By Morris Phillips
For the second time in 12 days, the Giants are digesting a bitter, extra-inning loss to the Rockies.
Chris Iannetta’s base hit off Hunter Strickland in the bottom of the 10th scored Nolan Arenado to win it, but a whole bunch transpired in this one across the 314 pitches before Iannetta’s walk off single.
The Giants had an opportunity to win it in the top of the 10th when Evan Longoria and Brandon Crawford delivered back-to-back base hits. But closer Bryan Shaw steadied, retiring Austin Jackson, Kelby Tomlinson and Gregor Blanco on ground balls to end the threat. The Giants had plenty of other opportunities as they stranded 10 of the 12 baserunners they placed in scoring position.
Ultimately, the Giants blew a 2-0, first inning lead, and a 5-4 lead they carried into the eighth inning. That second lead was the first the Giants have blown after the seventh inning all season, as they fell to 21-1 when leading that late in a ballgame.
And the Giants failed to win when scoring four runs or more as well, falling to 23-5 in those situations.
“We did what we were hoping to do (which is) create those situations you like,” said manager Bruce Bochy.
Just five games into a 19-game oddysey with the rival Rockies, the Giants can’t afford to concede much more the first place Rockies, who remain a 1 1/2 games ahead of the faltering Diamondbacks, and increased their lead to four games over the Giants. The NL West has been a haven for struggling clubs over the last month with Arizona coming back to the pack, but that appears to be changing with the fourth place Dodgers playing well, and the Rockies stringing together a pair of important wins.
“This is an opponent that we respect,” Rockies manager Bud Black said of the Giants. “This is a team in our division that is made up of a lot of veteran players. It’s a good team. It’s well run. And they’re hard fought games.”
Rookie Andrew Suarez started his first ever game at Coors Field, which afterwards he likened to a Pacific Coast League venue with its prodigious dimensions and propensity for offensive mayhem. But Suarez acquitted himself quite well outside of a hanging breaking ball served up to Trevor Story, who deposited into the left field bleachers for a three-run shot that wiped out the Giants 2-0 lead in the first inning.
But from that point, Suarez steadied, pitching five innings, allowing four runs (three earned) while striking out seven.
The game was delayed by rain for 55 minutes. When it started, both pitchers had early struggles, but Colorado’s Chad Bettis found his way out a situation that could have landed the Rockies in a huge, early hole.