SAN FRANCISCO –- Remember when Angel Pagan hit that electric, inside-the-park home run in a walk-off victory last season?
It came against the Rockies. And Colorado can consider the score settled now.
Sergio Romo blew a save for the second consecutive day, and Pagan’s erratic play in center field figured prominently in both losses. With two outs in the ninth, the center fielder tried to cut off Brandon Barnes’ line drive to right-center but it got past him for what became a two-run, inside-the-park home run that sent the Rockies to a stunning 5-4 victory at AT&T Park.
Romo (3-3), who allowed a career-high-tying five earned runs in Friday night’s loss, entered to protect a one out lead. He got two quick outs before Charlie Blackmon hit a soft single and Barnes hit an 0-1 slider to right-center.
It was Romo’s fourth blown save in 24 chances this season.
The Giants appeared to have an extra life in the ninth when the Rockies dropped Hector Sanchez’s infield pop up for an error and Pagan appeared to beat out a double-play throw to extend the game. But Pagan was called out and despite ample video evidence to overturn the call, it was upheld after a review of two minutes, 39 seconds as the Rockies clinched the victory.
It simply was not Pagan’s day.
Buster Posey had his most productive game in nearly a year to set up the Giants for a victory. He hit a tying, two-run home run in the fifth inning and put the Giants ahead with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. He also doubled to mark his first game with multiple extra-base hits in 11 months. Posey hadn’t driven in three or more runs in a game since July 12 of last year, either.
Starting pitching report
For the second consecutive start, Ryan Vogelsong struggled to operate with a rather tight strike zone. The Rockies hit him hard for three doubles among seven hits on their way to three runs in his five innings.
The first three innings all were wars of attrition for Vogelsong, who needed 77 pitches to get nine outs. He narrowly kept the Rockies off the board in the first inning, stranding two runners after getting a pair of pop-ups and a third out when the Giants successfully challenged the call on the field.
Third baseman Pablo Sandoval reacted well to a flat bounce on a ground ball and threw across the diamond. Josh Rutledge was called safe by first base ump Mike Muchlinski, but one angle showed that the throw beat him. It was a close play even on replay, but Giants manager Bruce Bochy tends to challenge when an overturned call can mean getting his pitcher out of a long inning.
Vogelsong (seen, right) was back in the middle of another jam in the second inning, though. Backup catcher Michael McKenry singled and scored on Ryan Wheeler’s double, which got past center fielder Angel Pagan when he took a Family Circus route to the ball. Charlie Blackmon’s two-out single scored Wheeler as the Rockies took a 2-1 lead. They would’ve struck for more, but Pagan got a much better read on Brandon Barnes’ line drive before making a diving catch to end the inning.
Vogelsong allowed another run in the third when Justin Morneau and Rutledge hit consecutive doubles. The last two innings were an about-face, though. Vogelsong threw just six pitches in the fourth (getting a lineout double play) and five to get three fly outs in the fifth.
Vogelsong was lifted for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the fifth.
Yusmeiro Petit relieved Vogelsong to begin the sixth and McKenry put him in the stretch with a one-out double. But Posey made an on-target throw to third base to nab McKenry trying for the first stolen base of his career, and Petit struck out D.J. LeMahieu to escape the inning.
Petit and Jeremy Affeldt (got the ball to Jean Machi, who stranded two in the eighth to get the ball and the lead back into Romo’s hands).
Romo had thrown 37 pitches while facing 10 batters over the previous two games, but Bochy went right back to his closer a night after he allowed a career-high five earned runs on four soft singles and an intentional walk.
Romo did everything but get the third out.
At the plate
After seven games without a home run, the Giants brought back the trot.
Hunter Pence hit a solo home run in the first inning, the club’s first since Posey went deep June 6 against the Mets. Posey followed Pence’s shot with a one-out double and the Giants appeared poised to stomp on Christian Bergman in his second big league start.
But Posey was stranded and the Giants, despite some hard outs, didn’t score again until the fifth. Angel Pagan singled, Pence replaced him on the bases after a fielder’s choice and Posey yanked a 3-2 pitch into the left field seats for a tying, two-run home run.
It was Posey’s eighth home run of the year. (His double was just his sixth of the season). And it marked the first time since July 8 of last season – yes, 11 months ago – that he recorded multiple extra-base hits in a game.
Posey drove in the tiebreaking run off Adam Ottavino in the seventh. Pagan singled when his line drive popped out of third baseman Ryan Wheeler’s glove, Pence singled to put runners at the corners and Posey’s sacrifice fly to right field easily scored Pagan.
It marked Posey’s first three-RBI game since July 11 of last season -– yes, again, 11 months ago –- and it was his first three-RBI game at home since May 9 of last year (402 days ago).
Left fielder Gregor Blanco won’t make it on any highlight reels, but his catch of Rutledge’s sinking line drive in the eighth inning was far from routine. He only made it look that way.
If only Blanco were in center field, instead.
The Giants announced 41,704 paid. And if anyone in attendance crossed the bridge to Oakland for the A’s-Yankees night game … much respect!
The Giants and Rockies finish up their three-game series on Sunday at AT&T Park. Madison Bumgarner (8-4, 2.67 ERA) takes the mound against Rockies right-hander Juan Nicasio (5-5, 5.70). First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. PDT.
Photo of Ryan Vogelsong courtesy of AP.