DENVER — There were a lot of plays that decided Friday’s game, including a Johnny Cueto pitch that sailed over the the right field wall for a grand slam and a liner to right that got away from Hunter Pence and turned into an inside-the-park homer. But the play that seemed to stick with manager Bruce Bochy the most was one the Giants didn’t make at the plate.
With two on and no outs in the eighth, Bochy sent Gorkys Hernandez up to bunt. Hernandez couldn’t get one down and instead flied out. Two batters later, the Rockies were out of the inning with their one-run lead intact, and they held on for a 6-5 win at Coors Field, a place where execution isn’t often talked about, but still matters the same.
The Giants lost a one-run game for the sixth time this season. Bochy knows what the issue is.
“If you look at them there’s something where you didn’t execute,” he said. “It probably caught up with us, not getting the bunt down.”
The rhythm of an inning changes when there are runners on second and third instead of first and second, but it’s not hard to imagine the Giants getting that tying run home. Denard Span came up next and flied out to deep center, but there was no runner on third to jog home.
“We’re having a tough time scoring runs,” Bochy said. “We’ve got to execute and do the little things.”
In a park that plays small, the Giants paid for several mistakes. The one that put them behind came on defense. Cueto had already given up a grand slam in the fourth and put another runner on when Charlie Blackmon hit a two-out liner to right. Pence chased it but lost it in the lights, falling awkwardly as the ball shot to the outfield wall. Pence got up and limped after the ball as Blackmon raced home for an inside-the-park homer.
“It was in the lights the whole time,” Pence said. “There are a lot of balls in the lights and you’ve got to fight your way through it, and I wasn’t able to do that.”
To add injury to insult, Pence twisted his left knee as he went down. He paced around in right and then showed a slight limp when the inning was over. When he got back to the dugout, Pence was checked by trainer Dave Groeschner. He appeared to be fine the rest of the game.
“It feels alright,” he said. “For now, I’m pretty sure it’s fine.”
After speaking to reporters, Pence went off to the training room for a second check-up. He was confident that the knee wouldn’t be an issue, and the Giants could certainly use the good news. In the last week, they’ve lost Jarrett Parker and Madison Bumgarner for extended periods. Bochy missed two games this week after a minor heart procedure.
“You keep doing what you’re doing,” Cueto said. “We’re playing very hard and trying to win every game. Eventually we’re going to find a way to win games.”