Instant Replay: Giants come up just short

Instant Replay: Giants come up just short
May 17, 2013, 9:00 pm
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Jordan Pacheco hit a tiebreaking grand slam off a laboring Bumgarner with two outs in the fifth inning. (AP IMAGES)

BOX SCORE

DENVER – You could argue that Giants manager Bruce Bochy made a mistake and left Madison Bumgarner on the mound for one pitch too many. You’d have some ammunition to back you up.

Either way, that’s a subjective matter. More objective, and objectionable, were the four errors the Giants committed in the first three innings that allowed the Colorado Rockies to rally back from a four-run deficit.

Jordan Pacheco hit a tiebreaking grand slam off a laboring Bumgarner with two outs in the fifth inning, and the Rockies finally managed to snap their 10-game losing streak to their division rivals. Bumgarner was charged with a career-high nine runs in the Giants’ 10-9 loss at Coors Field.

Game time: Three hours, 48 minutes.

Starting pitching report

If anyone on the Giants staff has earned a longer rope to try for a win, it’s Bumgarner. He entered with a 2.18 ERA amid an underachieving rotation that has the third highest earned-run average in the National League.

But all the earlier errors cost him pitches, and he was really laboring to get through the beefy part of Colorado’s lineup in the fifth.

Three of the first four batters reached, with Wilin Rosario’s RBI single erasing the Giants’ 5-4 lead. Bumgarner appeared to be overthrowing at times and tripped as he landed during one delivery. After walking D.J. LeMahieu to load the bases, Bumgarner had thrown 30 pitches in the inning and 101 in all.

But completing five innings would put Bumgarner in line for a decision, should the Giants push ahead in the sixth and hold on from there. And if Bochy is giving a long leash to struggling starters like Ryan Vogelsong …

The good-faith decision backfired with one pitch. Pacheco crushed his slam – the first one Bumgarner had allowed in his career, surprisingly.

And just like that, Bumgarner (4-2) set a career high with nine runs allowed. Seven of them were earned.

His ERA plumped up to 3.09; the Giants rotation ended the day with a 4.69 ERA – 13th out of 15 NL clubs.

Enough with the mild shock. Time for the really scary stuff.

Isolating the four games on this road trip, the Giants rotation has done this: 18.2 innings, 34 hits, 31 runs (21 earned runs), 6 home runs. That computes to a 10.13 ERA – with 10 more unearned runs on top of that!

Bullpen report

It’s never mop-up time at Coors Field, where big innings are always threatening to spill over and comebacks are always possible.

The bullpen allowed just one run in 3 1/3 innings, when Carlos Gonzalez hit a solo shot off George Kontos in the sixth.

Santiago Casilla came on to pitch the eighth – his first appearance in nine days. He’d thrown twice off a mound with his new knee brace, and while he did manage a scoreless inning, he did his share of meandering. He walked two, threw a wild pitch and allowed one single, but struck out Dexter Fowler to strand the bases loaded.

At the plate

Jorge De La Rosa hadn’t given up a run in his previous two starts. He hadn’t allowed a run at Coors Field all season.

But the Giants managed to hang four runs on him by the second inning.

Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval started one rally and finished the other. Scutaro extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a single in the first inning, he took third on Sandoval’s double and Buster Posey followed with a sacrifice fly to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.

They scored three more in the second inning after Brett Pill’s bloop double barely eluded Eric Young Jr.’s diving attempt near the right field line. Brandon Crawford’s single scored Pill, Bumgarner singled to left field, and with two out, Scutaro fouled off a pair of two-strike pitches before digging out a curveball for an RBI single that dropped in right field. Incredibly, it marked the ninth time in 10 games that Scutaro had collected multiple hits.

Sandoval followed with another RBI single to complete the rally. Later, after the Rockies tied it, the Panda gave the Giants another lead with his third hit of the night.  After Angel Pagan walked and stole second base in the fourth inning, Sandoval laid off a tough, two-strike pitch, fouled off two more, then stung a line drive to right field that put the Giants up 5-4.

Pacheco’s slam put the Giants in a familiar position, and they did not go quietly despite trailing 10-5 entering the seventh. Running the bases a bit more aggressively that the scoreboard might have suggested, they scored three runs and nearly did more damage.

Posey drew a leadoff walk from Edgmer Escalona and probably needed to hit the oxygen bottle after scoring on Hunter Pence’s triple. Pence didn’t hesitate when a pitch got away, bull-rushing the plate and ramming into Escalona with a hard slide. Escalona never secured the ball, and angrily fired it into the Rockies dugout once he got to his feet.

Pill followed with a double and third base coach Tim Flannery aggressively sent him to the plate on Joaquin Arias’ pinch single, which made it 10-8. Arias also took second base when the throw wasn’t cut off.

But Fowler stopped the inning for the Rockies before it went off the precipice, making a full-extension dive to catch Angel Pagan’s liner to center field.

Posey hit a solo home run in the eighth inning and the Giants got the tying run into scoring position when Pence followed with a two-out double. But Pill grounded out, and the Giants couldn’t crack Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt in the ninth.

Scutaro finished with three hits. He’s sporting a .485 average (32 for 66) over a 16-game hitting streak. And he’s notched multiple hits in nine of his last 10 games.

In field

When Pagan airmailed a throw from center field in the third, it was the Giants’ fourth inning of the game – and their ninth in just their 28th defensive inning of this road trip.

Here’s the unabridged compendium of Giants errors on the trip: Sandoval, Pagan, Scutaro, Pagan, Crawford, Scutaro, Bumgarner, Sandoval, Pagan.

Scutaro might want to invest in a coating of pine tar in his glove. A familiar problem cropped up when another pop fly squirted out of his glove for an error in the first inning.

Bumgarner pitched around it, but the left-hander created his own mess in the second inning after Rosario singled and Nolan Arenado hit a comebacker. Bumgarner’s throw to second base would’ve been wide even if Manute Bol were sliding over to cover. The wild toss went into center field, moved both runners into scoring position, and Bumgarner did well to hold the Rockies to just one (unearned) run.

The errors kept on coming in the third, though. Sandoval had trouble getting to his feet after he hit the grass while stopping Young’s grounder. The third baseman had no chance to get the speedy runner, but he heaved a desperation throw anyway. It was wide, allowing Young to take second base.

Fowler followed with a bunt single, reaching the bag at the same instant as the throw. Gonzalez followed with a single to center, and Pagan made a throw that had shades of an early Sammy Sosa. Pagan was trying to nab Fowler going from first to third but his throw was so strong and so wild, it bounced off the dirt in front of the Giants dugout and went into the stands.

Fowler was awarded the plate, Gonzalez took third and Tulowitzki followed with a single that tied the game.

Attendance

The Rockies announced 43,365 paid. Conjecture: Not a single Edgmer Escalona jersey was sold in the team store.

Up next

The Giants continue their four-game series at Coors Field Saturday night. Tim Lincecum (3-2, 4.07 ERA) takes the ball – hopefully not a juiced one – against right-hander Tyler Chatwood (1-0, 3.00). First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. PDT.

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