DENVER – A five-run lead wasn’t safe for the Giants on Monday. A six-run lead remained dangerous for the Rockies on Tuesday.
Turns out seven was the lucky number. For one afternoon, anyway.
Ryan Vogelsong gave up four home runs in a start for the first time in his career and the Giants didn’t have anything close to a seven-run comeback left in their bats or legs in a 9-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.
Buster Posey hit a tiebreaking single in the fifth inning but the Giants’ 2-1 lead didn’t come close to standing up. Nolan Arenado’s three-run home run off Vogelsong put the Rockies ahead and they managed to take the season series from the Giants for the first time since 2008, winning 10 of 19.
The Rockies took two of three at Coors Field – although it’s a four-game split if you count the Giants’ win in Monday’s resumption of the May 22 suspended game.
Starting pitching report
If Vogelsong re-signs with the Giants after this season, maybe he can use a doctor’s note to get out of pitching at Coors Field again.
Vogelsong (8-10) has allowed 17 home runs in 28 starts this season, and seven of them have come in his two outings at Colorado. He’d never allowed four home runs in a game before Wednesday, when Corey Dickerson got him twice and Arenado blew apart what had been a competitive outing.
Dickerson hit a solo shot in the second inning and Vogelsong, handed a 2-1 lead in the fifth, gave it up right away when a two-out walk led to a four-run inning. Justin Morneau singled, Arenado drilled a first-pitch fastball over the leaping try from Gregor Blanco in left field and then Dickerson made it back-to-back shots by connecting on a first-pitch curveball.
Bruce Bochy stuck with Vogelsong in the sixth, and the move didn’t work out. Michael McKenry led off with a home run, then a couple of Coors Field hits knocked the right-hander from the game.
Juan Gutierrez, who had a cortisone injection on Thursday to address biceps tendinitis, entered and allowed both of Vogelsong’s runners to score on Josh Rutledge’s triple.
Vogelsong was charged with a career high-tying eight earned runs on 10 hits and two walks in five-plus innings.
He also happened to draw Angel Hernandez as the plate umpire. At Coors Field.
For the second time in this series, a Giants reliever blew 100 mph gas in his major league debut. Two days after Hunter Strickland threw fuel and hit 100 mph once, Erik Cordier was even more electric.
His first five fastballs while striking out Drew Stubbs in the seventh inning: 100, 100, 101, 101, 100.
Cordier spent 11 seasons in the minor leagues for four organizations before getting his chance, so it wasn’t too surprising when he threw one of his warmup pitches over Buster Posey’s head and to the screen. He pitched around a walk and a hit batter in a scoreless inning.
Brett Bochy warmed up in the eighth inning but Hunter Strickland was able to pitch around a single while throwing upper-90s heat. As our own civic treasure Ray Ratto tweeted: “So Bochy spares his son the Angel Hernandez experience. Spare the squeeze, spoil the child.”
At the plate
Posey stayed hot and drove in both the Giants’ runs. He lifted a sacrifice fly in the first inning to score Blanco, who led off the game with a single. When Blanco tripled in the fifth, Posey again came through with a two-out single that gave the Giants a 2-1 lead.
At that point, Posey was batting .500 (28 for 56) over his last 13 games and his average was up to .305.
But Rockies right-hander Christian Bergman leaned on his defense while holding the Giants to two runs despite not striking out a batter in his six innings. It helped that the Giants grounded into two double plays and made an additional mistake on the basepaths, when Juan Perez was thrown out going from second to third on a ground ball in the second inning.
The Giants had two position players make their big league debuts. Gary Brown pinch-hit in the seventh and was robbed of a jam-shot single when Dickerson made a sliding catch in left field. Chris Dominguez came off the bench and hit into a double play in the ninth.
Blanco was charged with an error on a dropped foul fly in the third inning – his first error since July 3, 2012, at Washington. He had gone 305 games without an error, which was the longest streak among NL outfielders.
The Rockies announced 23,122 paid. See you next year, Dinger. If we must.
As PR man Matt Chisholm phrased it in the game notes, “The Giants will enjoy a day off (Thursday) in Detroit before taking on the Tigers for a three-game tilt this weekend at Comerica Park.” Whether they enjoy a day off in Detroit or not is debatable. More certain: It’ll be Jake Peavy (3-4, 2.66 ERA) vs. Tigers right-hander Rick Porcello (15-9, 3.10) on Friday and Madison Bumgarner (16-9, 2.97) vs. Tigers left-hander David Price (13-10, 3.25) on Saturday. Tim Hudson (9-9. 3.08) pitches the series finale vs. TBA on Sunday.