A pitcher who wants to pitch longer was allowed to pitch longer, only to backfire. Poor relief pitching. Poor fielding. Poor throwing.
A promising Giants game came apart in one inning.
Powerful bats and an encouraging start from Johnny Cueto were forgotten after a nightmare bottom of the sixth as the Giants fell to the Rockies, 7-6, at Coors Field on Monday, a poor start to their 10-game road trip.
The Rockies scored five in the frame, which started with some faith from Gabe Kapler, who allowed Cueto to face the opposing lineup for a third time — which Cueto has campaigned for — for the first time this year. But Nolan Arenado, who crushes the Giants (5-6) like humans crush ants, launched a two-run shot off a Cueto fastball to turn a comfortable 4-1 lead into a 4-3 game.
Wandy Peralta entered and faced six batters, four of whom got on base. Ryan McMahon was the first, lining a ball deep to right that Alex Dickerson should have caught but dropped, the play being ruled a triple. The last hitter was David Dahl, who singled to right to knock in one, and Dickerson overthrew the cutoff man. Catcher Chadwick Tromp had to scramble to retrieve the ball, leaving home empty, and another run scored on the error.
Dickerson was playing right, Kapler explained before the game, because of the amount of space in left field, where the Giants started the speedy Steven Duggar. The logic was sound, but the execution did not work out.
Because suddenly Colorado had scored five runs in the inning, and mostly solid Giants relieving afterward was wasted. The Giants rallied in the ninth and brought the potential tying run to third base, thanks to a couple errors by second baseman McMahon. Dickerson, appropriately enough, flew out against Jairo Diaz to end the rally.
Lost in the sixth-inning meltdown was all that had gone right before it. After Cueto started poorly, throwing 29 pitches in a one-run first, he bounced back to confuse Rockies hitters until the sixth. His changeup was outstanding, getting seven whiffs in an outing in which he allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits with four strikeouts in five-plus innings.
He left with a lead because of bats that did so much early damage but faded against the Rockies’ bullpen.
Tromp, curiously making a start against a righty (Chi Chi Gonzalez), perhaps because of his relationship with Cueto, hit his second homer of his career and in as many days in the second inning to tie the game at 1.
Two batters later, Mike Yastrzemski stroked his own two-run shot for a 3-1 lead. Yastrzemski is now slashing .342/.500/.711 and surely enjoys the environs at Coors Field, which was the site of his explosion last year following nearly getting demoted back to the minors.
Dickerson added a home run of his own in the fifth, but his fielding would cost the Giants more than his bat would save them.