With Noah Lowry facing Jason Jennings, it figured to be a low scoring game. Instead, runs scored in bunches, and it was the pitchers who struggled. Lowry, who missed his last start because of a tender elbow, lost in his return to the rotation when the Rockies defeated the Giants 9-8 Wednesday.
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the second inning, when Moises Alou hit a sacrifice fly off Jennings to knock in Ray Durham and make it a 1-0 game. Colorado struck back immediately, however, when Todd Helton doubled in Jamey Carroll in the top of the third inning to tie the game 1-1.
Lowry was cruising until the fifth inning came along, but that’s when things fell apart. Three walks and an RBI single by Carroll knocked Lowry out of the game, with Jamey Wright taking over. Wright didn’t fare much better, throwing a wild pitch to his first batter faced, followed by walk, which was already the fourth of the inning. A Jeff Baker single ensued, plating both Carroll and Helton to make it a 5-1 Rockies lead. That closed Lowry’s line, which ended with five runs allowed over 4 1/3 innings. After yet another walk, Scott Munter relieved Wright.
Munter, who entered with the bases loaded, then proceeded to walk Chris Iannetta, scoring Garrett Atkins in the process. Unbelievably, the base on balls marked the sixth free pass the Giants issued in the inning. A Choo Freeman single followed, scoring both Jeff Baker and Troy Tulowitzki to give Colorado a seemingly insurmountable 8-1 advantage. Mercifully, Munter induced a ground out to finally bring the fifth inning to an end.
To the Giants’ credit, the team did anything but surrender, bouncing back immediately in the bottom half of the inning, when Munter hit a ground rule double to score Todd Greene. Later in the inning, Shea Hillenbrand doubled in Munter to make it 8-3. Barry Bonds followed with a ground rule double himself, knocking in Omar Vizquel and Hillenbrand to bring the Giants within three runs at 8-5. Bonds’ ground rule double wasn’t your garden variety, as he lined a shot to right field with such authority that it got stuck in a screened part of the wall. Ray Durham grounded out to end the inning, but the Giants had done enough damage to make it a game again.
The game remained 8-5 until Iannetta doubled off Giants’ reliever Jack Taschner to up Colorado’s lead to 9-5. In the home half of the seventh, Alou doubled to deep left center off Rockies’ reliever Manuel Corpas, which brought in both Vizquel and Bonds to make it a 9-7 game. Steve Kline tossed a scoreless top of the ninth, which meant San Francisco had one last inning to try to complete the comeback.
Bonds, leading off the inning, hit a bomb off Colorado closer Brian Fuentes to make it a one-run game. After pinch hitter Lance Niekro grounded out, Alou and Pedro Feliz worked back-to-back walks, putting the tying run on second base, with Todd Greene at the plate. Taking a fastball to the opposite field, it appeared Greene’s fly ball had a chance to go over Brad Hawpe’s head; instead, the right fielder made a nice over the shoulder catch, forcing all of AT&T Park to gasp in disappointment. Down to their final out, pinch hitter Eliezer Alfonzo came to the plate. Alfonzo hit a grounder to third, one that looked like it might make it through the infield, but third basemen Atkins made a diving stop and fired to first basemen Helton, who was able to scoop a throw in the dirt to end the game. Two terrific defensive plays gave the Rockies a 9-8 victory, and although San Francisco ended up on the losing end, they certainly made Colorado earn it.
SFDugout’s Player of the Game: Barry Bonds went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI. He already has five jacks this month and has played like his old self for the last six weeks. He’s still more than capable of being a force.
Dalton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for any complaints, questions or preferably, compliments..
The views expressed in the columns do no necessarily reflect the opinions of the site's publisher, writers, or other staff members. The content on this site may not be redistributed without the expressed consent of SFDugout.com.