There was no way the Giants were leaving Denver without Coors Field raising a concrete and steel covered hand and asking, “Forget about me?” The Giants played poorly enough to lose anywhere on Monday, and yesterday’s game went pretty normally … other than it being a 2-1 game with three homers.
The Giants won 12-10 today in 11 innings, and there was only one thing about this game that didn’t remind you where it was being played: the winner. It wasn’t just Hector Sanchez’s grand slam in the top of the 11th, or the Rockies nearly coming back and getting a two-run homer from Justin Morneau in the bottom of that inning, either. This game screamed Coors from the beginning.
Troy Tulowitzki, who when fully healthy may be the National League’s best player, hit a two-run shot off Matt Cain in the first inning. Michael Morse followed with the first of his two home runs that traveled at least 450 feet. Brandon Belt couldn’t come up with a pickoff attempt and Cain gave up four singles and three runs in the bottom of the second. Brandon Hicks hit what could’ve been considered a Coors Field special over the wall in right-center to lead off the third, and Morse crushed a home run with a man on base (a rarity for this team before today) to tie it.
Back and forth. The Giants experienced the ecstasy of plating runners, tying and then taking the lead, and at every turn Colorado had an answer. The eighth inning was the second-Coorsiest inning of the day (behind the 11th). The top of the inning started with something none of us expected — including Bruce Bochy, who was back in the clubhouse after finally boiling over and earning an ejection today — Sanchez clubbing his first homer of the season to give the Giants an 8-7 lead.
Coors upped the ante in the bottom of the inning, as Bob Davidson, whose pride-to-usefulness ratio is insanely high, called a balk on Santiago Casilla with D.J. LeMahieu on second. Not just any old balk either, one where it appeared as if Casilla smooched in LeMahieu’s general direction before going to the plate. It was a Davidson balk, a reminder that no funny business will be tolerated.
What happened after that was inevitable — the infield was drawn in, the ball was sharply hit to the right guy (Hicks), the game was tied, and Davidson stood triumphantly with his hands wedged into his armpits.
Remember kids, Coors Field isn’t just about bloop singles on a loop or home runs by the ton! The weather can change in 30 seconds in Denver, and with the way the wind started blowing it’s not a certainty that the Giants will be able to hop on a plane and fly home the moment they’re ready. There were plastic bags, hot dog wrappers and all sorts of stuff on the field. It was like a game at Candlestick, except none of the players were wearing turtlenecks.
Pence singled to start things in the 11th and Belt (who hit his seventh homer in the seventh inning) walked. Juan Perez successfully bunted a pitch at his head to move the runners to second and third, and Walt Weiss walked Joaquin Arias to get to Sanchez.
It’s an interesting decision from Weiss. Sanchez had a homer, but in his other two at-bats he struck out twice and grounded into a double play, which is what Colorado needed. Arias has one RBI this season and was one for his previous 15. But Weiss walked the bases loaded and Sanchez made him pay against Chad Bettis’ third consecutive full-count fastball. By now anything in this game was possible, so weirdly the grand slam didn’t seem as out of place as his first home run. It was still crazy, though.
Sergio Romo came in with a four-run lead, and we all know how well closers do in non-save situations. There’s probably a study somewhere that would debunk this theory, slap it and give it a wedgie, but I’m convinced they always either cough up the entire lead or come really, really close. Romo went with the latter, allowing the two-run homer before getting Brandon Barnes to ground into a double play. That was after Arias had a grounder kick off the lip of the infield grass and scoot under his legs — one last Coors moment before the park finally gave up. The Giants slayed the beast, after getting slayed themselves for the greater part of a six-game road trip that saw them go 2-4.
Unfortunately, they couldn’t literally slay Dinger.
— Sorry, should’ve put an anti-seizure warning up before posting @LOLKNBR’s GIF. Deep breaths.
— Besides Romo, the bullpen was great. However, I’m not sure why Cain was left in to pitch the seventh. I used to think the Giants’ main goal was to get their starters credited with wins, but now I think the goal is to get them between 100 and 115 pitches in every game. But after giving up six runs in six innings, 89 pitches at Coors was probably enough.
— Jean Machi ended up with his fourth win, which means he’s pretty much the best pitcher in the league right now. DON’T QUESTION IT.
— Jeremy Affeldt provides so many punchlines and is the by far the team’s biggest injury risk during tomorrow’s off day. But when he’s on, he’s one of the best relief weapons in the sport.
— What is hell, exactly? It may very well be having Balkin’ Bob as your father in law, and you are forced to watch him clean his gun for eternity.
— I just realized that someone could make that repugnant GIF above a lot more amusing by blurring out the area around Tulowitzki’s hand.
— Brandon Belt is tied for the NL lead in home runs. If he keeps up this pace, you know what we have to look forward to! Belt getting invited to the Home Run Derby and everyone around here freaking out about what effect the contest will have on his swing throughout the second half. I’m not saying Belt would turn into Bobby Abreu if he competed in the Derby, but after his first 0-for-12 spell you just know people would start questioning whether he should’ve declined the invite.