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Gausman homecoming not quite as planned

@JesseSanchezMLB
August 5, 2020

Giants right-hander Kevin Gausman surely dreamed of scenarios like Tuesday’s. The Colorado native was on the mound against the Rockies at Coors Field, finally pitching as a big leaguer in his home state, and he was pitching well. He had been here before. First as a fan in the seats

Giants right-hander Kevin Gausman surely dreamed of scenarios like Tuesday’s. The Colorado native was on the mound against the Rockies at Coors Field, finally pitching as a big leaguer in his home state, and he was pitching well.

He had been here before. First as a fan in the seats near the bullpen and in upper levels in center field. And later pitching at Coors Field as a high school star. Coors Field is where he watched Ubaldo Jiménez, his teammate in Baltimore, shine as a Rockies star. This is the park where some of his best baseball memories were made.

But this was his first time pitching as a Major Leaguer in the park near his boyhood home.

“It's kind of crazy to think that I have almost seven years in the big leagues, and this is the first time I got the pitch here,” Gausman said. “And last year, I was supposed to pitch here, but it ended up snowing, which I thought was pretty perfect for the situation.”

Box score

But it wasn’t meant to be. Gausman was charged with four runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings in the 5-2 loss, the Giants’ third defeat in a row. The right-hander struck out seven and walked one in the second-deepest start of the year by a San Francisco starter (Jeff Samardzija went 5 2/3 innings on Sunday against the Rangers).

“I planned that when I come and play here that I was going to have a crazy amount of people that I was going to have to get tickets for and was probably going to have to buy an entire section,” Gausman said of pitching at Coors Field before the COVID-19 pandemic. “That kind of helped save me some money at least.”

Gausman racked up 15 swing and misses, the most by a Giants starter this season. His fastball averaged 95.3 mph and topped out at 97.6 mph in the 83-pitch outing. The righty gave up a run in the first inning and rebounded to retire the next seven in a row. He ran into trouble in the fourth as the Rockies tacked on two more runs to take a 3-0 lead.

The Giants came close to tying the game in the fifth inning when Steven Duggar’s drive to left field hit off of the yellow padding on the top of the wall and bounced back into play. He was originally awarded a three-run homer, but the play was reversed after an umpires’ review. Duggar was awarded a double. Brandon Crawford and Mauricio Dubón scored on the play to cut the Rockies’ lead to 3-2.

“Upon reviewing, it looked like the call was correct. It bounced up and bounced back up on the field,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “The only conversation that I had at that point with the umpires was runner placement. One way to think about this: Duggar is pretty fast, so, I guess you could make a case that he should be awarded third base. But this is really the umpire’s call or the booth’s call, the people that have the best view of the play, so I understand it.”

Duggar was stranded at second base, and the Giants did not score again.

“Personally I thought it was gone off the bat, but I guess I might need to do a few more curls in the offseason,” Duggar said. “They said it hit the top and came back into play, so there was a lot of confusion at the time, and unfortunately, it didn't didn't work out in our favor.”

As for Gausman, he gave up a home run to Nolan Arenado in the sixth for Colorado’s fourth run and a double to next hitter, Daniel Murphy. He struck out Matt Kemp and was replaced by Tony Watson. The Giants’ defense committed three errors to up their season total to 16.

“It's very difficult to ask for better results than what we saw from [Gausman] today against this lineup in this ballpark,” Kapler said. “Our defense needs to make plays behind our pitchers in order for them to really see the best possible results of their efforts. ... We're all in this together. We have to figure out a way to correct this and improve this, so that when a guy pitches his tail off, we can reward him.”

Jesse Sanchez, who has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.