Kruk and Kuip get existential after Giants' sixth straight loss
The Giants are four games under .500 for the first time since they began the 2009 season 4-8. (AP IMAGES)
DENVER – Do the Giants remember what it feels like to win a game?
Another valid question: Do they remember what it’s like to have a lead?
Both have been foreign concepts on this road trip, and their lineup continues to operate with an expired passport.
Despite Matt Cain’s brilliance in eight innings, the Giants could not scratch out a second run to make a winner of him. And their losing streak hit six games after the Colorado Rockies walked off with a 2-1 victory Saturday afternoon at Coors Field.
A two-out walk and a stolen base set the stage for Nolan Arenado, whose single to center field off Jeremy Affeldt sent the Giants to four games under .500 for the first time since they began the 2009 season 4-8.
Not only have the Giants been skunked halfway through their longest road trip of the year, but they’ve managed to lead at the conclusion of just two innings in five games.
Starting pitching report
Cain entered with a six-start winning streak over the Rockies, including a rough outing at Coors Field earlier this year when the Giants rallied from a 6-0 deficit to bail him out.
He got no such support this time.
Cain would have a 1.59 ERA in June, if you throw out that one odd inning at St. Louis. He was at his best again, although the Rockies’ hottest hitter did manage to scratch him for a run in the first inning. Michael Cuddyer extended his hitting streak to 26 games, a franchise record, with an RBI single in the first inning.
It came after Corey Dickerson hit a leadoff double on a hung, 0-2 curveball that made Cain hang his head, knowing it was the kind of sloppy mistake the rotation has made too many times this season.
Cain didn’t make many more. First, he managed to keep the Rockies off the board in a wild second inning that included two errors. Then he really buckled down, and retired 20 consecutive batters from the third through the eighth.
In all, Cain held the Rockies to a run on three hits and a walk in eight innings. He struck out five and threw 105 pitches.
It was just the third time all season that a Giants starter completed eight innings. The club doesn’t have a complete game on the staff.
Affeldt (1-4) hadn’t pitched since last Monday and appeared to be back on the beam when he retired Carlos Gonzalez and Cuddyer – the Rockies’ two most dangerous hitters.
But so many times this season, Giants pitchers have failed to shut the door. Affeldt walked Todd Helton, and for the second time on this trip, another stolen base stung the Giants. Pinch runner Todd Rutledge swiped second base on the battery of Affeldt and Hector Sanchez, who had entered on a double switch. (Sanchez is 0 for 10 in throwing out runners this season.)
Arenado’s single to center field settled things.
At the plate
The Giants haven’t scored in 26 of their last 28 innings at Coors Field, and in both exceptions, Buster Posey led them out of the darkness.
He hit the solo shot that prevented a shutout Friday night, and his double in the sixth inning knocked in the Giants’ only run Saturday.
Posey tied the game when he split the gap in left-center to score Marco Scutaro, who had reached on an infield single. It might have given the Giants the lead if Andres Torres, who had three of the club’s first four hits, hadn’t been picked off first base earlier in the inning.
It was the only run the Giants managed against left-hander Jorge De La Rosa, who is back to being a front-of-the-rotation presence for the Rockies after his career got derailed by Tommy John surgery.
But De La Rosa had been dealing with a cut on his hand, and he came out of the game after making a few warmup pitches in the seventh.
It should have been a break for the Giants, and they did generate some surprising traffic when Guillermo Quiroz threw his bat on a single (his second hit since May 15) and Cain drew a two-out walk. But wouldn’t you know it? Torres, who had been 3 for 3, grounded back to the mound to end the inning.
The Giants were 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position and are 8 for 62 (.129) over their last nine games.
No wonder their 85 runs in June rank as the fewest in the National League. They’ve scored 18 runs over their last nine games.
The second inning could have been subtitled “NL West Baseball in 2013.”
Yorvit Torrealba singled and De La Rosa’s hard bunt attempt was not good at all. But third baseman Pablo Sandoval’s throw to second base was even worse, sailing high and wide and allowing Torrealba to take third.
Center fielder Juan Perez also was charged with an error when his throw to third base clipped Torrealba and bounced away, allowing De La Rosa to take second base. The Giants actually got lucky, though, that Torrealba didn’t get up and run for home. Nobody was covering the plate because catcher Guillermo Quiroz, for reasons known only to him, had rushed up the line and stood alongside Sandoval as he tried to receive Perez’s throw.
Next it was the Rockies’ turn to brain cramp. Dickerson hit a ground ball to second baseman Marco Scutaro and De La Rosa ran to third while Torrealba held. Scutaro, the one guy on the field who had his thinking cap on, simply ran all the way across the infield to third base and waited for one of the runners to commit. Then Torrealba got tagged out in a brief rundown.
Cain drew up the circus tent on the inning when he got D.J. LeMahieu to fly out.
The Rockies announced 44,612 paid.
The Giants and Rockies conclude their three-game series at Coors Field on Sunday. Madison Bumgarner (7-5, 3.20 ERA) would boost his All-Star credentials with a solid outing against left-hander Drew Pomeranz, who will make his 2013 debut.