DENVER – Tim Hudson has won a major league game in 35 different ballparks, but never at Coors Field.
After Monday afternoon, he has to be wondering if he ever will.
The Giants played two games and Hudson had the rare distinction, if not the pleasure, of receiving no-decisions in both of them. After prevailing in the suspended game that Hudson started way back on May 22, the Giants took the field again and held a five-run lead in the sixth inning.
Then they blew it. Then they tied it in the ninth. Then they lost.
In other words … Coors Field.
Jean Machi served up the lead and a tiebreaking, two-run homer in a four-pitch span in the seventh, and despite a stirring comeback that tied it in the ninth, Charlie Blackmon lined a walk-off single against Sergio Romo that sent the Giants to a 10-9 loss against the Colorado Rockies.
Hudson didn’t retire any of the four batters he faced in the sixth inning, although a dropped catch error from second baseman Joe Panik played a role in that. The Rockies scored four in the sixth and completed their comeback an inning later, as manager Bruce Bochy stuck with Machi after using most of his frontline relievers in the earlier game.
The Giants scored two in the ninth when Panik doubled, Buster Posey hit an RBI single up the middle, a wild pitch advanced pinch runner Juan Perez and Pablo Sandoval singled on a two-strike fastball from LaTroy Hawkins.
But three singles and a sacrifice bunt combined to beat them in the bottom of the inning.
Hunter Pence’s three-run homer and three RBI hits from Brandon Crawford wasn’t enough.
Starting pitching report
Hudson was 0-2 with a 7.05 ERA in seven career starts at Coors Field, the only NL ballpark where he hadn’t registered a victory. He even watched a decision melt away here last year when Craig Kimbrel blew a two-run lead in the ninth.
So you can bet Hudson wasn’t icing his highball glass after receiving a 4-0 lead in the first inning. He gave back half that lead in the second inning, when a single and a hit batter preceded No.8 hitter D.J. LeMahieu’s two-run triple into the right field corner.
Hudson settled back down, struck out two in the third, pitched around Pablo Sandoval’s error in the fifth inning and got two nice running catches from Angel Pagan in center field to qualify for the decision.
He did not retire a batter in the sixth, though. A leadoff walk to Corey Dickerson came back to hurt, as Michael McKenry hit a soft single and Josh Rutledge lined an RBI hit. Pinch hitter Matt McBride followed with a potential double-play grounder to third base, but Panik dropped Sandoval’s throw for an error as another run scored to make it 7-4.
Bochy came to take the baseball, and Hudson’s fate rested with the bullpen. Five of the six runs charged to him were earned.
Javier Lopez entered and faced switch hitter Rafael Ynoa, who was making his major league debut and singled off Hudson an inning earlier. Ynoa, batting right-handed this time, improved to 2-for-2 – with a hit from both sides – when he lined his RBI single to left-center.
Blackmon followed with a hard grounder to shortstop that Crawford knocked down and recovered in time to get the forceout at second base as another run scored to make it 6-5.
Machi entered and struck out Drew Stubbs, then after an intentional walk to Justin Morneau, he got Nolan Arenado to fly out near the track in center field to preserve the slim lead and Hudson’s decision.
But it didn’t stay intact through the seventh, and the Rockies went through a mouse hole to score the tying run. Dickerson reached when a third strike bounded away from Buster Posey, and after a sacrifice bunt, Rutledge hit a grounder that barely escaped Sandoval’s grasp. Gregor Blanco’s throw from left field was hopelessly off line as Dickerson scored the tying run.
Then the mouse hole turned into a rip clear through the dry wall, as Ben Paulsen’s pinch two-run home run cleared the right field scoreboard to give the Rockies a 9-7 lead.
Right-hander Hunter Strickland made a memorable debut appearance in the eighth, hitting 100 mph while pitching around two singles and benefiting from a Posey-Panik connection to throw out a runner at second base. He threw 16 fastballs: 12 at 98 mph, three at 99 mph and one at 100.
Romo entered in the ninth and gave up a single to McKenry. After a sacrifice, Ynoa dribbed a single to the left side to put runners at the corners. Blackmon followed by lacing a first-pitch fastball at 85 mph down the right field line to end it.
At the plate
Pence started last September with a home run against the Arizona Diamondbacks and finished the month with 11 homers, 32 RBIs, a .667 slugging percentage and a five-year, $90 million contract.
Another banner September could be just what the Giants need to carry them into the postseason.
Pence hit a tiebreaking double in the suspended game, a 4-2 victory, and his three-run homer in the first inning helped the Giants get off to a rousing start in the regularly scheduled matinee.
Panik and Posey singled ahead of Pence’s shot, which kept carrying to right-center until Blackmon ran out of room to chase it. It was Pence’s 19th home run of the season.
Joaquin Arias, a late replacement for Michael Morse at first base, reached in each of his first three plate appearances. He and Gregor Blanco walked and Crawford followed with an RBI single to cap a four-run first inning.
Arias singled and scored on Crawford’s second RBI hit off Franklin Morales in the fourth to give the Giants a 5-2 lead.
They added two in the fifth when Posey doubled, Morales issued a one-out intentional walk to Pence, then busted the Rockies’ strategy by walking Arias to load the bases. Left-hander Yohan Flande entered on a double-switch along with Ynoa, the second baseman, who was making his big league debut. Ynoa’s first act was to lose his balance while fielding Blanco’s ground ball, preventing the Rockies from a chance at an inning-ending double play as they settled for a forceout at second base. Crawford followed by stinging a double through the right side for his third RBI hit of the game, all of them against left-handed pitchers.
Extra baserunners, whether they’re leadoff walks or hit batters or errors, almost always come back to bite you at Coors Field.
The Rockies announced 33,711 paid.
The Giants and Rockies continue their three-game series on Tuesday at Coors Field. Yusmeiro Petit (4-3, 3.44 ERA) takes the mound against Rockies right-hander Jordan Lyles (6-2, 4.08). First pitch is scheduled for 5:40 p.m. PDT.