By Jack Etkin and Owen Perkins
Special to MLB.com |
DENVER -- After 4 1/2 innings of a two-hit pitchers' duel, the Rockies' offense erupted with a nine-run fifth inning en route to an 11-6 victory over the Giants on Thursday in the rubber game at Coors Field.
Colorado moved above .500 for the first time since starting the homestand last Friday.
"It was nice to see us keep adding on, because the Giants are one of the better come-from-behind teams in the game," manager Walt Weiss said. "They've done it several times this year. I think we scored six or seven runs with two outs. Those were all big hits."
Rockies starter Jorge De La Rosa was in rare form, collecting more hits at the plate than he allowed from the mound for his first six innings, yielding only one unearned run on one hit before losing effectiveness in the seventh.
Denard Span led off the Giants' fourth with the first hit against De La Rosa, a bloop single to center. Span moved to second when Angel Pagan walked, advanced to third on De La Rosa's fielding error, then came home on a wild pitch to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.
Matt Cain pitched four strong innings of one-hit ball before unraveling in the fifth, giving up six of the Rockies' nine runs that inning on a walk, two singles, two doubles, and Gerardo Parra's home run. It was the most runs the Giants had allowed in one frame since a nine-run fourth against the Cardinals on April 7, 2013. Cain was also on the mound to start that inning and gave up all nine runs.
"He was throwing well," Giants manager Bruch Bochy said of Cain prior to the fifth inning. "Really good stuff. The whole inning caught up with him. I just couldn't take any risks there once he got up with his pitches. I hate to go get him, but after the long at-bat with [Carlos] Gonzalez, I didn't want to take any chances.
"He's healthy now, and we need to keep him healthy. Their pitcher got a big hit there for them and kept the inning going. We just couldn't stop the inning, is what killed us."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Rally time: The Rockies sent 13 batters to the plate in the fifth and scored nine runs on eight hits. Parra led the inning off with his first homer with the Rockies to tie the game. Tony Wolters singled on a 10-pitch at-bat vs. Cain and stole his first career base, putting two runners in scoring position for De La Rosa, who plated them with a single to right. Carlos Gonzalez drew an eight-pitch walk from Cain, who was then pulled after 91 pitches. Nolan Arenado, who had a career-high seven RBIs on Wednesday night, greeted Chris Heston with a double off the left-field wall, and Mark Reynolds hit a three-run double, his second double of the inning. Ben Paulsen's run-scoring single capped the frame. More >
Break on through: The Giants finally got to De La Rosa in the seventh, chasing him from the game with two runs on three hits. Hunter Pence singled to right to end a stretch of nine straight batters retired. Brandon Belt tripled into the right-field corner, and scored on a double from pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza before Justin Miller came in to end the inning. The rally got the Giants off the mat and kept them within striking distance as the game tightened again late.
"The guys did a good job of fighting back," Bochy said. "We got within three there."
Fifth inning takes a toll:Brandon Crawford's left hip flexor flared up on him when he took the relay throw on the bases-loaded double by Reynolds. Crawford whirled to make a throw at the plate, stopping short when he realized that he had no chance on the throw.
"He was about halfway home -- that's what caused it I think, was stopping," Crawford said. "It's a little tightness. Shouldn't be too bad. Probably affects me at the plate more than in the field. I think that's why I came out, just to make sure it's not something that lingers.
"If we were playing a football game tomorrow, I'd be questionable. I don't make the lineup. I could have been questionable before that."
Adrianza pinch-hit and came in at shortstop in the eighth, but he also left the game after fouling a ball off his left foot. Initial tests showed nothing was wrong, and he said he'll test it on Friday to see if he can play.
"We've been through this many times in this ballpark. They're long games. It's something you know you're going to have to deal with. You're going to give up more runs. The nine-run inning kills you. Little things in that inning came back to get us. But you've got to put this behind you. We got a big series tomorrow [against the Dodgers]. These guys -- it's a tough group. They'll bounce back." -- Bochy
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
In 53 career games against the Giants, Arenado, who homered twice and had a career-high seven RBIs on Wednesday night, is hitting .308 (65-for-211) with 16 doubles, one triple, 16 home runs and 47 RBIs.
Weiss challenged a safe call at first base with two out in the seventh after Kelby Tomlinson reached for a single. Tomlinson knocked a one-hopper off reliever Miller, who picked up the ball and fired to first. After a review, the call was confirmed, keeping the rally alive. The next batter, Span, delivered a seeing-eye single into left to add a run and Pagan singled to left to load the bases for Buster Posey. Posey grounded to third, and although Arenado's throw was wild and brought first baseman Reynolds to the ground, Reynolds was able to reach up with his glove and tag a leaping Posey for the final out.
Umpire Gerry Davis issued a crew chief challenge a half-inning later when Belt was ruled to have doubled off the left-field wall with none out and a man on first. Upon review, the ruling was overturned, and Belt was credited with a two-run homer to bring the Giants within three.
WHAT'S NEXT Giants:Madison Bumgarner (1-0, 3.27 ERA) will toe the rubber in the series opener on Friday at 7:10 p.m. PT in a rematch with Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw following their Saturday matchup in San Francisco. Bumgarner allowed one run on six hits over six innings, and he even homered off Kershaw, but the Dodgers came back to win after Bumgarner's departure.
Rockies:Chad Bettis (1-0, 4.38) will start on Friday in the series opener with the Cubs at Wrigley Field at 12:20 p.m. MT. Bettis is coming off a very good outing last Sunday against the Padres when he allowed two runs, one earned, and six hits in seven innings as the Rockies won, 6-3, to avoid getting swept in a three-game series.
The Giants and Rockies will join all of Major League Baseball in celebrating Jackie Robinson Day on Friday.