SAN FRANCISCO – For the first four games of the season, San Francisco resembled the team that just claimed their third World Series title in the last five years, coming up with clutch hits and showcasing outstanding pitching. But since starting the year 3-1, the Giants have dropped five straight, including a 4-1 loss to National League West rival Colorado on Tuesday night at AT&T Park.
After a scoreless first inning, the Rockies pushed two runs across during the top of the second inning and scored an additional run against San Francisco (3-6) starter Tim Hudson in the fourth. The three runs were all Colorado (6-2) needed as six pitchers combined to allow one run on six hits.
With Arenado streaking home, Dickerson took advantage of a poor baseball decision by Angel Pagan. The Giant center fielder is extremely confident in his arm and charged the Dickerson base hit like he had a chance to throw Arenado out at the plate. But, because of his aggressiveness, Pagan’s throw was not on line with the cutoff man, allowing Dickerson to take second base with no outs.
This would prove costly as Dickerson would score the second run of the game on a Hudson wild pitch after advancing to third on a Nick Hundley groundout.
While Colorado was taking advantage of run-scoring opportunities, San Francisco continued to squander their chances. The Giants had their first true scoring opportunity during the bottom of the third inning against Colorado starter Christian Bergman, who was making a spot-start for injured pitcher Jorge De La Rosa.
With one out, Nori Aoki coaxed a walk out of Bergman. Since signing with the Giants during the offseason, Aoki has been a revelation as a leadoff hitter, batting .405 through the first eight games. He continued to be a catalyst for the San Francisco lineup, finishing Tuesday night 1-for-3 with two walks. Following the Aoki one-out walk, Joe Panik drove a ball into the right-center field gap. But Gonzalez was their to pull in the second out of the inning.
Pagan, trying to atone for a misguided throw during the top of the third inning, singled with two outs to put runners on first and second with slugger Brandon Belt coming to the plate. But Belt, who was white hot during spring training, continued to be mired in a slump since the regular season began as he popped out to Arenado in foul territory to end the inning.
The Giants had another chance against Bergman during the top of fourth. Gregor Blanco singled to lead off the frame and Matt Duffy followed with a walk. With runners on first and second and no outs, Bergman buckled down and retired the next three hitters, including strikeouts of Hector Sanchez and Hudson.
Bergman, who began the year in the bullpen did not figure in the win, but worked a solid four innings, allowing four hits while walking two and striking out four.
San Francisco finally broke into the scoring column during the bottom of the eight inning. Pagan led off the eighth with a single against Colorado reliever Rafael Betancourt. Belt followed with a walk, and the Giants were in business. San Francisco was in desperate need of a hit to ignite a rally. But Blanco failed to produce as Arenado made a fantastic play diving over the tarp along the third-base stands in foul territory for the first out of the inning. Pagan alertly tagged up on the play and San Francisco had runners on the corners with one out. Duffy then followed with a sacrifice fly to right.
Trailing 3-1 with a runner on and two outs, San Francisco Manager Bruce Bochy called upon perennial MVP-candidate Buster Posey to pinch hit for Sanchez. And Posey almost delivered as he put a charge into a ball to center field, but Charlie Blackmon was able to haul it in just at the fence.
Colorado quickly answered the Giants run with one of their own in the top of the ninth. Dickerson laced a ball off San Francisco closer Santiago Casilla into the right-center gap and raced around to third with a leadoff triple. He then scored on Wilin Rosario‘s chopper to Crawford, who had no choice but to get the out at first.
Looking to preserve the win, Colorado called on Adam Ottavino. He quickly took care of Crawford, pinch-hitter Justin Maxwell and Aoki all via the strikeout for the save.
Dickerson was the hitting star for the Rockies, finishing the night 3-for-4 with three runs scored.
Pagan was the lone hitting standout for the Giants, accounting for three of the team’s six hits.
Hudson (0-1) turned in his second-straight quality to start, allowing three runs on on eights hits while striking out four.
Scott Obert (1-0) picked up the win for Colorado, working one shutout inning while striking out one.
San Francisco looks to salvage one game of the three game set as Tim Lincecum takes the mound against Colorado’s Tyler Matzek. Lincecum was solid in his first start of the season, pitching seven shutout innings against the Padres.
First pitch is set for 10:15 p.m. EST.