Giants battle the Rockies, persistent rain, only to come up one run short 4-3


By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–After an unscheduled interruption during the national anthem, five extra base hits and six runs in a first inning played in a vigorous downpour, and the groundskeeping crew’s constant resuscitating of the playing surface, the hearty fans that braved it all had to feel they were into an epic afternoon of topsy, turvy baseball injected with frequent scoring.

Instead the rain eased, the pitching soared, and the scoring all but drived up.  And the hero of the afternoon didn’t tote a bat, but carried a catcher’s glove and assisted on a putout at first base.  But what a play.

With the Giants threating to push across the tying run in the sixth, Brandon Crawford hit a dribbler up the line that figuratively died. But Tony Wolters shed his mask, raced to the ball, took airborne, and unleashed an accurate flip to first baseman Mark Reynolds for the out. SportsCenter? You bet.

Take away the moisture and Wolters’ gymnastics, and the Giants’ issue of  the moment– scoring too few runs–couldn’t have been more apparent.  Jeff Samardzija, who fell to 0-3 after the Giants’ 4-3 loss, allowed three of those runs in his first 15 pitches.  With the Giants’ offense sputtering for the majority of the afternoon, Samardzija’s early hiccup couldn’t be overcome.

“We need to figure out a way to scratch one or two across when we need them to close the gap,” Samardzija said. “That comes from not letting runs in early, so you can take the lead.”

The Giants fell to 5-8 on the season with the loss, with a trip to Kansas City to face the Royals up next.  The Rockies grabbed three of four in the series and improved to 8-5.

The rain left the field waterlogged, especially along the tracks and in the corners.  But the Giants’ groundskeeping crew worked tirelessly to minimize the moisture only to be thanklessly chased off the field at points by the time conscious umpires.  The rain was its most intense in the first two innings. It eased after that, but never ceased.

The Giants haven’t experienced a rain out at home in 10 years with the last one coming in 2006 against the Astros. By comparison, the A’s did rain out with their home game set to start at the same time as the Giants.  But with the Warriors hosting a playoff game next door, and far fewer A’s tickets sold that Giants’ tickets, economics may have explained the team’s different approaches to the weather, more so than the Giants’ more reliable field drainage system.

Petaluma’s Madeline Haedt sang the national anthem, and did so flawlessly until an unscheduled interruption half way through.  But after gathering herself, and clearing her throat, she finished flawlessly as well.

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