Longoria liner saves Giants from no-hit fate

April 15th, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants have never been no-hit at Oracle Park, but they came close to seeing that streak end on Sunday afternoon.

Rockies right-hander German Marquez flirted with history before singled through the left side to break up his no-hit bid with one out in the eighth inning. It did little to deter Marquez, who fired a one-hit shutout to lead Colorado to a 4-0 win and halt San Francisco's three-game win streak.

“He’s good,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We knew that coming into this game. He throws an easy 97, he’s got a great slider. He was on top of his game. He really pounded the strike zone. The few balls we did hit hard, we hit right at them, so we had a little tough luck there, but give credit where it’s due. He pitched a heck of a game. He’s gonna throw a lot of games like that. That’s how good his stuff is.”

Marquez, who struck out nine and threw 105 pitches in his first career shutout, retired the first 15 hitters he faced before hitting Kevin Pillar to lead off the sixth. Pillar and Longoria ended up being the Giants’ only two baserunners of the game.

“Sometimes it feels kind of like survival mode,” Longoria said. “Everybody is just trying to get a hit for the morale of the team. I felt like today we hit some balls pretty hard throughout the course of the game and nothing fell.”

It proved to be a tough end to the series for the Giants, who had arrived at Oracle Park with a chance to clinch their first sweep of the year. But they don’t plan to spend too much time dwelling on the loss, as they still came away with their first series win after taking three out of four games from the Rockies, including a 3-2 walk-off win in an 18-inning marathon that ended early Saturday morning. 

“I think everybody feels pretty good about the way we played in this series,” Longoria said. “Taking three out of four from a divisional team is a good thing. Just from my perception of it, the 18-inning game that we ended up winning, those were games that last year we were losing. And then to come back the next day and get another win is huge. It’s a big morale boost when you win games like that.”  

Strong pitching emerged as the common thread for San Francisco this weekend. Over their first three games against the Rockies, the Giants’ pitching staff gave up just four runs over 36 innings. Left-hander Derek Holland wasn’t quite as sharp on Sunday, surrendering four runs and walking four over five innings. 

Holland’s biggest mistake came in the fifth, when he misplaced a sinker to Nolan Arenado, who hit it out to left field for a three-run home run. It was the first homer of the season for Arenado, who entered Sunday just 2-for-15 over the first three games of the series.

“It was supposed to be a sinker away,” Holland said. “‘Obviously, it was down the middle. He’s hands down one of the best hitters of the game. The execution is what you need right there in that situation, and the one guy you truly don’t want to beat you put the run up for them. I put that right there on a platter for him.”

Travis Bergen, Trevor Gott and Nick Vincent followed Holland with three clean innings to extend the bullpen’s scoreless streak to 20 innings.

After concluding a 5-5 homestand, San Francisco will now look ahead to an eight-game road trip to Washington, Pittsburgh and Toronto. The Giants will continue to lean on their pitchers, but they are still looking to get more consistency from their lineup, which is averaging only 2.76 runs per game this season.

“We’ve been pretty inconsistent early on,” Longoria said. “I think the guys that are struggling right now, I think we all feel like we’re pretty close to breaking out. The pitching has been doing a really good job keeping us in games.

“We haven’t scored a ton of runs, but we’ve been putting together good at-bats one through nine and then scoring some runs late in games where we needed to. I don’t think we’ve scored a run in the first [inning] all year, but I think that’s something we would like to do. It takes a lot of pressure off the pitchers early on. It’s something that we’ll talk about.”