Instant Replay: Giants' offense comes alive, but Cueto allows six to Rockies

Instant Replay: Giants' offense comes alive, but Cueto allows six to Rockies


DENVER — A day after the Giants lost their left-handed ace, their right-handed ace took his first loss of the season. 

Johnny Cueto gave up a six-spot in the fourth and the Giants never quite bounced back, losing 6-5 to the Rockies. They have lost two of three to kick off the road trip and dropped to 6-11 on the season, five games behind the first place Rockies. 

Early on, it looked like Cueto would make the Giants temporarily forget about the pain of Madison Bumgarner’s injury. Cueto opened with three scoreless frames and the lineup batted around in the second, getting four singles and an RBI double from Eduardo Nuñez. 

It all fell apart in the fourth. 

Cueto gave up five straight hits, including a Trevor Story grand slam on a ball that got up in the thin air and kept carrying out to right. Story became the first player to hit a grand slam off Cueto in the big leagues. Two batters later, Charlie Blackmon added an inside-the-park dinger. Blackmon hit a two-out liner to right and Hunter Pence lost it in the lights, slipping as he held his arms up. Blackmon raced all the way home, sliding in just ahead of a relay throw to give the Rockies a six-run inning. The Rockies became the first National League team since 1950 to hit a grand slam and inside-the-parker in the same inning. 

In the bottom of seventh and top of eighth, both teams missed out. The Rockies loaded the bases with two outs when Cory Gearrin walked two and hit one, but Story popped out. In the next half-inning, Joe Panik drove a run in but the Giants couldn’t get him in from second with no outs. Gorkys Hernandez failed to get a bunt down and then flied out. Denard Span flied out to center. Belt popped up to third. 

Starting pitching report: Before Story knocked one over the out-of-town scoreboard, Cueto had faced 146 hitters with the bases loaded without allowing a homer. He had actually been very efficient in the worst situation, holding opposing hitters to a .167/.247/.230 slash line.

Bullpen report: Ty Blach made what might be his final relief appearance for months. He retired all three batters he faced in the sixth. He'll start Tuesday. 

At the plate: Belt’s homer went 456 feet, according to Statcast. His three longest homers have all come at Coors Field: 475 feet, 457 and 456. 

In the field: Panik gave a reminder of why he’s the reigning Gold Glove winner. He made a leaping catch of DJ LeMahieu’s liner in the third and a diving stop to rob Blackmon in the sixth. 

Attendance: The Rockies didn’t announce a number, but a bunch of gamers stuck it out through the 40-degree weather and relentless drizzle. 

Up next: Matt Moore makes his second Coors Field appearance as a Giant. The first one: 2 2/3 innings, six earned runs. 

Before they were stars, Giants wore random numbers


Before they were stars, Giants wore random numbers

SCOTTSDALE — A couple of veterans walked past a clubhouse TV earlier in camp and saw that the Giants and Padres were tied heading into the bottom of the 10th of an exhibition game. The Padres infielders were just standing around, and there was not yet a new pitcher on the mound. 

“It’s that time when No. 99 comes in to pitch,” one of the players joked as he headed home for the day.

A few seconds later, a big left-hander took the mound. He was, in fact, wearing No. 99, and in his inning on the mound he would face a No. 74 (Aramis Garcia) and No. 78 (Steven Duggar). This is the norm for spring training, when dozens of players — including teenagers and journeymen still hanging around the low minors — get into every game. That leads to action between numbers you would never see in a normal game. The Giants had 60 players in camp, plus 10 coaches and staff members with numbers. Throw in their 10 retired numbers and the unofficially retired ones (25, 55, etc.) and, well, there aren’t a whole lot of choices left. 

If Duggar makes the opening day roster, he’ll get an upgrade from his lineman’s number. Ditto for Garcia, who could be Buster Posey’s backup as soon as next season. Still, a taste of big league action doesn’t guarantee a normal number in camp, when young players regularly find themselves back at the end of the line. 

