With the possible exception of Madison Bumgarner's horseback ride along the warning track, Butler stole the show in San Francisco's home opener. He lasted only 5 1/3 innings, but stranded 11 baserunners before Rockies relievers retired 11 of 12 Giants hitters.
"He had a lot of movement on his fastball," second baseman Joe Panik said, "and he threw a hard changeup like a fastball. It starts like a fastball and then it drops."
Third baseman Matt Duffy concurred. "It had some good downward action to it," he said of Butler's changeup.
Duffy also noticed that Butler, who threw only 47 strikes in 93 pitches, might have benefited from his inaccuracy by preventing Giants hitters from settling in the box.
"He was almost effectively wild, especially with runners in scoring position," Duffy said.
The Giants, who have lost four consecutive games, are 3-for-33 with runners in scoring position in their last five games. That's a ratio they obviously hope to improve.
"It was encouraging that we had a lot of traffic," Duffy said.
Invoking the need for the proverbial big hit, Duffy added, "Hopefully, once we do get that hit, it kick-starts everybody."
Panik nearly recorded that hit, but his sixth-inning liner with two outs and Brandon Crawford on second base darted directly into the glove of Colorado first baseman Justin Morneau.
"I hit it right on the screws," Panik said. "Actually, I hoped it would short-hop him so it would kick away."
The Giants played without right fielder Hunter Pence, who remains on the disabled list with a fractured left forearm, and without third baseman Casey McGehee, who's nursing a bone bruise on his left leg. But Giants manager Bruce Bochy saw no point in discussing absent players.
"We had a good lineup out there," he said.