Samardzija gives up four early runs, Giants drop finale to Rockies

Samardzija gives up four early runs, Giants drop finale to Rockies

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rookie Antonio Senzatela overcame a rocky start for his second straight victory on a rainy afternoon, and the Colorado Rockies won a four-game series in San Francisco for the first time in club history.

Senzatela settled down after a rough first inning, holding San Francisco scoreless on four hits over the next six innings in the Rockies' 4-3 victory Sunday.

Charlie Blackmon led off the game with a homer and Nolan Arenado celebrated his 26th birthday with a two-run double to cap a three-run first inning as the Rockies took three of four.

"We jumped out to the quick lead, we ambushed their guy, and then they jumped on Antonio," Colorado manager Bud Black said. "A lot of young guys would have let it get to them."

Senzatela (2-0) allowed three runs on seven hits in seven innings overall. Mike Dunn struck out the two batters he faced in the eighth, Adam Ottavino got another out and Greg Holland pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh straight save this season.

Each team scored three times in the first inning.

Though rain fell throughout the first five innings and resumed briefly in the eighth, San Francisco avoided its first home rainout in more than a decade. The last time rain forced cancellation of a game at AT&T Park was in April 2006.

"It was a little difficult, but you need to find a way to lock in in these conditions," Arenado said. "You have to figure out how to be comfortable when you're uncomfortable."

Blackmon hit the game's third pitch into the right-center stands, extending his club record with his 23rd career first-inning leadoff homer. Colorado began with four straight hits off Jeff Samardzija, capped by Arenado's double.

Samardzija (0-3) struck out eight while allowing four runs in seven innings.

"The balls were in the middle of the plate, especially in the first inning," Samardzija said. "Not to have good stuff out there today was frustrating, and to start out that way makes the rest of the day a lot tougher."

Brandon Crawford had an RBI triple for the Giants, who also got sacrifice flies from Hunter Pence and Nick Hundley.

DJ LeMahieu had a run-scoring single for Colorado in the second.

DEAL TIME:
The Giants traded minor league RHP Clayton Blackburn to the Texas Rangers for minor league INF Frandy De La Rosa and cash. Blackburn made one start for Triple-A Sacramento this season. De La Rosa is hitting .253 over four minor league seasons in the Chicago Cubs' and Rangers' organizations.

LEADOFF CHARLIE:
Blackmon's shot was his first leadoff homer this season, after having hit a major league-best 10 as the Rockies' first batter of the game in 2016.

BIRTHDAY BOYS:
Arenado went 2 for 4 on his birthday. San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy turned 62 - with the loss, he's now 4-7 on his birthday while guiding the Giants.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Giants: OF Jarrett Parker was placed on the 10-day disabled list a day after breaking his collarbone by slamming into the fence while catching a fly ball. Bochy said Parker, who is hitting .143 in nine games this season, had surgery Sunday and will miss about 8-10 weeks.

OKERT PROMOTED:
LHP Steve Okert, recalled earlier Sunday by the Giants from Triple-A Sacramento to take Parker's place on the active roster, got one out in the eighth inning - retiring the only batter he faced on a comebacker to the mound. Okert, who also was recalled earlier this season but did not make an appearance, was in 16 games for the Giants last season, allowing five runs on 14 hits in 14 innings.

UP NEXT:
Rockies: After a day off on Monday, Kyle Freeland is scheduled to start Tuesday as Colorado continues its road trip at the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Giants: Matt Cain makes the start Tuesday at the Royals to open a seven-day trip. It will be San Francisco's first visit to Kansas City since the 2014 World Series.

Why you shouldn't freak out in June about Cueto's opt-out

Why you shouldn't freak out in June about Cueto's opt-out

SAN FRANCISCO — There’s a very important fact you need to keep in mind when talk of Johnny Cueto’s opt-out comes up, as it so often will over the next six weeks: The Giants always expected him to opt-out after this season, from the moment the ink was dry on the six-year, $130-million contract. 

When you sign at the top of your game and have a chance to hit the market at 31 years old and cash out a second time, you take it. Those are just the rules of professional sports. On the day Cueto was introduced, his agent, Bryce Dixon, said the two-year opt-out was important because they felt Cueto didn’t get a totally fair shot at free agency. 

“Johnny, a little bit unfairly, had a lot of questions about his arm,” Dixon said in December of 2015. “I felt we could reestablish his actual value … He knows he’s as good as (David) Price and (Zack) Greinke, but his situation was a little different.”

The Giants were fine with this, too. The flip side of the opt-out is that if you have the chance to pay a dominant right-hander $46 million over two years, and then escape his mid- to late-thirties, you do it. Every time. You don’t even blink. 

So, here we are, in June of the second year of that deal, with reports that Cueto will opt out. You should take a deep breath because you should have already expected this. But if you didn’t, take comfort in this: By all indications, Cueto has not made a decision, even with the Giants having an unimaginably poor season. 

First of all, Cueto can't make a decision in June. What if the blisters return and he repeats his April ERA a couple more times? What if his elbow starts barking? There are no guarantees with pitchers, and until Cueto gets through the second season, there will be no finality with his decision. 

Aside from the fact that he really can’t make that decision, though, sources insist Cueto hasn’t made up his mind or even thought much about it. People familiar with his thinking continue to say the focus has been baseball all season long, from spring training through his last start. 

Cueto is said to be happy in San Francisco and he enjoys pitching in front of the crowd at AT&T Park. His biggest concern has been wins and losses, and in that respect, this has been a disappointing year for all involved. 

That record has brought the Giants to a crossroads, and this is where it gets interesting. The easy solution is to trade Cueto next month, avoid the opt-out situation entirely, and add prospects to a system lacking them. But, it’s complicated. The Giants do not intend a full teardown, and if they’re going for it again in 2018 — with their core of Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Madison Bumgarner, etc. locked in, that’s the plan — they’ll want that second ace at the top of the rotation. And if Bumgarner doesn’t return to form after an injury, they’ll need Cueto’s presence. 

The Giants have until July 31 to decide what to do with Cueto. He has until three days after the World Series ends to decide what to do with his contract. Here in June, by all indications, those decisions haven’t been made. 

Giants lineup: Pence hitting third, Panik back into two-hole

Giants lineup: Pence hitting third, Panik back into two-hole

Clutch, late-game hitting by Hunter Pence has propelled him to the three hole as the Giants look to bounce back vs the Braves. Bruce Bochy has released the rest of his lineup for Game 2 of the series...

San Francisco Giants:
1. Kelby Tomlinson (R) 3B
2. Joe Panik (L) 2B
3. Hunter Pence (R) RF
4. Buster Posey (R) 1B
5. Austin Slater (R) LF
6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
7. Nick Hundley (R) C
8. Gorkys Hernandez (R) CF
9. Matt Cain (R) P

Atlanta Braves:
1. Ender Inciarte (L) CF
2. Brandon Phillips (R) 2B
3. Nick Markakis (L) RF
4. Matt Kemp (R) LF
5. Matt Adams (L) 1B
6. Kurt Suzuki (R) C
7. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
8. Johan Camargo (S) 3B
9. Jaime Garcia (L) P