For the second straight game, the Rockies shocked the Giants in the top of the ninth, coming from behind on an inside-the-park home run to snatch away a victory 5-4 on Saturday.
“I’m just in disbelief that it happened,” a shell-shocked Sergio Romo said. “Especially the way it happened. Baseball, that’s really all it is. Baseball.”
The game seemed to be going the Giants way from the first inning as they broke out of their home run slump when Hunter Pence launched a solo shot into the left-center field bleachers.
That lead didn’t last long, and it looked as if the bad luck from Friday night carried over into Saturday’s game as Ryan Vogelsong couldn’t produce a shut-down inning. Michael McKenry led off the bottom of the second with a single, and Ryan Wheeler delivered again for the Rockies – this time with an RBI double. Wheeler eventually scored on a single off the bat of Charlie Blackmon, making it 2-1.
Colorado added another run in the third when Justin Morneau and Josh Rutledge hit back-to-back one-out doubles to make it 3-1. With Christian Bergman cruising along on the mound for the Rockies, it looked like the game was all but over. In his first career road start, the young right hander turned in a quality start throwing six innings and giving up eight hits, three earned runs, and striking out three. Both of his career starts so far have been quality outings.
However, the Giants comeback spirit seemed to return to the line-up in the bottom of the fifth. Angel Pagan led off with a single, and Pence reached on a fielder’s choice before Buster Posey crushed his ninth home run of the year into left field, tying the game at three. The two-out long ball gave San Francisco 133 runs with two outs on the season, the most in the Majors. It also took Vogelsong off the hook for the loss, as he tossed five innings, allowing seven hits, three earned runs, one walk, and struck out two.
But the Giants weren’t done. Once again the top of the order caused problems for Rockies pitching, as Pagan and Pence both singled with one out in the seventh Pagan hustled into third and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Posey. It was his first three-RBI game since July 12, 2013.
The combined bullpen efforts of Yusmeiro Petit, Jeremy Affeldt, and Jean Machi kept the Rockies off the board in the sixth, seventh, and eighth, but the wheels fell off again for Romo in the top of the ninth.
The inning started out well enough for the Giants, but Charlie Blackmon singled with two outs before Brandon Barnes hit a ball to right-center that got by a diving Pagan, went for an inside-the-park home run, and gave the Rockies a 5-4 lead. Pagan was shocked that the ball got by him.
“It was a cold water bucket for me because I wanted to make a play and stop the ball so the runners didn’t advance, but there’s nothing we can do. We just gotta turn the page and come back tomorrow and win the ballgame. This these are gonna happen sometimes in baseball…it already happened, there’s nothing that we can do.”
Romo (3-3) has now blown four saves on the season, including two back-to-back for the first time in his career, and has an ERA of 5.08. Before Saturday, the Giants were a perfect 35-0 when leading after eight innings, and the team has now dropped five of their last six. However, they’re still in first place in the West and hold the best record in baseball. Bruce Bochy won’t let his team dwell on the tough losses.
“It’s just a freak thing that happened, not much else to say about it. That’s a tough way to lose a game. We’ve got to move on and come out and be ready to go tomorrow.”
The Giants will look to avoid the sweep on Sunday as they send ace Madison Bumgarner (8-4, 2.67) to the mound to face Juan Nicasio (5-5, 5.70).