Runs continue to come at premium in San Francisco

Runs continue to come at premium in San Francisco
August 11, 2012, 6:49 am
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Given the events of the day, Matt Cain would have had a field day with the Giants Friday night.

As the Giants Saturday starter was being plaqued for his perfect game, the teams everyday lineup was showing that while perfect games are exceedingly rare, a shutout to even the most modest team is not out of the ordinary at all.

The Giants were granted a three-hit shutout defeat, 3-0, by Colorado rookie lefthander Tyler Chatwood and three relievers, and while the Rockies do some truly odd things with their pitching staff these days, this was not one of those nights when they were taxed nearly enough.

RECAP: Rockies 3, Giants 0

We got three hits against a guy who was effectively wild, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said between long, tortured face-rubs. They got a couple of timely hits, and we didnt get any.

Well, they got three in total, so timeliness was less noticeable than quantity.

One-out singles by Brandon Crawford in the third and fifth innings went begging, the fifth-inning one dying because Tim Lincecum couldnt get a bunt down, and the rest of the night was watching Giants hitters essentially run down the first base line and double back. The top six Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro, Melky Cabrera, Hunter Pence, Hector Sanchez and Brandon Belt went 1-for-21, and Pence is now 6-for-43 as a Giant, a profoundly untidy .140.

The inability to do anything to a Colorado team had surrendered 35 runs to the Giants a week ago mooted an odd outing by Lincecum, who lasted seven innings but spent much of his night fighting from behind. He was going to a slightly bigger wind-up Friday, but the main result was that he started 15 of the first 18 Colorado hitters off with a ball, and that inability to pitch ahead in the count could have crushed him.

As it was, he was nicked only for two-out RBI singles by Dexter Fowler in the third and Tyler Colvin in the fourth, and then a Colvin single and stolen base and a sacrifice fly by pinch-hitter Chris Nelson in the seventh. It was by the definition a quality start, and it surely could have been worse, but it was not one of Lincecums finest since the All-Star break.

But as Bochy said, That wasnt it. It was three hits, and three hits wins very few games. Without Buster Posey, who got the night off but flied out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, the Giants were hitting their four, five and six hitters higher than they would normally, and they provided next to nothing for their efforts.

And Pence, who has one walk and 11 strikeouts to go with those six hits, is having a stunningly minimal impact since the trade that brought him from Philadelphia.

This may all change when Posey returns Saturday to catch, and Monday, when Pablo Sandoval, who went 0-for-2 in San Jose on a rehab assignment Friday night, is expected to return. Then again, the Giants have the second fewest runs in baseball at home this year (180 in 56 games, a ridiculous 3.21 per game), and the second most on the road (291 in 57 games, an impressive 5.11), so it may not just be personnel.

But the ballpark isnt going to change, so the players have to. Friday, though, was more of the painful same in a season that looks like a seismograph that gets kicked every few days whether it needs it or not.

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