SAN FRANCISCO -- In the middle innings on Tuesday, the Giants lost their most important defensive player and then the game.
The struggling bullpen had another meltdown, with Charlie Blackmon taking Jose Alvarez into McCovey Cove to flip the score in the sixth inning of a game the Colorado Rockies would hold on to win 5-3.
Blackmon was called up to pinch-hit against Zack Littell and Gabe Kapler turned to Alvarez, who had not given up a homer to a lefty in nearly three calendar years. But Blackmon drove a two-strike changeup deep into the night, turning a one-run deficit into a two-run lead.
The Giants had led all night after sending eight hitters to the plate against German Marquez in the first inning, scoring three runs on three hits and two walks. But Marquez settled in and gave up just one more hit, which allowed his lineup to crawl back into the game.
There was a brief rally in the fifth when the Giants put two on with one out, but they couldn't score, and couldn't send their star shortstop out to try. With two outs, Thairo Estrada hit for Brandon Crawford, who left with right quad tightness. Estrada lined out to short.
Carlos Rodón was given a nice cushion in the first but he couldn't hang around long enough to help it hold up. The Rockies managed just two runs off the lefty, but he was pulled after four because he had already thrown 98 pitches in lengthy, high-stress innings. There wasn't an easy frame for Rodón, who needed 25 pitches to get through each of the first two innings, 26 in the third, and 22 more for four batters in the fourth.
There were some borderline calls that didn't help, but the main issue was the Rockies fouling off 33 of the 98 pitches they saw. It was particularly noteworthy with Rodón's go-to fastball; he threw 56 of them and got 20 foul balls to just two swinging strikes. The velocity was there at times, but the late-life wasn't.
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Gabe Morales was at Oracle Park for the first time since his sketchy check-swing call on Wilmer Flores in the NLDS, and he was behind the plate when Flores came up in the first inning. Flores got a low fastball and launched it to left for a two-run shot that gave the Giants an early 2-1 lead.
Marquez -- who entered this game with a 6.71 ERA -- is certainly no Max Scherzer, but still, that was a reminder that Flores is dangerous when given a chance. The homer was his seventh of the year and third in the last eight games.
Still Haunting Them
Connor Joe made his MLB debut with the Giants in 2019 and holds no ill will from the way it ended, but he sure does love hitting against his former team.
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Joe entered the night with a .324 average against the Giants and he wasted no time adding on. He poked one just over the left field wall for a leadoff homer in the first, the fifth homer of his season and third leading off a game. The ball was initially ruled a double but a quick review determined that it bounced off the first row of seats before returning to the playing field.
Joe went 1-for-16 with the Giants as one of Farhan Zaidi's first additions, but he has turned into a solid player for the Rockies. He had a .848 OPS last season and is currently at .781 for 2022.