In a four hour and two minute game that felt like much longer, Ryan Vogelsong allowed five, Hunter Pence knocked in six and the Giants fell to the Rockies 9-8 on Tuesday night.
The Giants got off to a quick start at the plate, thanks to a three-run home run off the bat of Pence. The blast marked his 20th home run of the season, as well as the first season in his career with 20 homers and 20 steals. It’s the first time a Giant has accomplished the feat since Barry Bonds in 1998.
“Pence, he tried to carry us tonight. It’s quite a night he had and we just couldn’t hold them,” said manager Bruce Bochy. “He comes to play every day. He doesn’t let up…here he is in September, he hasn’t missed a game, he goes out and has a game like that. It does say a lot about him and his makeup.”
“My goal set out at the beginning of the year was to play every game as hard as I could to win,” said Pence. “I don’t think anything could be more important to me than being a good teammate and a quality individual for the organization.”
Pence said his BP wasn’t even feeling great before the game, saying “Today BP was awful, I was joking with Flannery, [saying] so today I’m due for a lot of hits, and somehow it worked out.”
At one point in the game, the Giants were up 6-0. While Ryan Vogelsong kept the Rockies from scoring through four innings, he lost his control in the fifth, giving up five runs – including a three-run bomb to Michael Cuddyer into the left field bleachers. He made it out of the inning, but was replaced in the bottom half.
It was the first time in Vogelsong’s last three years with the Giants that he did not strike out a single batter.
“I’m not putting together a full game. The first four innings were good,” he said. “For some reason or another I’m just not pulling it together for a whole game.”
Bochy wouldn’t address Vogelsong’s next start, saying he would talk to his starter first.
While the bullpen had been solid recently – 0.96 ERA with 32 strikeouts and a .211 opponents average against – they quickly allowed the Rockies to take the lead in the sixth inning. Jose Mijares has now given up 15 runs in his last 14.1 innings of work. Jean Machi allowed Todd Helton to score after a double from Charlie Blackmon, who then scored on a Ryan Wheeler single.
Around 10:45pm, the Giants took their eighth-inning at-bats, because this game lasted forever. Again it was Pence who came to the plate with runners on second and third. A single to right-center scored both Marco Scutaro and Brandon Belt, giving Hunter Pence a career-tying six RBI on the night. Pence ended the night at 4-for-5 with two singles, a double, and the home run.
“It’s hard not to be a huge fan of Hunter,” said Buster Posey. “He’s probably the hardest worker I’ve ever seen.”
Sergio Romo took the ball in the top of the ninth to take on the heart of the Rockies’ order. Once more, Cuddyer came up in an important situation and knocked one out of the park, giving the Rockies the 9-8 lead.
Tomorrow the Giants will face the Rockies one more time this season. Yusmeiro Petit will try to match his near perfect outing from Friday night, and will take on Colorado’s Juan Nicasio at 12:45pm.