield positions and four places in the lineup in 2013.

Rockies: Critical stretch begins
The Rockies enter a stretch of 16 consecutive games against NL West opponents beginning Friday.

"It's a big stretch for us," Weiss said. "But it seems like every stretch in our schedule is a big stretch.

"There's no question we need to play well in this next homestand. We've played pretty well in our division, so we need to continue that."

The Rockies are 21-15 against the NL West, which helped propel them to a quick start this season. Against the rest of the Majors, they're 18-26.

Worth noting
• The Giants snapped a streak of 30 consecutive innings without a lead Wednesday when they led the Dodgers 2-1 after Buster Posey's fourth-inning homer. San Francisco is 24-12 (.667) when it scores first, but 14-27 (.341) when it doesn't.

• Michael Cuddyer set a Rockies record Thursday by extending his hitting streak to 24 games.

"He's a very smart hitter," Weiss said before Thursday's game. "He understands [pitch] sequences, he's very good at thinking along with the pitcher and he might sit on a pitch. So he's got a good idea when he steps in the box."

• Rockies outfielder Dexter Fowler was held out of Thursday's game with a sore right wrist. He's day to day with the injury, which has hampered his availability the past few weeks.

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