SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants’ 2015 home opener was supposed to be filled with fun and excitement as San Francisco raised a pennant celebrating their third World Series title in the last five years.
Obviously someone forgot to tell Colorado as the Rockies spoiled the festivities, claiming a 2-0 win over the reigning champs on Monday, despite rookie Chris Heston‘s second-straight strong start.
Heston (1-1) worked seven strong innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits while striking out five and walking two. The 27-year-old right-hander was able to keep one of the most explosive offenses in the National League under control most of the afternoon, using a low-90s sinking fastball and some well-timed off-speed pitches.
He cruised through the first three inning before the Rockies finally put the first run of the game on the scoreboard during the fourth inning.
Charlie Blackmon led off the fourth with a single to center field. It was Blackmon’s second hit of the day off of Heston. He then moved up to second base after Carlos Gonzalez hit a high chopper to San Francisco first baseman Brandon Belt, who tagged Gonzalez out. With Blackmon in scoring position, Heston faced Troy Tulowitzki with one out.
During the first inning, Heston was able to get the better of the perennial All-Star shortstop by striking him out with low-and-away fastball. This time, Tulowitzki came through with a line-drive single to left that scored Blackmon.
Heston was able to avert anymore damage during the fourth when he got Nolan Arenado to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
While Colorado capitalized on their opportunity against Heston, the Giants let Rockies’ rookie starter Eddie Butler off the hook time and time again.
San Francisco mounted their first threat of the afternoon against Butler during the bottom of the first inning when they loaded the bases with two outs.
Nori Aoki singled to start the frame, but was erased on Joe Panik‘s fielder’s choice. Angel Pagan followed with a single to center field and the Giants had a runner in scoring position with just one out. Buster Posey, who normally comes through in RBI situations, popped out to short for the second out of the inning. Butler then hit Brandon Belt to load the bases, bringing Gregor Blanco to the plate. Blanco was unable to come through as he grounded out to first to end the scoring threat.
The bottom of the second saw the Giants threaten once again.
Matt Duffy, who started at third base in place of the injured Casey McGehee, singled to center to start the inning. He moved to second on Brandon Crawford‘s weak grounder to D.J. LeMahieu. Heston then stepped to the plate with a chance to help his cause but managed just a groundout to first baseman Juatin Morneau that moved Duffy over to third.
With two outs, Butler started to become erratic, walking Aoki and Panik to load the bases. It was the second-straight inning that the Giants had the bases loaded. And it was the second-straight inning that Butler was able to wriggle off the hook as a Pagan chased the first pitch he saw and grounded out to Morneau.
For the third inning in a row, the Giants had an opportunity o push across a run, albeit with two outs. Following groundouts by both Posey and Belt, Blanco laced a double down the left-field line. Duffy followed with a walk and San Francisco had two runners on. But again Butler was able to end the rally as Crawdord grounded out to first.
Colorado scored an insurance run during the seventh as Heston was unable to hold onto a throw from Posey after the former MVP-backstop recorded as pass ball.
Rafeal Betancourt recorded his first save of the year to preserve the victory for Butler (1-0), who allowed five hits while striking out one and walking six in his 5.1 innings of work.