In an alternate universe, this might have been a pivotal series for the San Francisco Giants against the Colorado Rockies. However, the reality is that the Giants never got their footing this year while the Rockies remain clinging to their second Wild Card spot. Knowing that the Milwaukee Brewers won earlier Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Rockies still had an important game to win. Though the Rockies offense managed baserunners in every inning except the third, they never took full advantage of that. They also hit into three double plays as well as a lot of groundballs in general, hurting their chances of putting up a crooked number. The result was a 4-3 loss to the Giants, making the Rockies’ grasp on a playoff spot all that more tenuous.
The Rockies grabbed an early lead in the second inning. Trevor Story coaxed a walk, then advanced to second base on Ian Desmond’s single. After Jonathan Lucroy struck out, pitcher German Marquez sacrificed the runners over to second and third, who were then brought in from a two-run double courtesy of Charlie Blackmon, putting a 2-0 score in favor of the Rockies.
Marquez, the last rookie standing in the rotation, didn’t necessarily hurt his chances to remain in there, but most likely edged himself out of the somewhat hypothetical debate on whether he or Jon Gray should start the Wild Card game. He hasn’t been outright bad the last few weeks, and to be fair he’s been pretty solid, but it’s been awhile since he’s been a touch better than that. That was the case Tuesday night as he allowed the Giants to chip away at the early lead the Rockies offense had given to him. The Giants scoring started in the fourth, when Buster Posey reached on an infield single. He advanced to second when Marquez got Brandon Crawford to ground out. Posey later scored on a single to Pablo Sandoval to put the Giants at a 2-1 deficit.
Marquez’s troubles continued in the fifth inning. He allowed a leadoff single to opposing pitcher Johnny Cueto. AT&T Sports Broadcaster Jeff Huson noted that Marquez was having problems finding his stuff. However, Hunter Pence had no problem, driving a blast over the center field wall for a two run home run, giving the Giants a 3-2 edge. Marquez came out and threw a clean sixth thanks to three straight groundouts, but the damage was done. His final line score after six innings was three runs allowed, all earned, on eight hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
In the top of the seventh inning, Desmond got his second single of the game but was forced out after Lucroy grounded into a double play. After Raimel Tapia reached on a single of his own, Johnny Cueto was removed for Steven Okert, who got Blackmon to fly out to center field and end the frame. Cueto held the Rockies to two runs despite giving up seven hits and four walks while striking out six batters.
The Rockies had more success in the top of the eighth off of Giants righthander Hunter Strickland. He allowed a double to Carlos Gonzalez in the top of the eighth, who subsequently scored on Gerardo Parra’s double, tying the game at 3-all.
Despite threatening to score in virtually every inning, the Rockies weren’t able to capitalize. Unfortunately, the Giants were able to capitalize in the ninth off of Chris Rusin. Pablo Sandoval reached on an infield single, then Ryder Jones got on base as well thanks to a bunt single of his own. Kelby Tomlinson hit a single to right, loading the bases for Pence with no outs. who hit a sacrifice fly to right field that scored pinch runner Orlando Calixte and winning the game for the Giants.
Clinging to a one game lead over the Milwaukee Brewers for the second Wild Card spot, the Rockies finish off the two game series Wednesday in San Francisco. Tyler Chatwood (8-12) will face off against Matt Moore (5-14) with the first pitch scheduled for 2:45 p.m. MST.