Miller & Krukow: Rockies claim Game 1
Tim Lincecum's final line: 7 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 101 P, L. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
SAN FRANCISCO –- The Giants had established a nice little dominion over the Colorado Rockies in recent years.
They entered Friday night’s game with a 17-4 record against their purple-shirted friends from the high plains over the past two-plus seasons at AT&T Park –- including nine consecutive victories.
But the Rockies had the right matchup this time.
Tyler Chatwood kept the Giants as grounded as an uncoordinated snowboarder, Tim Lincecum made enough two-out mistakes to veer into the trees and the Giants lost 5-0 -– the first time they’ve been shut out in 51 regular-season home games.
It was a streak that dated to Aug. 10 of last season. That date also happened to be the last time the Rockies won here at China Basin.
The matchup then? Wouldn’t you know … Chatwood over Lincecum. Just as it happened Friday night.
Michael Cuddyer had a bit more influence this time, though. He was Lincecum’s nemesis, hitting a two-run double in the first inning and a solo home run in the sixth.
Starting pitching report
The first inning was a mystery and a misery last year for Lincecum. He had been getting out of the gate much cleaner this season.
But he couldn’t make a pitch when he needed to snuff a rally, and that became the theme of his night while allowing four runs in seven innings.
The Rockies set up a two-run first inning when Nolan Arenado singled and Carlos Gonzalez reached on an infield hit that second baseman Marco Scutaro gloved up the middle. Scutaro appeared to have time to get to his feet and throw out Gonzalez, but instead he attempted to flip the ball with his glove to second base, where shortstop Brandon Crawford was covering. Scutaro couldn’t get enough on the flip and wasn’t able to record an out. The play originally was scored as a fielder’s choice but later changed to give Gonzalez a single.
With two out, Lincecum (3-4) threw a 1-1 sinker that Cuddyer muscled down the right field line for a two-run double.
Even when Cuddyer struck out, he still managed to foil Lincecum. In the fourth, Cuddyer ended up reaching base when he struck out on a wild pitch. Then Lincecum made a fatal mistake. Facing the No. 8 hitter with two outs and two on, the right-hander didn’t make life tough enough on D.J. LeMahieu. Lincecum served a 1-0 fastball over the plate and LeMahieu hit an RBI single to right field.
Cuddyer completed the damage with a home run to lead off the sixth inning.
Both Cuddyer’s two-run double and LeMahieu’s RBI hit came with two outs to continue a trend. Opponents are hitting .353 (12-for-34) against him with two outs and runners in scoring position. Even last year, when he had the highest ERA of all qualified NL starters, Lincecum was able to limit opponents to a .239 average with two outs and runners in scoring position.
At least Lincecum worked efficiently and didn’t tax the bullpen. He managed to complete seven innings on 101 pitches.
Sandy Rosario gave up a solo home run to Carlos Gonzalez that landed on the metal roof above the right field arcade in the eighth inning. George Kontos worked a 1-2-3 ninth.
At the plate
The Giants had a hard time with Chatwood (3-0), whose sinker worked even better at sea level than it did against them last week at Coors Field. The right-hander held the Giants to four hits in six shutout innings while throwing a tidy 88 pitches.
He worked quickly by getting ground ball outs; he finished with 11 of them against just three fly outs, and two of those were infield pop-ups.
The Giants finished with five hits, all singles. Buster Posey had to steal his way into scoring position, which is never Plan A.
Left fielder Gregor Blanco earned every bit of an assist in the sixth inning, when he used his bare hand to catch a carom off the wall and then made a strong, accurate throw to second base to nab Todd Helton trying to stretch a single.
Crawford made an impressive pickup of a chopper and a quick feed to start a double play in the eighth inning.
Arenado was the defensive star of the game, though. Colorado’s rookie third baseman made a series of outstanding plays, none better than his barehanded pickup of Scutaro’s attempt to bunt for a hit in the third inning.
The Giants announced 41,881 paid. At least Chatwood didn't take a fire hose to the postgame fireworks.
The Giants continue their three-game series with Colorado. Barry Zito (3-3, 3.91 ERA) takes the mound Saturday against Rockies right-hander Juan Nicasio (4-1, 4.47). First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 PDT.