Broken glove, HBP lead to Cron's 'weird day'

September 22nd, 2022

DENVER -- What should have been the end of the first inning became the start of a bad Wednesday night, when a throw that should have completed a double play went through the webbing of Rockies first baseman C.J. Cron’s glove.

The Rockies’ night didn’t improve. Neither did Cron’s.

Colorado continued its exhibition of weak contact and non-contact by not managing a hit until the sixth inning in its third straight loss to San Francisco, a 6-1 defeat at Coors Field. Over the first three contests of a four-game set that ends Thursday, the Rockies have racked up 24 strikeouts and 38 groundouts for 62 of their 84 outs against Giants pitching.

“This hasn’t been the best start to a series,” Cron said. “They’ve had our number -- especially their pitching has.”

Colorado's hitters struggled, at least until Elehuris Montero’s leadoff homer in the ninth, one of the team's five hits, that prevented a shutout. Also, the Rockies' defense was spotty enough to make starter Germán Márquez’s line -- five innings, nine hits, four runs (three earned) -- worse than it actually was.

Wednesday's loss was far from the fault of Cron, who has put up some career-best numbers in 2022, often while trying to prop up a struggling, depleted lineup. But his night sure embodied the Rockies' frustration.

A bad night for Cron -- whose equipment failure earned him an error and gave the Giants their first run -- continued when Giants starter Logan Webb shattered Cron's bat to induce a grounder to end the first. Cron’s misfortune turned to pain in the fourth, when Webb hit him with a pitch on the back of the left hand.

Cron left before his turn in the sixth, and the Rockies announced that the slugger sustained a left hand contusion -- but X-rays did not reveal structural damage. Still, it was a flashback to July 8, when Cron was hit by a pitch on the left wrist, causing him to miss the next two games, the first two he missed this year.

“One-hour rain delay, then [the glove failure], then the hit-by-pitch; it was a weird day,” Cron said. “And it’s kind of unfortunate, a double-play ball in the first inning that turns into a run.

“I’ve had [the ball] stuck in the glove, where you almost couldn’t transfer it out. That’s happened a few times, but there wasn’t even a hole. The laces just ripped in two spots. I’ve never seen that happen.”

Cron was batting .295 when he missed his first pair of games. A downturn started shortly thereafter, and -- despite a career-high 101 RBIs and 29 home runs (one short of his best) -- his batting average has dipped to .267. It's still been a solid year, but not enough to carry a lineup that barely has been together because of injuries that have limited Kris Bryant to 42 games.

On Wednesday, the Rockies were also without José Iglesias, who is on the injured list with a right thumb contusion, and Brendan Rodgers, who is nursing a left hamstring strain.

The ball that hit Cron's hand was almost as odd as the ball that went through his glove. Because of a history of being hit on the hand -- he crowds the plate, and opponents work up and in -- he wears a pad on it. The ball in July hit Cron more on the wrist, where it was uncovered. This one somehow eluded the padding on his hand.

“It kind of got in the crevice of the pad somehow, like half-pad, half-hand,” Cron said. "I was kind of confused why I felt like I did, because I wear the hand pad. But after watching the replay, I guess it kind of snuck in there a little bit. But no break, so it should be all right.”

Márquez nearly escaped the first unscathed when he forced a David Villar grounder, until shortstop Alan Trejo’s throw went through Cron’s glove. Oddly, it was the second time glove strangeness cost the Rockies against the Giants. During an Aug. 21 loss, a grounder went between the index and middle fingers of third baseman Ryan McMahon’s glove.

The Giants’ two-run fourth was legit, thanks to Brandon Crawford’s leadoff double and Jason Vosler’s RBI triple. But in the fifth, an unclean exchange between Trejo and second baseman Garrett Hampson cost another possible double play and eventually led to a San Francisco run.

Márquez’s six strikeouts were a more accurate measure of his night. In his previous start, he held the Cubs to two runs in seven innings, but Colorado lost, 2-1.

“My stuff was a lot better than in Chicago,” said Márquez, who was visibly frustrated when several hits scooted along the grass and through the infield.

“Baseball happened to him today, but his stuff was good -- one walk, six strikeouts," manager Bud Black said. "The way he threw the ball, I was OK with."