AT&T Park had a Coors Field-esque feeling on Tuesday night. The Giants and Rockies combined for three home runs, but more Coors Field-like, the Rockies came roaring back from a 6-0 deficit in the fourth inning, coughed up the lead in the eighth, but took it back over in the ninth.
The key cog in Colorado’s comeback? Michael Cuddyer: two home runs, three RBI.
Not to be outdone by a fellow right fielder, Hunter Pence produced six RBI, three on a three-run blast in the first inning, one on a fourth-inning double and two on a game-tying, two-run single in the eighth.
Cuddyer, however, got the last laugh. His ninth-inning solo home run off Sergio Romo gave the Rockies a 9-8 lead after Pence tied the game. Earlier, Cuddyer’s fifth-inning blast inched the Rockies to within one run, 5-6.
Ryan Vogelsong’s final line doesn’t scream dominance, and he wasn’t. But through four innings, he had allowed no runs against three scattered hits. Then came the fifth inning. With fluctuating effectiveness on his off-speed pitches, the Rockies tagged Vogelsong for five hits, equating to five runs.
Nolan Arenado’s single started it all. Arenado was sent back to the dugout after Charlie Blackmon grounded into a fielder’s choice. The wheels hadn’t merely started spinning for the Rockies yet, as Jordan Pacheco doubled. Chris Dickerson and D. J. LeMahieu both collected RBI singles to slowly erase the Giants’ lead.
The real punch was, of course, Cuddyer’s three-run homer that traveled halfway up the bleachers. Bruce Bochy, pacing around the dugout, elected to keep Vogelsong in the game. Even after Troy Tulowitzki whacked a line drive to a leaping Pablo Sandoval before Cuddyer dug in, Bochy didn’t go to the bullpen, instead keeping Vogelsong’s leaking arsenal in the game.
Jose Mijares replaced Vogelsong in the sixth, but Mijares didn’t last long. He tossed three pitches and yielded a single to Todd Helton before Bochy trotted out to the mound, calling on Jean Machi to stop the bleeding. He didn’t.
Charlie Blackmon doubled, scoring Helton, who advanced to second on Arenado’s sacrifice bunt. Pinch-hitting for Rob Scahill, Ryan Wheeler plated Blackmon with an RBI single. Machi induced a pop out before walking LeMahieu, which prompted Bochy to make another move.
George Kontos got the call this time. He carefully pitched around Tulowitzki to load up the bases. And up came Cuddyer with a chance to throw a harder punch, but he grounded out to Kontos.
Brandon Belt led off the sixth with a walk. Buster Posey struck out, but Pence chopped a slow roller to Arenado, who couldn’t get a good feel on the ball. With runners on first and second, Sandoval sharply lined out to left, and Joaquin Arias grounded out to third.
The same situation surfaced before the Rockies’ big fifth, and it included the same result–a weak groundout to third base.
As the Giants coughed up opportunities, the Rockies added a run in the eighth inning on LeMahieu’s sharply hit sacrifice fly off Jake Dunning.
Vogelsong ended up giving up five runs on eight hits in five innings. His five innings of work didn’t include any strikeouts, though. It also didn’t include many intimidating heaters, as the righty’s fastball barely topped 89 mph.
The latter portion of Pence’s career night was most significant. After Scutaro singled and Belt doubled, Buster Posey’s ground ball to third base couldn’t get the job done. That left it up to Pence, and he blooped a soft fly ball into shallow center field, scoring both Scutaro and Belt.