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Rockies score but can't halt losing skid

April 13, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- Nolan Arenado spun around from his spot in the batter’s box and gave home-plate umpire D.J. Reyburn a mean glare, veins bulging from the side of his neck. Soon Arenado’s helmet and bat would be tossed to the dirt in disgust as he argued against a called

SAN FRANCISCO -- Nolan Arenado spun around from his spot in the batter’s box and gave home-plate umpire D.J. Reyburn a mean glare, veins bulging from the side of his neck. Soon Arenado’s helmet and bat would be tossed to the dirt in disgust as he argued against a called third strike.

A bit inside? Replays made a strong case for the Rockies.

But Arenado’s strikeout and subsequent outburst came at a crucial time, killing a run-scoring threat in the sixth inning of Saturday’s 5-2 defeat to the Giants at Oracle Park, the Rockies’ eighth straight loss.

Arenado started the at-bat in an 0-2 hole but worked a full count before eventually striking out, stranding Garrett Hampson on third base. Asked if he felt like that strikeout was a microcosm of his team’s season so far, Rockies manager Bud Black said, “We’re fighting. Proud of the way the guys are battling, but just things aren’t going our way.”

The frustration is rising. Not since June 21-28, 2017, have the Rockies suffered an eight-game skid. The 3-12 start to the season is the worst in franchise history. The team’s lone win in April came 10 days ago -- when it squeaked out a 1-0 victory in 11 innings.

“Of course guys are going to press,” Ian Desmond said after going 0-for-3 to drop his average to .151. “But we as a team need to overcome that and find a way to win games.”

Once again, fingers could be pointed at an anemic offense that’s averaging just 2.8 runs per contest this season, third-worst in the Majors. Just don’t try to point any blame at Kyle Freeland’s left middle finger, which he said swelled with blood following the second inning. Though Freeland’s breaking pitches looked a bit flat on occasion -- most notably the curveball that Kevin Pillar crushed for a solo shot in the fifth -- he said the blister didn’t hold him back.

“I’ve had it before,” Freeland said. “We know how to manage it. But it wasn’t affecting me.”

The 25-year-old southpaw gave up three runs on a season-high nine hits, but was pulled after just five innings and 76 pitches. Freeland spoke with Black and the coaching staff after the fifth but was pulled as a precaution. The last thing the Rockies need is another early injury.

“I wanted to keep pitching,” Freeland said. “But with the way things were, they wanted to get me out of there so I don’t miss my next start.”

The offense’s recent funk by the Bay continued Saturday, the lineup flummoxed by a sharp performance from Madison Bumgarner. Hampson ended a 19-inning scoreless streak for the Rockies with his sixth-inning RBI before Mark Reynolds hit a solo shot in the seventh, the team’s first home run since Monday. Otherwise? Nada from the offense.

“Every time I talk to you guys, it’s, ‘Oh, we’ll be fine. We’ll be fine,’” Reynolds told reporters after the game. “But at some point you got to hit that panic button and you got to start doing the little things right.”

Reynolds' blast cut the Rockies’ deficit to a run, but Seunghwan Oh allowed the Giants to load the bases before Mike Dunn gave up a pair of sacrifice flies to give San Francisco a three-run cushion in the eighth.