By Morris Phillips
The Giants offense has gone from feeble to fantastic in less than a week, led by early MVP candidates Donovan Solano and Mike Yastrzemski.
Now if only the Giants’ pitching and defense could make the same dramatic leap.
Currently, the Colorado Rockies are serving up the NL West’s best combination of the critical, baseball elements, the latest example their come-from-behind, 7-6 win over the Giants at Coors Field on Monday.
The Giants jumped out to 4-1 lead in the fifth inning behind Johnny Cueto only to see the Rockies explode for five runs in the sixth to seize control. Colorado added a run in the eighth, then held on when the Giants rallied for a pair of runs in the ninth, leaving the tying run stranded at third base.
In the end, the Giants could only blame themselves and their inability to record big outs, along with less than stellar defense.
“It’s really important we tighten up our play, we play catch and make the plays, particularly in one-run games at a Coors Field,” manager Gabe Kapler said.
Nolan Arenado homered with Charlie Blackmon aboard to cut the Giants lead to 4-3 which ended Cueto’s evening two batters into the sixth. Despite the hiccup, Cueto proved again to be the master of the huge park and its mile high elevation. At that point, Cueto had done his part in a potential sixth team win in his seven starts as a Giant at Coors.
Reliever Wandy Peralta allowed Ryan McMahon’s drive to right that Alex Dickerson bobbled and dropped on the warning track for a triple. Matt Kemp’s single tied it, and subsequent base hits by Chris Owings and David Dahl gave the Rockies a two-run cushion.
Dickerson again contributed to the Rockies’ rally with an errant throw that forced catcher Chadwick Tromp to vacate his position as Kemp and Owings crossed the plate on Dahl’s hit. Kapler penciled in Dickerson for only his second start as a right fielder only to see the decision backfire with the miscues.
“Honestly I bet Dick makes that (catch) 19 out of 20 times,” Kapler said. “The throw, I bet he makes almost every time. There’s no question.”
Home runs by Tromp, Yastrzemski and Dickerson were squandered in the loss. The Giants have hit 10 home runs in their last six ballgames, a stretch in which the team has gone 3-3.
Pitcher Andrew Suarez was recalled before the game, and Andrew Triggs, who had a rough outing on Sunday, was optioned. The Giants have not announced a starter for any of the three, remaining games in Denver, the start of a 10-game, three-city, road trip that continues to Los Angeles and Houston.
Longtime KNBR talk host Ralph Barbieri passed away Monday after a long battle with Parkinson’s. The 74-year old Barbieri spent 28 years at KNBR, the last 15 with co-host Tom Tolbert, and was well known for his razor-sharp wit.