DENVER -- Many teams have proven over the years that if you get hot at the right time late in the season, you can make a run in October. It’s the hope of every contender in September, and the Giants, in the thick of the National League Wild Card race, are no exception.
But many teams that have been out of contention late in the season have also proven something: that they can have an impact on a postseason race, as well. Those realities clashed again Saturday, when the Giants dropped Game 1 of their split doubleheader against the Rockies at Coors Field, 9-5.
It was San Francisco’s second consecutive loss to the team with the league’s worst record, and with it, the Giants also failed to make up ground in the standings.
- Giants games remaining (14): at COL (2), at AZ (2), at LAD (4), vs. SD (3), vs. LAD (3)
- Standings update: The Giants (75-73) are 1 1/2 games behind the Reds (77-72) and D-backs (77-72), and a game behind the Marlins (76-72) in the hunt for the third National League Wild Card spot. The Giants hold the tiebreaker over the Marlins, as San Francisco's 22-15 intradivision record is well ahead of Miami's 22-22 record. Cincinnati and Arizona had yet to play Saturday, and Miami was in action against the Braves in Miami.
The Giants knew Saturday would be challenging, particularly for the pitching staff -- having to cover 18 or more innings in the thin air of Denver is no easy task.
But it was the futility of the lineup that continued to dog San Francisco on “Bark at the Park” day at Coors Field, a place where failing at the plate stings that much more because of the venue’s hitter-friendly reputation.
Despite putting runners on base in every inning, the Giants could only muster five runs a day after being no-hit through eight innings in a 3-2 loss. One of the runs in Saturday’s first game came courtesy of a passed ball in the third inning. Blake Sabol delivered a two-run double in the second, and LaMonte Wade Jr. launched his 15th homer of the year in the eighth.
“We just haven’t been cashing in [with runners on base] enough,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “The biggest issue we have right now is that we’re having opportunities with runners in scoring position, we’re getting runners on base with no outs … and we’re just not able to come up with the big blow. We know that’s the key for us.”
The Rockies, meanwhile, put forth an offensive performance more befitting of their home park. Rookie shortstop Ezequiel Tovar drove in a career-high four runs with a bases-loaded triple in the third and an RBI single in the sixth.
A pair of former Giants also helped put another small dent into San Francisco’s playoff chances -- Kris Bryant produced a fifth-inning RBI single and Austin Wynns’ two-run single in the seventh capped the scoring for Colorado.