Giants Observations

What we learned as Winn rocked again in Giants' loss to Rockies

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The Giants used a six-run second inning Wednesday to beat the Colorado Rockies, all for the Rockies to come back the next day and use a seven-run fourth inning to take down the Giants 9-1 on Thursday at Coors Field. 

San Francisco’s loss put an end to its 3-7 10-game road trip. 

Keaton Winn for his second straight start was hit hard and taken out early. The Rockies jumped all over Winn to wake their bats up in the fourth inning. Winn lasted 3 2/3 innings, giving up seven earned runs on eight hits and only struck out one batter. 

A game after the Giants (17-22) had five players enjoy a multi-hit day, including two who had a three-hit game, only two produced a multi-hit game. Five Giants starters were without a hit.

Here are three takeaways from the Giants failing to sweep the Rockies (9-28).

Ugly Fourth Inning

Six batters, six hits, six runs and no outs. That’s how the first 10 pitches of the fourth inning went for Winn. 

Only four Rockies came to the plate in the bottom of the first inning before back-to-back 1-2-3 innings by Winn. The fourth was different. Much, much different.

Within the first three pitches of the bottom half of the fourth, the Rockies already had tied the game at 1-1 off a leadoff triple and RBI single. That was followed by two straight RBI doubles, a single and a three-run homer launched 430 feet by Brenton Doyle to put the Rockies ahead 6-1 in a blink.

Winn faced three more batters in the inning, first forcing a pop out and flyout. Charlie Blackmon forced Giants manager Bob Melvin to turn to the bullpen after a 370-foot triple to center field. In total, the Rockies sent 11 batters up in the fourth inning, collecting eight hits and six that went for extra bases. Winn in his last two starts now has lasted 4 ⅓ innings, allowing 12 hits and 12 earned runs.

Flores At The Hot Corner

Even in a season where Matt Chapman has uncharacteristically made a few errors early on, it’s always a concern defensively when he’s not at third base. Thursday marked just the second time Chapman was given a rest, giving Wilmer Flores his second try at the hot corner. He passed his first test, and did so again in his second chance. 

Between the end of the second inning and all of the third inning, Flores was a magnet at the hot corner. 

That’s not an exaggeration either. Flores recorded four straight outs for the Giants. He did so fielding grounders to his left, to his backhand side and even snagged a line drive too. One of the hardest hit balls of the day was a Elehuris Montero groundout to Flores to begin the bottom of the third, an out that had a 105.8-mph exit velocity.

Flores’ struggles at the plate continued, going 0-for-4, but he was a cool customer manning the third-base line.

Questionable Decisions

The fourth inning clearly was a hole the Giants couldn’t climb out of. They also didn’t do themselves any favors in a few different cases. 

Estrada had the Giants’ lone hit of the first inning, but he also ran into the third out at third base. The Giants’ second baseman slid over third base trying to steal on a 2-2 count and ball three being way outside to Mike Yastrzemski. He tried to get back in time but was tagged out by third baseman Ryan McMahon. 

Then in the top of the fourth, an inning that began with a Michael Conforto solo shot, Blake Sabol turned to bunt a ball below the strike zone to get him in an 0-2 hole. The Giants at the time held a 1-0 lead, had a runner at first base and two outs. Sabol eventually worked an impressive six-pitch walk, but the next batter also had a head-scratching bunt attempt.

Now with a runner in scoring position and two outs, Tyler Fitzgerald squared to bunt the first pitch he saw, a pitch way up and in that should have been a ball. Fitzgerald ultimately struck out on three pitches to end the inning. The Rockies countered with seven runs in the bottom half.

Smart baseball always is required, even against the Rockies.

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