Rockies lament lost chances as Giants finish sweep

May 20th, 2024

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Rockies’ clutch hitting that led to a seven-game win streak didn’t show while they were swept by the Giants in three games -- the latest a 4-1 decision at Oracle Park on Sunday.

homered in the first inning for a 1-0 lead, but chances in the fifth and eighth inning went for naught. Also, starting pitcher Dakota Hudson’s leadoff walk to Marco Luciano and McMahon’s unexpected error in the bottom of the fifth led to a three-run inning from which the Rockies never recovered.

What can a team that swept the highly regarded Rangers at Coors Field and the Padres on the road, and believes it is better than its 15-31 record, take from a disappointing day and sweep?

1. Good at-bats make all the difference.

Jake Cave singled and Jordan Beck doubled with one out in the fifth against Jordan Hicks, who was ill pregame and left his lunch and his upper 90s fastball in the clubhouse. But Hunter Goodman, who earned Sunday’s start with two hits on Saturday, chased a 1-2 sweeper that traveled through the opposite batter’s box.

Hicks walked Jacob Stallings, but Charlie Blackmon, trying to club a 95 mph fastball high in the zone, popped out.

The Giants went up 4-1 on Heliot Ramos’ sixth-inning leadoff homer off Victor Vodnik. The game was winnable, but the Rockies’ poor swinging made it look otherwise. Giants reliever Taylor Rogers walked Jacob Stallings and Blackmon with one out in the eighth, but forced a popout from Ezequiel Tovar and a McMahon grounder.

“During the seven-game winning streak, we got a lot of clutch hits -- big hits, two-out hits -- we kept innings going,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “Overall this season, hitting with runners in scoring position has been frustrating for us.

“Today in the fifth and the eighth, we had chances, couldn't get the big hit. I'll mention again -- when we went on our little streak, we got that done. So that happens. We’ve got to be a little bit more consistent in that regard to win ballgames.”

2. Starter blues have come back around.

Starting pitching ranged from solid to outstanding during the win streak. But none of the three starters -- Ryan Feltner, Ty Blach and Hudson (1-7) – made five innings against the Giants.

Hudson wasn’t sharp but he was plenty resourceful enough to hold the Giants through four.

Hudson had been dogged by walks in previous outings. He had just one going into the fifth. Hudson also jumped to an 0-2 count against Luciano but missed on the next four pitches -- all breaking balls.

“I felt like he was over the heater a little bit, and that was the right pitch to go with [the ball-four slider],” Hudson said. “I can look back at it a million times, but that's just what I felt like it was the right thing.”

The inning devolved into a nightmare of contact to wrong places. LaMonte Wade Jr.’s RBI single to tie the game at 1 was solid. But a Thairo Estrada grounder forced shortstop Tovar to make a good play for one out but a double play was impossible, and a Chapman infield single drove in a run.

Hudson lasted just 4 2/3 innings on a day when it looked as if he would make enough pitches to go deeper.

3. Still, count on big plays from McMahon.

McMahon dove to his right to snare a hard Jorge Soler grounder and make the type of play that has had him finish the last three seasons as a Gold Glove finalist.

The fifth should have ended on Luis Matos’ roller his way, but the ball went under McMahon’s glove.

“That was one of those weird things where he was trying to rush in from third and save me that run, get us out of that inning” Hudson said. “It died under his glove a little bit. But just keep getting him opportunities, and we’ll be just fine.”