Michael Toglia and the Colorado Rockies offense showed up early and often, but the Giants came back late and took home the victory in a 10-7 extra-innings contest on Monday.
Replay benefits visitors early
The game had a very odd start to its offensive output. The Giants threatened early as singles by LaMonte Wade Jr. and Joc Pederson put runners on first and third base with one out for Wilmer Flores. He grounded into what appeared to be an inning-ending double play, but San Francisco asked for a replay to confirm the calls at both bases. As it turns out, Alan Trejo had not touched second base on the initial out, and the throw to first base was too late to get Flores. As such, both runners were called safe and the Giants took the lead in strange fashion as they now led 1-0.
Toglia turns on the jets
Michael Toglia had been scuffling some of late as he entered the game with no hits in his last 14 at-bats. That changed in his first appearance. The Rockies had tied the game at one run thanks to a Charlie Blackmon RBI single when, in the bottom of the second inning, Toglia sent a line drive to center field that allowed Elehuris Montero (who had reached via a walk) to score from first base and give Colorado a 2-1 lead. Toglia reached third on his first career triple.
Toglia must enjoy running, because he wasn’t done with one three-bagger. The bottom of the third inning saw Connor Joe reach second on an error and stay there until Toglia came through with two outs for his second career triple, which extended the Rockies lead to 4-1.
Toglia would add his first stolen base to his list of accomplishments later in the evening. Have a night, rook!
Colorado’s offense scored in each of the first four innings off of San Francisco stater Jakob Junis - as well they should, as they would need to keep a surging Giants team at bay.
San Fran’s fighting spirit
Despite his offense giving him a large amount of support, Kuhl’s struggles against the Giants continued on Monday. After recording zeroes in the second and third innings, Kuhl gave San Francisco a run back in the fourth before being bounced in the fifth. It was during that frame that the visitors really came on, recording four hits (including three straight two-out singles) and inching closer at 6-5. The end of the frame came when the Giants attempted a double-steal of second and home base that was thwarted by Ryan McMahon cutting down David Villar at the plate. If not for that, the game could very well have been tied as they entered the latter third, but as things stood Colorado held its one-run advantage into the late innings.
Kuhl’s final line read as 4 2⁄3 innings pitched, allowing five runs on eight hits, a walk, and six strikeouts. He allowed a home run to Mike Yastrzemski, marking 11 straight innings in which he has allowed a round-tripper.
Bullpen good, until it’s not
After Kuhl departed in the fifth, Chad Smith entered to stop the bleeding. He encountered some resistance from the visiting bats, but was able to work an inning and a third of scoreless baseball. Next was Jake Bird, who completed two frames and allowed just two hits and naught else. Finally was Justin Lawrence, who acted as the closer in place of Daniel Bard. Manager Bud Black has been utilizing Lawrence in more high-pressure situations of late, and Monday’s was the highest-pressure of all.
With the score sitting at 7-5, Thairo Estrada led off the top of the ninth with a double. Estrada moved to third on Pederson’s groundout and scored on Flores’s subsequent RBI single. Brandon Crawford flew out to get the Rockies their second out and put victory within their grasp, but Villar doubled to score the tying run and keep the game going. Ouch.
The Rockies got the winning run to second (after Toglia singled, of course) but Elías Díaz was unable to bring him home. We headed to extra innings.
Welcome to the Show
Gavin Hollowell made his debut in the top of the tenth. Recently promoted from Double-A Hartford, the 6’7” (no, really) right-hander recorded his first MLB strikeout, a swinging K of Luis González.
Gavin Hollowell's first MLB strikeout! pic.twitter.com/7gDDhlBvQc— RoxGifsVids (@RoxGifsVids) September 20, 2022
He then recorded his second on pinch-hitter J.D. Davis before walking Wade Jr. Hollowell fell behind Estrada 3-0 but worked back to a full count, just one pitch away from working a clean inning in his big league debut. Sadly, he couldn’t sneak a sinker past the second baseman, who launched the pitch into the left field stands for a three-run, go-ahead homer. San Francisco had come all the way back, leading the game for the first time since the very first inning at 10-7.
The damage was done. The Rockies went down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the tenth inning and fell to the Giants. Despite scoring in five of the first six innings, despite recording 16 hits, and despite San Francisco making four errors, Colorado felt the sting of defeat on Monday.
The game of baseball can be cruel.
Game two is tomorrow, right where we left off. We know that Kyle Freeland (9-9, 4.43 ERA) will start for Colorado, while San Francisco has not yet named their starter at the time of publication. They may decide to opt for a bullpen game - we’ll have to see what happens.
First pitch is at 6:40pm MDT. See you then!