Giants end season with 6-3 loss to Rockies

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Giants end season with 6-3 loss to Rockies

Editor's Note: Watch the Giants end-of-the-season press conference with manager Bruce Bochy and GM Brian Sabean Thursday at 10 a.m. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, and streaming on CSNBayArea.com!BOX SCORE
SAN FRANCISCO -- Each of the San Francisco Giants walked back onto the field after the final out and gathered near the pitching mound to offer their gratitude.What a drastically different encore than a year ago. No follow-up postseason run for the defending World Series champions to provide an extra month of thrilling baseball for the Bay Area.Kevin Kouzmanoff had three hits and drove in two runs, and the Colorado Rockies sent the Giants into an early offseason, beating San Francisco 6-3 on Wednesday."This series, we weren't in it and we knew we were at home, but one of the most impressive things I've seen in baseball were the fans in this series. We felt this was a playoff type of situation, that's how much they were into it," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's really overwhelming to see that kind of support."Even if the Giants didn't win on the last day here the way they did last September to capture that elusive division crown in dramatic fashion. Even if most of the regulars were on the bench or nursing injuries.Drew Pomeranz (2-1) outpitched fellow rookie Eric Surkamp (2-2) in their second matchup in two weeks and Jordan Pacheco added a pair of RBI singles for the Rockies, who snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Giants.San Francisco (86-76) wound up in second place in the NL West behind playoff-bound Arizona, becoming the first defending champion not to make the playoffs since the 2007 St. Louis Cardinals.This year, the remaining castoffs and misfits who grabbed everybody's hearts last October couldn't get it done in San Francisco's quest to repeat.That didn't keep the sellout crowd of 41,873 from taking every last chance to cheer the 2010 champs.Mark DeRosa hit a two-run single in what was likely his last game for the Giants."If I can keep playing, I'm going to keep doing that," DeRosa said. "If I can't, I'm going to take a break and be a stay-at-home dad for a minute."Departing Giants managing partner Bill Neukom received a rousing standing ovation and a "THANK YOU BILL" tribute on the center-field scoreboard before the seventh inning. Newly promoted CEO Larry Baer likely will begin discussions soon with general manager Brian Sabean about a contract extension.Pat Burrell, contemplating retirement if his troublesome right foot doesn't fully heal, ran in from left field to a standing ovation before the start of the seventh. An emotional Burrell hugged and high-fived his teammates and came back out of the dugout for a curtain call, waving to the fans while fighting tears."The thought that this might be the last day kind of took over," said Burrell, who won World Series rings in Philadelphia and San Francisco. "If I have certain restraints, I would (try to play). But the reality is, I don't know if I can. I'm going to take some time and see how it feels."This was a drastic difference for San Francisco on the final day a year after the club clinched the NL West and the franchise's first playoff berth since 2003 by beating the rival San Diego Padres. That led to an improbable postseason run and the first championship for the Giants since moving West from New York in 1958.On Wednesday, Bochy replaced slugger Carlos Beltran in the fifth inning, calling him in from right field and inserting Andres Torres. Beltran finished with a .300 batting average after he went 0 for 2. He is eligible for free agency after joining the Giants in a July 28 trade with the New York Mets."I appreciate that from him," Beltran said of Bochy's gesture.It was a disappointing day for the Rockies (73-89), too. They had plans - and, on paper, all the talent - to make a run at the division title.These two clubs were considered strong contenders to win the West when the season began back in April, and both have busy winters ahead: Among the Rockies' top priorities is acquiring a front-line starter, while the Giants again need a big bat.Bochy and Rockies manager Jim Tracy went with young lineups to evaluate who might make an impact come 2012.San Francisco's lineup featured only one starter from opening day in Burrell and only two players who were even on the 25-man roster on March 31 at Dodger Stadium: Burrell and DeRosa.San Francisco lost reigning NL Rookie of the Year Buster Posey to a devastating season-ending leg injury in a home-plate collision with Florida's Scott Cousins on May 25 and also went without second baseman Freddy Sanchez because of a shoulder injury that required surgery.Bochy made a late switch to Surkamp in the finale, resting workhorse Matt Cain on the final day.Many Rockies regulars sat out, too. No injured Carlos Gonzalez or Troy Tulowitzki, the two stars who received hefty new contracts last winter. Todd Helton is hurt, too.The Rockies completed their seven-game road trip at 3-4, bouncing back from a 7-0 shutout a night earlier to avoid a sweep."You always want to get a win to end the season, especially against the Giants," center fielder Dexter Fowler said. "We ended up on a positive note. These aren't the expectations we have for ourselves. At the same time, we want to go out and have fun next year and exceed expectations."Giants left-handed reliever Dan Runzler left the game in the top of the seventh with a strained lat muscle behind his throwing shoulder. He was scheduled for an MRI exam but Runzler said it wasn't considered serious and he should be able to heal with just rest.NOTES: Rafael Betancourt pitched the ninth for his eighth save in 12 chances as Colorado won the final game of the season for the first time since 2007. ... Both teams' hitting coaches are going under the knife soon. Colorado's Carney Lansford needs a full right hip replacement, while Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens of the Giants will undergo surgery on his right knee. ... The Giants' franchise-record attendance at 12-year-old AT&T Park was 3,387,303. The team sold out all 81 home games for the second time in franchise history, also done in 2000 for the first year of the waterfront ballpark. ... DeRosa - along with Oakland A's pitcher Dallas Braden - will serve as guest studio analyst for MLB Network during the postseason.

