DENVER – When the city of Denver woke up this morning, the possibilities of the Giants-Rockies game this afternoon was in serious jeopardy.
What no one could have imagined was San Francisco first baseman Tyler Austin swatting two home runs and driving in six runs, one side erasing a seven run deficit, and a ninth inning with the tying run at second, amongst the many heart rattling moments in a ballgame just short of four hours.
And yet, even though the Rockies would tie a franchise record by allowing four or more runs for the fifteenth consecutive game, a win against a divisional rival is exactly that: a win.
The weather at first pitch was overcast and only 39 degrees. The intermittent mix of rain and snow came during the first inning and disappeared for the remainder of the game.
Colorado’s offense appeared early and often against the Giants’ starting pitcher Derek Holland, who was activated from the IL before today’s game.
Trevor Story doubled to right field to get it started with one out. Nolan Arenado, who entered with multi-hit outings in five of his last six games for a .481 batting average (13-for-27), tagged the 2-2 offering into the left field stands for his 10th dinger of the year, staking the Rockies to a 2-0 lead.
Before fans could settle back into their frigid seats, Mark Reynolds lifted the next pitch 425 ft to center field for the 298th homer of his career.
The Rox would load the bases for Freeland, but would have to wait until the second inning for more runs.
Charlie Blackmon singled to begin the second frame and Story took his place at first after the ground ball that forced out Blackmon at second.
On a 3-1 slider, Arenado skied another ball down the left field line. The call on the field was foul; the video replay appeared to be fair. Bud Black spoke with umpires and a crew chief review was not conclusive enough to overturn the call.
Arenado would walk and Reynolds would add two more RBI to the ledger with a double to left field that made the score 5-0.
Ian Desmond smacked a two-run home run to center for his fourth of the year and the route was official with the 7-0 lead.
But the Giants would not lay down without a fight.
Freeland walked Steven Duggar on four straight pitches and Tyler Austin hit one over Raimel Tapia’s head for a two-run homer, extending the streak to thirteen straight games a Rockies starting pitcher has surrendered a home run.
An inning-ending double play ended the third, but Freeland started the fourth with more traffic on the bases, not entirely due to his own shortcomings.
The 25-year-old needed to get five outs in order to complete the inning thanks to defensive errors by Ian Desmond and Raimel Tapia, respectively.
Freeland would give up a double, walk and single in the fourth, but the two errors helped contribute to three runs in the inning, which only one was earned.
Colorado would get back one in the fifth during a two-out rally featuring an RBI single after consecutive walks by Blackmon and Story.
Bryan Shaw would come on for the sixth and looked great through the first two hitters before walking the next two batters and surrendering a game-tying three-run homer to Austin, his second of the game.
At 8-8 in the bottom of the frame, the Rockies responded with some firepower from the bottom of the lineup.
Tapia doubled to left, Desmond walked for the third time in the game, and Chris Iannetta drove in both baserunners with a double.
Pinch hitter Daniel Murphy would single, scoring Iannetta from second base and the Rockies would extend their lead to three, 11-8.
Carlos Estévez pitched an effective seventh and came back for the eighth, but a walk to pinch hitter Joe Panik and another pinch hitter, Stephen Vogt, would double to score Panik.
Scott Oberg got the next three hitters to succumb the Giants’ rally.
An insurance run in the eight put the lead back to three runs when Blackmon’s two-out double came to fruition in the form of Story’s single through the middle.
Wade Davis finished off San Francisco, but not before he’d give up three straight hits and put the tying run on second base.
In the end – and isn’t that what matters most – the Rockies won, 12-11.
Colorado welcomes San Diego for a three-game set at Coors Field. Expected matchups:
Friday (6:40 pm) – LHP Eric Lauer vs. RHP German Márquez
Saturday (6:10 pm) – LHP Joey Lucchesi vs. RHP Jon Gray
Sunday (1:10 pm)- LHP Nick Margevicius vs RHP Antonio Senzatela