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Shaky Bullpen Too Much To Overcome In Wet, Wild Defeat

On a night where the starting pitcher made it to the seventh inning and the offense scored eight runs, the Rockies still found a way to lose.

Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

There was rain (as usual), there were fireworks (both of the literal and metaphorical variety) and there were nineteen total runs scored, but there was no victory for the Rockies on Friday night. The bullpen, which had been standout for the last few games, imploded for seven earned runs, and the Rockies were unable to score enough times to come back against an equally terrible Giants pen.

One of the positive takeaways from tonight was that Kyle Kendrick continues to look more like the Kyle Kendrick the Rockies thought they were getting in the offseason. Despite not being particularly sharp, he worked into the seventh inning for the third consecutive game, giving up three runs before getting pulled and four earned runs in total. He walked three batters, two of which came in the third inning. The second of those walks came with the bases loaded and allowed the Giants to score their first run. The man who scored the run was pitcher Ryan Vogelsong, who had hammered a Kendrick sinker for a double earlier in the inning. That was one of two critical mistake pitches that Kendrick made in the game. The other came in the top of the sixth when Brandon Belt, who had narrowly missed hitting a home run in the second inning, crushed one of the longest home runs I've seen at Coors Field in some time, with the ball landing in the upper deck in right, just below the Rooftop. Kendrick wasn't at all special tonight, but he was competent and his start should have been enough to keep the Rockies in the game, which is about all you can ask for from Kyle Kendrick.

On the other side of the ball, the Rockies were unable to get anything substantial going against Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong. Despite having at least one baserunner in every inning, they were never able to string anything together. Double plays by Carlos Gonzalez in the first and Troy Tulowitzki in the sixth killed potential rallies, and Vogelsong cruised through six innings of two-hit baseball. The relievers who followed him were not as stalwart, in a game where all but three of the runs were surrendered by the team's bullpens, but by the time the Rockies finally got on the board in the seventh they were in a seven run hole, courtesy of lefthanded reliever Ken Roberts.

Roberts inherited a runner on second base from starter Kyle Kendrick, but he failed to retire any of the first five batters he faced, allowing a walk, three singles and a double that blew the game open. Roberts was able to get out of the inning by inducing two fly balls from Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford, but a manageable three run deficit had more than doubled in size under his watch.

With these Rockies it seems like if one thing goes right something else is bound to go wrong. Tonight they got a reasonably solid, workmanlike start from Kyle Kendrick, which was promptly undone by a meltdown inning by a reliever. The struggling offense managed to eventually put a good number of runs on the board, but by the time they did the game was mostly out of reach. That said, things did get interesting for a while in the later innings.

In the Rockies' half of the seventh, with Wilin Rosario and Nick Hundley aboard with singles, DJ LeMahieu hit an opposite field three-run homer off Giants reliever George Kontos that pulled the Rockies within four and tied him for the team lead in RBI with Nolan Arenado. Then, in the eighth, the home team staged a two out rally as Tulo and Rosario hit back to back doubles to close the gap to three. After Jean Machi walked Ben Paulsen, the Giants went to Sergio Romo to face Nick Hundley, who represented the tying run. With the way most of the game had played out to that point it was a minor miracle that the Rockies actually got a chance this good so late in the proceedings, but Hundley grounded out softly to third base, ending the inning.

Any remaining hope the Rockies had of staging a comeback in the ninth seemed to be dashed when the Giants staged a far more effective version of the two out rally in the top of the inning. Christian Bergman, who pitched a scoreless eighth, was sharp until he wasn't. A string of four consecutive hits, culminating in a home run from Matt Duffy, increased the Giant lead to 11-4, the same margin it had been before the Rockie comeback.

With sheets of rain coming down in the bottom of the ninth (yeah, again) the Rockies started hot against old friend and longtime enemy Jeremy Affeldt, scoring a run on three consecutive singles (the last of which could likely be chalked up to the deplorable field conditions) before the players were called off the field.

After nearly two hours and a rare rain-delay fireworks show, play resumed with Affeldt still on the mound, and things continued exactly the way they had been going. Michael McKenry (pinch-hitting for Nolan Arenado, who was banged up on several diving attempts on defense in the late innings) and Carlos Gonzalez singled before Bruce Bochy finally put in Santiago Casilla in place of Affeldt. The Rockies now had seven runs, which would have been enough to tie the game were it not for Bergman's adventures in the top of the inning. Of course, to be fair, if Bergman had set the side down in order the Rockies would not have been facing Jeremy Affeldt, but rather Sergio Romo or Casilla in the bottom of the ninth.

Casilla put an end to the string of five straight hits, getting Tulowitzki and Rosario to fly out. The madness wasn't over yet, however, as Ben Paulsen came within a few feet of hitting one over the wall in right-center that would have made it a one run game. Instead it was an RBI double that cut the lead to three and improbably brought up Nick Hundley as the tying run for the second inning in a row. Unfortunately, Hundley did not take advantage of his shot at redemption, striking out to end the game.

All told, the two bullpens gave up fifteen earned runs in under six combined innings. It was a classic Coors Field affair, in which the game was never over until the very last out. When the last out did come, the Rockies were on the wrong side of things once again, as their bid to win consecutive games for the first time in nearly a month came up short.

They'll have two more chances to win tomorrow, if the rain holds off. Jordan Lyles will throw the first game against Charlton *ahem* Chris Heston, and David Hale is scheduled to make his Rockies debut against Yusmeiro Petit in the nightcap.