After Giants' first Coors Field sweep in 15 years, Bochy preaches urgency

After Giants' first Coors Field sweep in 15 years, Bochy preaches urgency

DENVER — Bruce Bochy watched the first two games of this road trip from his home in San Diego and the final three from the top step of the dugout at Coors Field. He did not like what he saw, but at the moment he’s more concerned with what he might hear. 

“What you have to careful of — you can’t let any kind of complacency set in and say, ‘It’s early, we’ll be ok.’ I don’t want to hear that either,” Bochy said. “It’s the old adage that you come out with some sense of urgency. All these games are important. You’ve got to stay away from that attitude, too: ‘We’re not through April yet and have 140-something games left.’ That doesn’t work out.”

Three weeks into the season, nothing is working. The rotation has a 5.02 ERA, the worst in the Majors. The lineup scored 10 runs over a five-game road trip and got shut out twice. The bullpen hasn’t been given many leads with which to make up for the first-week trouble. The defense has been uncharacteristically sloppy. 

It has added up to a 6-13 start, tied for the worst in club history. The Giants have lost six of seven and they’ll head home seven games out of first place. 

“Right now there’s nothing clicking,” Bochy said. “Let’s be honest, this has been a rough start and we’re not very good right now. I’m not saying we’re not very good. We are good, but we’ve got to find a way to come out of this. This was a tough way to end this series. We’ve been through it. I’ve got men out there and that’s when you find a way to get through this. They will.”

Perhaps Monday will bring some fresh blood for the roster. Drew Stubbs appears poised to give the Giants another veteran option should they cut bait with a struggling outfielder. Michael Morse could be an option in left field soon, and if he’s mostly relegated to first, the Giants can put Brandon Belt in the outfield. He looked fine there Sunday while playing both corner spots. 

Those are moves made around the edges of the roster, though. There is no magic bullet coming from the outside, not even Christian Arroyo, who continues to mash at Triple-A. This is a $200 million roster and much of that has been spent on the rotation. Through 13 games, it is the worst in the National League, and the ace was lost to an off-field accident. Sure, the starters have pitched at Chase Field and Coors Field, but on back-to-back days they were dominated by Rockies rookies who make a living here. 

Samardzija could not keep pace with left-hander Kyle Freeland, who sawed off a handful of bats while cruising through seven. Samardzjiza gave up a run early, two more in the fourth on a hanging splitter that was blasted to right, and five in the sixth.

Bochy challenged his starting staff to improve after Saturday’s game. He has not publicly done the same with the lineup, but subtle changes have been made here and there. It is a group that, outside of a couple of players, has lacked energy. Because they don’t hit for power, the Giants are reliant on stringing together rallies. For the fourth time in seven games, the lineup failed to put a runner on base the first time through the order. 

