Mauricio Dubon did what he could to take the heat off Gabe Kapler.
The late-inning Giants relievers, though, cranked up the stove.
The Giants mounted a rally in the top of the seventh and briefly took the lead, but Colorado immediately answered with an explosion of their own in a 6-4 Rockies win on Thursday at Coors Field, which started with such promise, featured some head-scratching and amounts to a third loss in four games for the Giants, who now head to Los Angeles.
What fans will remember is Kapler pulling a sailing Tyler Anderson after five innings and 66 pitches, surrendering just two hits and two walks against his old team. Anderson, who has maxed out at 49 pitches and threw two innings and 26 pitches Sunday, was removed in the bottom of the sixth at what had been his home stadium for four years. He’s coming off knee surgery that held him to five starts last year, and he was expected to begin this year on the IL before the COVID pause.
Kapler apparently wanted to be safe, especially after Anderson had seen the Rockies lineup twice. The Giants replaced him with another lefty, which did not work out.
The second batter Wandy Peralta faced, Trevor Story, pulverized a 447-foot homer to left to snap a scoreless game and have much of Giants Twitter condemning the large cheat sheet Kapler keeps in his back pocket.
Manager decisions that backfire tend to be largely forgotten when the team wins, and Dubon sure tried to keep the story positive. After surviving the roster cutdown that morning — Steven Duggar and Andrew Suarez instead were demoted as the roster hit 28 — the super utilityman (who made a nice play in center earlier) stepped to the plate in the seventh inning with two on facing Colorado’s Kyle Freeland, who was rolling.
Freeland was at 96 pitches when manager Bud Black came to speak to him on the mound. He was removed after 97, Dubon depositing his offering to left and screaming his way around the bases as the Giants took a 3-1 lead that would not last.
Rico Garcia, whose upper-90s heat had been so effective this season, went double-double-home run in the bottom of the inning, the last shot from Daniel Murphy that put the Rockies ahead (and appeared to feature a glance toward Dubon). Caleb Baragar entered and allowed a two-run shot to Charlie Blackmon, the Rockies blowing the game open with a five-run inning that reminded that Coors Field is Coors Field.
Here's the vid of Daniel Murphy appearing to stare down Dubon in center pic.twitter.com/7g4YyWWpAu
— Jake Montero (@jakemmontero) August 6, 2020
The Giants got one back in the eighth, when a pinch-hitting Mike Yastrzemski knocked in Donovan Solano (who cannot be stopped: The game’s shortstop went 3-for-4 and is now slashing .465/.478/.674). The inning concluded with Pablo Sandoval bouncing out with the bases loaded, though, and that would end the Giants’ best threat.
Buried is Anderson’s start, relying heavily on a changeup that got seven swings and misses and looking like the pitcher who starred in Denver in 2016.
Buried is a very clean game the Giants played, so much a focus of this season, Dubon robbing Matt Kemp at the wall, Evan Longoria beginning a nice double play, Sandoval smoothly picking a bounced Wilmer Flores throw in the fourth to escape trouble.
On the surface is Kapler’s usage of pitchers, which has been curious to start with because of 1) how slowly the pitchers have been built up and 2) how many injuries there are around baseball. Kapler did not want Anderson to join the latter category, and perhaps it cost a game.