Wild finish goes against Rockies in San Francisco
Colorado thwarts inside-the-park homer before 10th-inning walk-off
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Rockies have lost games and series to the Giants at AT&T Park in weirder and more deflating ways than Sunday afternoon's 5-4, 10-inning decision.
Brandon Crawford's leadoff homer in the bottom of the 10th was the difference. Sure, it was just Crawford's fifth homer off a left-handed pitcher in 370 career games and just the third Rex Brothers (1-1) has served up to a lefty in 201 career appearances. But different stuff happens often in Giants-Rockies tussles at AT&T Park, where the Rockies haven't won a three-game series since May 31-June 2, 2010.
"It was a called fastball inside and that's what we wanted, and I feel like we executed it pretty well. If anything, it was up," Brothers said. "But you know what? Today was a great game. Unfortunately for us to lose in that fashion and the series in that fashion, it stings.
"You want to come in and win a series. More than anything, I thought I made my pitch and he got to it."
But at least the Rockies avoided getting walked off in inside-the-park fashion for the second straight year.
It happened when Angel Pagan did it last May 25. On Sunday, Gregor Blanco tried it in the bottom of the ninth, only to be erased with strong throws from right fielder Michael Cuddyer and second baseman DJ LeMahieu and a diving tag by catcher Wilin Rosario.
And while the Rockies couldn't close the deal, it wasn't the docile loss that occurred so many times over the years. Rosario and Justin Morneau hit their first home runs of the season as the Rockies scratched out four runs off Giants starter Tim Hudson on just five hits in seven innings.
So after three one-run games, two going the Giants' way, it was the same result but somehow didn't have that same-ol' feel.
"You talk about it being a bottom-line business, so you want to win the series," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "But it was a great game, a great series. Crawford hit a walk-off against one of the best left-handers in all the game. What are you going to do?"
And maybe from Crawford's perspective, a homer off a difficult-to-handle lefty isn't totally weird. He is 7-for-14 against lefties this season, which should diminish the possibility that manager Bruce Bochy will sit him when he sees "LHP" on the pitching probables.
"I knew it was something I needed to work on," said Crawford, who hit a 91 mph fastball for his first career "splash hit" -- into McCovey Cove beyond the right-field wall. "It was pretty cool until I got my head bashed by everybody.
"Now I just have to figure out how to hit righties [.208 against them this season]."
Tyler Chatwood (six innings, four runs, five strikeouts), in his first start after missing the beginning of the season with a left hamstring strain, was pitching well and had a 1-0 lead on Rosario's second-inning home run off Hudson. A Crawford sacrifice fly and Pagan's two-run single in the fifth gave the Giants a 3-1 lead. Pablo Sandoval made it 4-1 with a homer to right to open the sixth.
"That was the only bad pitch I felt I threw," Chatwood said. "I was happy to get back out there on the mound."
However, Morneau's two-out homer in the seventh and consecutive doubles in the eighth by Nolan Arenado and LeMahieu set the Rockies up to tie the game. When the Giants went to lefty Javier Lopez, pinch-hitter Drew Stubbs subbed for Charlie Blackmon -- and his .488 batting average -- and dribbled a single through the left side to drive in LeMahieu to tie the game.
"I would have taken a beating for that one [had Stubbs not delievered]," Weiss said. "But you know what? Javy Lopez makes a lot of money and he's been one of the best in all the game at getting left-handed hitters out."
Blanco's attempt to cover all the bases occurred on his drive to the right-center-field wall against Adam Ottavino with two out in the ninth. The ball didn't carom where Cuddyer expected, then he fumbled the pickup. But the throws were accurate and Blanco was out.
"Right off the bat and right after it hit the wall, I was thinking about last year and how that happened," said LeMahieu, who said the roar of the fans left him with no doubt that he was going to have to make the throw to the plate.
Sergio Romo (1-0) fanned Rockies pinch-hitter Josh Rutledge to start a strike-'em-out, throw-'em-out double play to end the top of the 10th.