Angel Pagan

Romo blows second save in less than 24 hours as Pagan’s misplay leads to inside-the-park HR

After Sunday’s Tim Hudson-led win over the Mets, Bruce Bochy was honest“No, there’s nothing I can complain about.” 

This game has a painful way of evening things out.

“It’s baseball,” Bruce Bochy said. “So many good things have happened to us, we’ve made some good comebacks. We’ve hit a bump in the road, so it’s going to be important that we handle this well.”

Since Bochy found it impossible to complain, the Giants lost three of four to Washington, squandered a 4-2 ninth inning lead last night, and frittered away a 4-3 lead today in a 5-4 loss to the Rockies.

For the second straight day, Sergio Romo gave up some hits and blew a save. Once again, Angel Pagan made a colossal mistake. Today’s was worse than anything we saw last night, however.

Romo retired the first two hitters he faced, then Charlie Blackmon (who drove the Giants crazy all afternoon) hit a soft single the other way. Then Brandon Barnes stepped up to the plate. No joke, I thought to myself, “Well, the guy only has one home run. At least that’s probably out of the question.”

Then Barnes hit a bloop to right-center that Pagan somehow failed to cut off — at all.

Angel Pagan lets ball get by him inside-the-park HR Brandon Barnes

The ball rolled and rolled as Pagan took a tumble, and by the time Hunter Pence (who didn’t start sprinting until he saw the ball got past his teammate) retrieved the ball at the outfield wall, it was too late. Barnes scored as Brandon Hicks’ throw passed over the mound, and the Giants would make their five loss in six days official about 15 minutes later.

“I thought it was going to be a normal hop and I’d get it, but it just kind of jumped a little bit to the right. I just couldn’t make the catch. I gave everything I’ve got to make a play, but what happened is what happened,” said Pagan.

“I thought it had a spin, that’s why it took an awkward turn toward right field. You can’t see that from the outfield. The ball can bounce the same, but it’s going to play out differently sometimes. I couldn’t anticipate it … Oh, man. It was a cold water bucket for me.”

Pagan also had trouble anticipating where a line drive was going in the second inning, when a drive to left-center by Ryan Wheeler — which probably should’ve been a single — was turned into a double by an astronomically bad route by Pagan. Blackmon would give Colorado a 2-1 lead later that inning with a full-count single with two outs, but Pagan redeemed himself with a diving grab on Brandon Barnes’ drive to left-center.

“You can’t make them all, brother. I wish I could. I wish I could make every play for my teammates,” said Pagan. “But that’s just the nature of life and baseball. We’ve just got to move on. We’ve got to turn the page and we’ll get them tomorrow.”

The hero that should’ve been

Buster Posey raised his slugging percentage from .398 to .420 today with his sixth double of the season (in the first inning) and a two-run homer to left in the fifth that tied the game at 3-3. He also caught Michael McKenry stealing in the sixth when the Rockies catcher tried to take third.

Yet, his most impressive feat might have been when he came back from an 0-2 hole and hit a sacrifice fly to give the Giants their short-lived lead. With runners at first and third and one out in the seventh inning, it was obvious what the Rockies were hoping Posey would do, but he found a way to lift a ball to right field on a breaking pitch that was low and away.

Good outing for Vogelsong (all things considered)

The Colorado Rockies appear to have Ryan Vogelsong’s number this season, but unlike his 1.1-inning, five-ER disaster at Coors Field in April, he was able to successfully limit the damage.

Vogelsong got out of the first inning after allowing a double and a walk to start the game with two pop outs and a fantastic defensive play by Pablo Sandoval. Josh Rutledge’s slow grounder hit the edge of the infield grass, sending the ball in a strange, new direction, about a foot lower and a ways off to the side from where Sandoval thought it was going to go. Somehow Sandoval recovered with a nifty backhanded catch and throw that barely nailed Rutledge at first — only after he was originally deemed safe and Bochy successfully challenged the call.

Pence gave the Giants a 1-0 first inning lead with the team’s first home run since Posey’s game-winner back on June 6, but the Rockies answered back with two runs in the second. Vogelsong allowed the first two batters to reach base once again, on a single by Michael McKenry and a double from Ryan Wheeler. But it could’ve been worse. If Pagan doesn’t make that diving catch, the Rockies would’ve come up with at least three runs in that inning.

