SAN FRANCISCO -- Chris Shaw made Sunday afternoon a promising one for the Giants, despite their 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies.Shaw rapped a pair of singles, including a sixth-inning hit that drove in San Francisco's first run. The power that has made Shaw one of the Giants' top offensive
SAN FRANCISCO -- Chris Shaw made Sunday afternoon a promising one for the Giants, despite their 3-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
Shaw rapped a pair of singles, including a sixth-inning hit that drove in San Francisco's first run. The power that has made Shaw one of the Giants' top offensive prospects wasn't in evidence, but that didn't matter. Once Shaw begins making more consistent contact, the Giants believe his singling will morph into slugging. Days like this, when Shaw sprayed pitches to all fields and avoided striking out, represent progress for him.
Shaw, who headlined San Francisco's group of late-season callups, entered the game with a .045 (1-for-22) batting average for the Giants. That one hit was a pinch-hit home run in Colorado on Sept. 3, but it paled alongside his 13 strikeouts. Shaw often looked confused, overmatched or both against Major League pitching. Rather than leave Shaw in the everyday lineup to swallow one big gulp of experience, manager Bruce Bochy decided to ration the left-handed batter's activity to prevent him from being overwhelmed.
"I've gone 7-for-80 before. I don't really sweat this type of stuff," Shaw said after his first big league multiple-hit game. "It's a small sample size. I'm just happy to get my feet wet and get the opportunity."
Shaw explained that starting the process of his swing earlier has eased the task of hitting. Something has worked. Instead of flailing aimlessly at pitches or standing paralyzed with the bat on his shoulder, Shaw looked downright comfortable against the Rockies (82-67), who are in the thick of National League West race with the Dodgers.
"He looked like he was a lot more relaxed today, I thought," Bochy said.
Demonstrating patience, Shaw slapped his first hit to center field in the second inning after working the count full.
Shaw then wasted no time in the sixth, lashing a first-pitch line drive through an overshifted defense. That reflected more of the Giants' encouragement to Shaw: Be yourself; be aggressive. Don't worry about swinging and missing.
Shaw ended the eighth inning by flying out in his final at-bat. Even that bore the stamp of a power hitter. The ball forced Colorado left fielder David Dahl to backpedal until he made the catch about a step in front of the warning track.
"He just missed that one," Bochy said.
Unfortunately for the Giants, this wasn't enough support for Dereck Rodriguez, San Francisco's NL Rookie of the Year candidate. Rodriguez (6-4) yielded three runs, all in the second inning, and endured the ignominy of opposing pitcher Antonio Senzatela rapping a two-run single. Senzatela entered the game with an .063 batting average (1-for-16), but Rodriguez couldn't put him away with the bases loaded and one out.
"That was an eventful inning," said Rodriguez, who lasted six innings and surrendered two hits after the second inning.
A one-out fielding error by first baseman Austin Slater made two of the runs unearned. Slater ultimately atoned with an eighth-inning RBI single. Afterward, Bochy barely mentioned Slater's mistake and focused more on the walk that Chris Iannetta drew on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases for Senzatela.
"Really, you look at that inning and [Rodriguez] shouldn't have even given up a run," Bochy said. "An error and a missed call. [Rodriguez] had Iannetta struck out. I don't care how you look at that. That's strike three."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Shortstop Brandon Crawford was in his Gold Glove-winning groove. He dove to snare Iannetta's fourth-inning grounder before throwing crisply to first base for the out.
Then came a seventh-inning double play that he collaborated on with second baseman Joe Panik, who started the sequence by fielding a Nolan Arenado grounder. Their footwork left one wondering whether they teach ballroom dance classes in the offseason.
Rodriguez has not allowed more than three runs in each of his 11 home starts this season. Sunday, he improved his home ERA to 2.15.
The Giants embark upon their final road trip of the season, visiting San Diego for three games before playing three more at St. Louis with a scheduled off-day Thursday in between series. Andrew Suarez (6-11), who's 2-6 with a 5.73 ERA in 13 road starts, will make his first career appearance at Petco Park in Monday's 7:10 p.m. PT opener. The Padres will counter with right-hander Bryan Mitchell (1-3).
Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.