The San Francisco Giants wrapped up a disappointing home stand on Sunday with a loss to the Colorado Rockies. With the victory, Colorado captured its first win of a four game series at AT&T Park (formerly Pac Bell Park, and later SBC Park) in franchise history.
San Francisco’s dreary week saw catcher Buster Posey head to the 7-day disabled list with a concussion, and left fielder Jarrett Parker go down for 8-10 weeks with a broken clavicle. Tougher still, the Giants’ extended family suffered two losses during the week; Mirian Cepeda, wife of Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda, and Jennifer Pippin, Brandon Crawford’s sister in law.
Today, a heavy blanket of rain settled over the field during the opening innings. Umbrellas dotted the stands. Center fielder Charlie Blackman led off the game by sending a fly ball through the mizzling rain and over the center field wall. Then D.J. LaMahieu singled, Nolan Arenado hit an RBI double, and Carlos Gonzalez followed with a double of his own. Just like that, Colorado led 3-0 . The home run was Blackman’s first leadoff homer of the season. He led the league with 10 such bombs in 2016.
Most of Colorado’s hard hit balls off Samardzija were misses up in the zone. Missing up can be a symptom of a wet baseball, given that they can slip upon delivery and often have a tendency to sail. But Samardzija insisted that poor conditions didn’t cause his early wildness.
“I’m not going to make any excuses,” Samardzija said, when asked of the weather affected his warm-up.
The Giants countered the Rockies’ early assault with three runs of their own. Denard Span led off the inning with a double, then Brandon Belt singled, putting runners at the corners for Hunter Pence. Pence hit a sac fly to right that scored Span from third. That brought up the red hot Brandon Crawford, who connected for a triple into the muddy right field corner and plated Belt. Finally, Nick Hundley lofted a sac fly to center, scoring Crawford and tying the game.
The Rockies responded with one run in the second inning. Tony Walters singled and a sac bunt by the pitcher moved him to second. Blackman then grounded out to first, allowing Walters to move to third. Then LaMahieu delivered a two out, RBI single and the go ahead run. It would prove to be all the scoring power Colorado would need to win.
Samardzija wound up pitching seven innings and striking out eight, however, his early command issues proved enough to earn him his third loss of the season.
“It doesn’t matter how it goes early,” Samardzija said. “You have to put it behind you and move on.”
Sounds like a soundbite for the whole home stand.
The Giants offense was stifled by Rockies starter Antonio Senzatela, who went seven strong innings. The only Giants baserunner to reach scoring position after their three run first was Hundley, who led off the seventh with a double, but was left stranded. Mike Dunn and Adam Ottavino combined to pitch a scoreless eighth before handing the ball to Greg Holland. Holland threw a perfect ninth and earned his seventh save of the season.
“We had some pretty good at-bats there, but it comes down to executing at the end of the game,” Manager Bruce Bochy said. “The (Rockies) have a tough bullpen. That bullpen is throwing as well as any team in baseball.”