Ryder Jones wore 83 in camp last year and 63 in the big leagues. When he showed up this year, with 150 big league at-bats under his belt, he was told that he would have to wait until the end of the spring to upgrade. Players with more service time (think No. 2 Chase d’Arnaud or No. 19 Josh Rutledge) get priority, at least until all the cuts are made. Jones said he has a few numbers in mind for his next stint in the big leagues, but he won’t be picky. 

“Anything under 40 works,” he said, smiling. 

The steady climb toward single digits happens to just about everybody. Long before Brandon Crawford’s became @bcraw35, he wore 79 in his first camp. He moved up to 53 after that and Mike Murphy flipped that to 35 when Crawford became the big league shortstop. Hunter Pence doesn’t remember his first spring training number with the Astros, but he knows it was in the low eighties. Joe Panik wore 66 the first time he spent a spring at Scottsdale Stadium. “I was an offensive lineman,” he joked. Tyler Beede, now on the cusp of his big league debut, got promoted from 63 to 32 when he arrived last spring, only to swap to 38 this year because of some in-season shifting. When Pablo Sandoval arrived last summer, Steven Okert switched from 48 to 32.

Then there are those who have only known one jersey. Posey was a can’t-miss prospect when he arrived and doesn’t remember wearing anything other than 28. Brandon Belt was a top-25 prospect when he came to camp for the first time, and he’s been 9 since that day. Madison Bumgarner wore 40 in his first big league camp because he had already made his big league debut, but somewhere in the team archives, there are probably a few photos of a 19-year-old Bumgarner wearing something else. 

“The previous spring I came up to pitch a few times,” Bumgarner said. “I’m pretty sure I had a different number every time I came over and I’m pretty sure it was always in the eighties.”

There were seven Giants in the eighties this spring. Duggar was one of two top prospects — Chris Shaw inherited Crawford’s old 79 — to come close, and he didn’t mind one bit. He’s not thinking too far ahead, even though he could be a big leaguer in eight days. 

“I’ll take anything if I’m in the big leagues,” he said. “I’ll take No. 112 if that’s what they give me.”

Will Clark says Steven Duggar can play 'Gold Glove center field right now,' trusts the bat too


Will Clark says Steven Duggar can play 'Gold Glove center field right now,' trusts the bat too

Will Clark won his first and only Gold Glove at first base for the Giants at age 27 in 1991. It was Clark's sixth year in the major leagues. 

Steven Duggar won't have to wait that long to win the biggest hardware for his defense in Clark's eyes. 

"He can play Gold Glove center field right now in the big leagues. He can flat out go get it in center field," Clark said on the Giants' prospect Tuesday on KNBR. "He can definitely, definitely play a Gold Glove center field." 

Clark, who now serves a role in the Giants' front office after playing in five straight All-Star Games for his former team from 1988-92, has watched Duggar closely for more than just this spring training. When asked about his feelings on the 24-year-old, Clark made them clear right away. 

"I've seen Steve parts of the last two seasons in the minor leagues and I am definitely a Steven Duggar fan," Clark said. 

The question with Duggar has always been his bat. He has elite speed, gets great jumps in center field and everyone from Bruce Bochy to Buster Posey has praised his ability to track down fly balls. 

"His thing is, how quick is he going to make the adjustment in the big leagues with the pitching. I know there's a lot of people that are asking that question right now," Clark. 

Count The Thrill as one of the leaders in Camp Duggar. He joined many others in complimenting his glove left and right. But what he has to say about the Clemson product's bat is what puts him over the top. 

"He's succeeded at each level he's been at," Clark pointed out. "He will do it at the major league level and I'm kind of staking my reputation on that."

This is confidence -- to say the least -- coming from someone who was a .303 lifetime hitter and bashed 284 home runs in 15 seasons. 

Over three years in the minor leagues, Duggar is a .292 career hitter with a .384 on-base percentage and .427 slugging percentage. Duggar started off scorching hot this spring with the Giants, but has cooled down with the Cactus League soon coming to a close. In 16 games, Duggar is slashing .250/.353/.545 and has shown more pop with four home runs.