The Giants lost to the Rockies 4-1 tonight as their bats fell flat against Kyle Freeland and the Rockies bullpen.
It was a bullpen game for the Giants, ultimately, with Sammy Long starting, but lasting only two innings after allowing a home run to C.J. Cron. Zack Littell was a bright spot in an otherwise dull game, going three innings with zero runs or hits, walking one and striking out four. José Álvarez pitched a clean inning and two thirds as well.
But the damage came primarily when Dominic Leone came in to relieve Littell in the sixth. He allowed a leadoff single to Brendan Rodgers, followed by a double to Trevor Story before walking Charlie Blackmon to load the bases with no outs. Cron hit a ball up the middle that could maybe have been turned for a double play, but Crawford was only able to get the out at second. This brought in Álvarez, who induced what really should have been a double play ball from Ryan McMahon, but was fumbled by Donovan Solano, allowing all runners to reach and Story to score. Álvarez got a couple of lineouts after that, but the damage was done.
In the top of the eighth, Jarlin García, with runners on the corners, got a groundout from McMahon, which was fielded by Brandon Crawford, who tagged out Story but couldn’t make the play at first to end the inning, which allowed Story to score again for the Rockies’ fourth run of the night.
Most other nights lately, that wouldn’t be a problem. But the Giants just couldn’t seem to buy a hit with runners in scoring position. They hit into double plays three innings in a row.
A personal aside: I, for one, would like to thank the Giants for easing me back into the recap business. Tonight’s offense felt a lot like the 2019 offense, and it kind of felt like I’d never left. While you don’t love to see it, I guess I appreciate the gesture.
The Giants did score one run in the second inning, thankfully. It was Star Wars Night at the park, and Evan Longoria, in his first at bat back from his stint on the injured list, used the Force (aka the wind) to will a foul ball to transform into a single. Wilmer Flores followed that up with a walk, and Solano gets a pass on his later error for hitting a ball up the middle through a gap between Rodgers and Story to score Longoria. It was at this point that Long was removed from the game, to allow Alex Dickerson an opportunity to do some damage, with two runners on. But, alas, it was not to be.
Which was a theme of the night. The Giants threw everyone they had at both Freeland and the bullpen, but couldn’t get anything going with runners in scoring position. Freeland ended the night after six innings, with five hits, one run, two walks and six strikeouts. Jhoulys Chacín and Daniel Bard pitched the final three innings, allowing a combined two hits and one walk, striking out three.
While it wasn’t a good night for any of the Giants, offensively, it was particularly rough for Austin Slater, who was pulled after three at bats, two of which he struck out and a third in which he hit into a double play. Not that he was alone in that, the other two were hit into by Longoria and a pinch hitting Brandon Belt, but Slater really needed a better night, as he’s fighting to keep his spot during the current roster shuffles.
Ultimately, a loss after a six game winning streak isn’t the end of the world. But a loss on a day when the Dodgers win stinks. And a loss on a night Duane Kuiper was in the booth is just an all out bummer.
The series wraps tomorrow and the Giants hope to close it out with a win before welcoming the Mets on Monday.