The San Francisco Giants seemed to be on the verge of winning their 13th comeback victory of the season, but the Colorado Rockies held on to take a 10-9 victory to snap their 10-game losing streak against the Giants.
The Giants committed four errors in the first three innings, and the Rockies made them pay, much like the Toronto Blue Jays did earlier in the week.
Starting Pitching: Defense, Long Ball Doom Bumgarner
Madison Bumgarner didn’t look the Madison Bumgarner who sported a 2.18 entering Friday. I might as well note that it rose to 3.09 after he yielded seven earned runs (nine total, a career-worst).
The Rockies first struck against Bumgarner in the second inning, albeit Bumgarner struck against himself. Wilin Rosario’s lead off single preceded a throwing error by Bumgarner, who hesitantly looped a wide throw to Brandon Crawford. In retrospect, a good throw would have produced a fairly basic double play. Instead, the Rockies had runners on second and third with no outs. Bumgarner struck out D. J. LeMahieu, but Jordan Pacheco’s grounder scored Rosario.
The theme of the road trip made its inevitable appearance in the third inning: errors. Pablo Sandoval’s wide throw set up a big Rockies inning. Eric Young Jr. advanced to second, as the throw sent two fielders chasing after the ball that rolled down the right field line.
Following the costly error, Dexter Fowler singled for a bunt that Bumgarner couldn’t handle. And cue the theme again, as Angel Pagan fielded Carlos Gonzalez’s single cleanly, but his throw to third base bounced into foul territory, which enabled Young to score and Gonzalez to advanced to third. The final blow was Troy Tulowitzki’s RBI single, plating Gonzalez.
Pagan’s error was wrong on both the physical and mental spectrum. Obviously, his throw was far too wide, but he probably could have done without forcing the throw to third with a speedy baserunner at full speed.
To be sure, a three-run third inning chewed at Bumgarner’s pitch count–22 pitches, to be exact. The fifth inning was even worse. The lefty needed 30 pitches, which didn’t even get him through the inning after Jordan Pacheco hit a booming grand slam into the left field bleachers.
Bumgarner can’t blame his fifth inning hiccups on defense. He allowed two straight batters to reach base to start the inning. Rosario added another single and RBI to his stat line with one out. With one out, Bumgarner struck out Nolan Arenado with runners on second and third. But he walked LeMahieu, loading the bases for Pacheco, and the rest was history.
Offense: Comeback Bid Falls Short
The Giants built an early lead off Jorge De La Rosa, who hadn’t allowed a run at Coors Field all year, on the strength of a three-run third inning.
Marco Scutaro collected one of his three singles in the first inning, extending his hitting steak to 16 games. Sandoval followed with a double, and Buster Posey scored Scutaro with a sacrifice fly.
San Francisco delivered a big punch in the second inning. Brett Pill iniated the action with a bloop hit down the right field line that Eric Young Jr. couldn’t wholly corral. As Young searched for the ball, Pill took second for a double, and would score on Brandon Crawford’s RBI single.
Bumgarner chipped in with a single, and there was Scutaro again, singling home Crawford with a low line drive. Capping off the frame was Sandoval, who sharply lined an RBI single into right field, making the score 4-0.
Sandoval’s second of three hits broke a 4-4 tie during the fourth inning. Angel Pagan’s lengthy at-bat eventually drew a walk, and he stole himself into scoring position for Sandoval, who, again, used the opposite field (he was hitting right-handed).
Colorado’s rally put the Giants in a 10-5 hole, but they didn’t go down without a battle.
Posey drew a lead off walk from Edgmer Escalona in the seventh inning. Just a handful of pitches later, Hunter Pence laced a single down the right field line that scored Posey and allowed Pence to coast into third base with a triple. Without much time to catch his breath, he scored on Escalona’s wild pitch, closing the score to 10-7.
Pill followed Pence with a double, which was quite the opposite of his first hit. His sinking line drive clanked low off the left field wall, and he would score on Joaquin Arias’ pinch-hit single.
With the momentum gradually switching dugouts, Fowler dove to rob Pagan of an RBI single that would’ve made the score 10-9. Instead, the momentum instantly jumped back to Colorado’s dugout.
Posey inched the Giants close with a solo home run in the eighth inning, but the Giants couldn’t solve Rafael Betancourt in the ninth inning.
Bullpen: Kontos Yields the Difference-Maker
The Giants’ bullpen did well to keep the game close. They combined to pitch 3.1 innings while allowing just one run.
Unfortunately for the Giants, that one mistake was the difference, as Carlos Gonzalez took George Kontos deep in the sixth inning for a 10-5 advantage.
Santiago Casilla made his first appearance in nine days when Bruce Bochy called upon him to pitch the ninth. He caused chaos, walking two and throwing a wild pitch. He came up clutch, though, striking out Fowler, who left the bases loaded.