SAN FRANCISCO – It was poised to be one of the Giants’ most gut-wrenching losses of the season.
It wound up being one of the most memorable finishes in recent franchise history. Angel Pagan raced around the bases for a two-run, walkoff inside-the-park homer in the bottom of the 10th that gave the Giants a heart-stopping 6-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
After Troy Tulowitzki gave the Rockies a 5-4 lead with a homer in the top of the 10th, Pagan delivered one of the most electrifying at-bats that will be seen in the majors this season.
Brandon Crawford led off with a walk and was sacrificed to second by Guillermo Quiroz. Then Pagan drove a ball deep to right-center that skipped against the wall and away from right fielder Michael Cuddyer.
Pagan was racing around the bases as Fowler tracked the ball down. Giants third base coach Tim Flannery was waving Pagan around the entire time and Pagan slid in head-first ahead of the relay throw from second baseman D.J. LeMahieu.
It was the Giants' first inside the park homer since Conor Gillaspie did it on Sept. 27, 2011, also against the Rockies.
The Giants appeared to be short changed by two blown umpire calls on the bases earlier in the game that resulted in manager Bruce Bochy’s ejection.
Starting pitching report
Zito wasn’t his typical dominant self in front of the home crowd, and it didn’t take long to realize that.
Dexter Fowler led off the game with a double. Two batters after that, Zito hung a first-pitch curve to Carlos Gonzalez, who crushed a two-run homer and became the first Rockie to reach McCovey Cove on the fly.
Zito was touched for two more in the in the fourth. Troy Tulowitzki led off with a soft liner that skipped past center fielder Angel Pagan for a double, then Cuddyer brought him home with a double to left-center. With one out, Jordan Pacheco singled up the middle to score Cuddyer and make it 4-0.
The final damage vs. Zito wasn’t terrible – four runs and seven hits over six innings. But the lefty came in with a 0.55 ERA at AT&T Park, having allowed just two earned runs in 33 innings. That form is nowhere to be found at the moment. Over his past three starts, Zito has surrendered 30 hits and 14 earned runs in 17 1/3 innings.
Chad Gaudin, Jean Machi and Jeremy Affeldt held the Rockies scoreless for three innings in relief of Zito. Credit Affeldt with a terrific job escaping a ninth-inning jam with one out and runners on second and third.
But closer Sergio Romo entered for the 10th and Troy Tulowitzki hammered his third pitch for a go-ahead home run to left. Right-handed batters entered the day just 7 for 37 off Romo.
At the plate
The bases were full of Giants all afternoon, but it was a chore getting them in, which is no surprise given how much San Francisco struggled offensively coming into Saturday. The Giants had scored just one run in their previous 19 innings, and they stranded 12 runners total Saturday.
But they managed to wipe out a 4-0 deficit. Their three-run rally in the sixth snapped a string of 24 consecutive scoreless innings against Colorado. Buster Posey and Hunter Pence doubled in back-to-back at-bats to get the Giants on the board. Brandon Crawford delivered a bases-loaded sacrifice fly and Marco Scutaro worked an impressive at-bat that resulted in an RBI walk to close the gap to 4-3.
Torres’ run-scoring double in the seventh tied it, but controversy No. 1 took place when Brandon Belt was called out at home trying to score on Brandon Crawford’s grounder to second. Replays showed he appeared to slide under Yorvit Torrealba’s tag at home.
Then Bochy earned his second ejection of the season in the eighth when Scutaro was called out at third while trying to advance from first on Pablo Sandoval’s bloop single. Replays showed he clearly avoided the tag attempt of Nolan Arenado, but home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez called him out.
In the field
Pagan’s misplay on Tulowitzki’s double was costly. He should have at least kept the ball in front of him and limited it to a single. Brandon Crawford was charged with his seventh error when he let Yorvit Torrealba’s bouncer scoot under his glove in the sixth. That play wasn’t a factor.
Among the latecomers in the announced crowd of 41,784 – Giants president Larry Baer. He was busy giving the commencement speech at San Francisco State’s graduation ceremony.
Matt Cain has won three of his past four starts, and the one non-victory came in his last outing, when he held the Washington Nationals to two runs over seven innings but got a no-decision. The Giants could use another strong showing in the finale of this three-game series. Jon Garland takes the hill for Colorado in a 1:05 p.m. matchup.