“Even in spring training we had our games where we had trouble getting something going early,” Bochy said. “It’s the fourth or fifth before a hit. Somehow, we’ve got to change that.”

The Giants played Sunday without Jarrett Parker (clavicle) and Denard Span (right shoulder sprain), but for the most part the lineup is healthy. Bochy said he has talked to hitting coach Hensley Meulens about possibly altering pre-game routines, but that seems a cosmetic fix. 

“We’ve talked and we’ve shaken up the lineup, but as you saw today, there’s only so much you can do,” he said. 

Bochy knows there is outside noise regarding the roster. His eyes bulged the other day when asked if Arroyo would get a call-up next week. The Giants do not feel he is quite ready, or that there is a spot for him on the infield. For all the potential bench options waiting at Triple-A, this team's core is set, and it’s not outrageously banged-up compared to the rest of the division. 

The Dodgers, who come into town Monday, have 10 players on the disabled list, including No. 2 starter Rich Hill, second baseman Logan Forsythe, and left fielder Andre Ethier. The Rockies, the best team in the NL West thus far, are off to this start without big offseason acquisition Ian Desmond and young slugger David Dahl. Jon Gray, their opening day starter, went on the DL after facing the Giants in San Francisco. Chad Bettis, a rotation member, is getting treatment for testicular cancer. 

This division is better than expected, and as the end of April approaches, the Giants are bringing up the rear. Bochy’s plea for urgency was one that would have fit right in with last season’s second half. Back then, the Giants could at least lean on a huge start that got them into the postseason. As they flew home Sunday, there was nothing to fall back on but a simple truth.

This is the team. It must play better.

“We have everything we need in this room,” Samardzija said. “Sometimes you need to go out on the field and prove it.”

 

Instant Replay: Giants' struggles continue in sweep from Rockies

Instant Replay: Giants' struggles continue in sweep from Rockies

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DENVER — Bruce Bochy spent about 10 minutes before Sunday’s game talking about potential options in left field and center. The problems for this lineup, however, currently go much deeper than the outfield. 

A day after the Giants managed just four hits off Antonio Senzatela, the bats went completely limp against fellow Rockies rookie Kyle Freeland. The Giants were shut out 8-0, a rarity at Coors Field. They were blanked twice on the road trip and scored just 10 runs during a five-game swing through Kansas City and Denver. 

The sweep at Coors Field was the Giants' first since 2002. At 6-13, they have the worst record in the National League.

For the fourth time in seven games, and third time on this five-game road trip, the Giants went one time through the order without a baserunner. That puts added pressure on your starter, and Jeff Samardzija couldn’t keep it close. Charlie Blackmon hit a leadoff liner to right that was misplayed into a triple and he scored on a sacrifice fly. Gerardo Parra got a spinner down in the zone in the fourth and blasted a two-run shot to right. 

As they did Saturday night, the Rockies pulled away with a huge rally. Nolan Arenado’s infield single and a walk of Carlos Gonzalez set the table in the sixth. Gerardo Parra lined a single to center and all runners advanced when Gorkys Hernandez kicked it. Trevor Story’s single to right was bobbled by Hunter Pence and two more scored. Blackmon’s double made it 8-0.

Starting pitching report: Samardzija was charged with seven earned in 5 1/3 innings. He has a 7.40 ERA through four starts. The starting staff has a 5.02 ERA, the worst in the majors. That won’t play, not when you’ve spent most of your resources the last two years on starters. 

Bullpen report: Hunter Strickland's Mullet had a scoreless debut. 

At the plate: Nope. 

In the field: Brandon Belt’s first start in left this season was rather uneventful. He caught a liner right at him in the first and came up inches short on a diving attempt in foul territory. Belt moved to right in the seventh inning. He had one previous inning there in the big leagues but he actually prefers right because it’s the same angle as his normal position. Belt gloved a liner right at him in the eighth. 

Attendance: The Rockies announced a crowd of 42,011 human beings and one donkey, who was a menace. 

Up next: The first look at the Dodgers. The Giants will see Hyun-Jin Ryu, Clayton Kershaw, Alex Wood and likely Julio Urias in the four-game series.