Broken record alert for the third and fourth innings. Vogelsong allowed consecutive doubles with one out in the third, but he answered with consecutive strikeouts after a visit from Dave Righetti. There was a leadoff single in the fourth, but after a sacrifice bunt from Rockies starter Christian Bergman, Vogelsong experienced a little more luck. Blackmon hit the ball hard again, but instead of getting his third hit in as many trips to the plate, Ehire Adrianza caught the sharp line drive and doubled D.J. LeMahieu off second.

“I feel good physically, so I think that’s the key. I really couldn’t get anything going as far as finding something mechanically that was going to work for me today. I was trying to make adjustments every pitch, couldn’t really get anything to work for me consistently. It was a tough one out there,” Vogelsong said.

Vogelsong polished off the Rockies in the fifth with his first one-two-three inning, but was taken out for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth after throwing 85 pitches. Vogelsong was squeezed on quite a few of those, as evidenced by this screenshot I took one pitch before McKenry’s full-count single to lead off the second (pitch No. 2 — called a ball — is hiding behind pitch No. 5).

Vogelsong squeezed 2

“I thought (home plate umpire Chris Segal) was fine,” was Vogelsong’s response when I asked him whether the zone was a little tighter than usual.

“You can’t expect to get pitches when you’re all over the place. If I was dotting the zone all day and one of those doesn’t get called, it’s a different story. But I was spraying the ball all over the joint.”

Romo faces the media

For the second straight day, Romo called reporters over.

“You’re all staring at me,” said Romo, and he had a point. Closers are expected to answer questions after blown saves, and much to Romo’s credit, he answered every one.

Was he shocked when that ball got by Pagan?

“I’m just in disbelief, really, that it happened. Especially the way it went down. Baseball. That’s really all I got is … baseball,” said Romo with a smile.

“I couldn’t have done anything better. I actually felt I threw better pitches than yesterday. If you look at the swings I got, not one good swing.”

Why has he had so much trouble (19.80 ERA in six games, three of his four blown saves) against the Rockies?

“I think it’s just familiarity, really. I know what I’m facing when I face those guys. They know what I got. I’ve been in the league long enough where I’m not going to surprise anybody, nor am I trying to. They got me again, today. What can I do?”

My question: He said that he couldn’t wait for a chance to redeem himself after last night’s game. After pitching on three consecutive days (51 pitches total), does he feel the same way about tomorrow afternoon’s game?

“Definitely. I want the ball every day. That’s a shot to the chin the last couple of days, but it doesn’t deter me from my confidence. Doesn’t deter me from wanting to go out and get the job done. Ready and willing, as always.”

Extra BASGs

— The game ended with Pagan compounding his bad day by grounding into a double play. However, replays appeared to show that Pagan beat the throw to first base. After a lengthy review, the play stood as called.

“I thought that’s why we had that replay. I thought we had a shot. We actually had a view of me being safe, my foot before the ball got there. But I guess it was inconclusive, so we’ve got to respect that,” Pagan said.

— “I thought (Romo) made good pitches. He got the first couple guys out. Made a good pitch on the blooper. The one that went for an inside-the-parker, it looked like (Barnes) reached out. It hit something and it seemed like it took off,” said Bochy.

— The Giants traded David Huff back to the Yankees, which means Romo has the highest ERA (5.08) of any pitcher on the active roster.

— Today was the first three-RBI game for Posey since July 12, 2013, when he collected five runs batted in against the Padres.

— Posey and Pence both hit their ninth home runs of the season today, tying them for second on the team with … Brandon Belt. Pence has played in all 69 games, Posey played game No. 61 today, and Belt has played in just 35 games.

Santiago Casilla pitched two hitless innings in San Jose today, so he should be back with the big league club very shortly. This is the first week where the Giants have started to look like they miss Belt and Casilla.

— Even with all that’s happened since Sunday, no one sounded worried about this recent rough stretch — Vogelsong included.

“Oh, we’re fine. This team, most of the guys here have been through a lot together. It happens. Through the course of the season you’re going to have games like this,” he said.

“These guys in here are fine. They’re all tough.”

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