Giants

Samardzija gives up four early runs, Giants drop finale to Rockies

Samardzija gives up four early runs, Giants drop finale to Rockies

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rookie Antonio Senzatela overcame a rocky start for his second straight victory on a rainy afternoon, and the Colorado Rockies won a four-game series in San Francisco for the first time in club history.

Senzatela settled down after a rough first inning, holding San Francisco scoreless on four hits over the next six innings in the Rockies' 4-3 victory Sunday.

Charlie Blackmon led off the game with a homer and Nolan Arenado celebrated his 26th birthday with a two-run double to cap a three-run first inning as the Rockies took three of four.

"We jumped out to the quick lead, we ambushed their guy, and then they jumped on Antonio," Colorado manager Bud Black said. "A lot of young guys would have let it get to them."

Senzatela (2-0) allowed three runs on seven hits in seven innings overall. Mike Dunn struck out the two batters he faced in the eighth, Adam Ottavino got another out and Greg Holland pitched a perfect ninth for his seventh straight save this season.

Each team scored three times in the first inning.

Though rain fell throughout the first five innings and resumed briefly in the eighth, San Francisco avoided its first home rainout in more than a decade. The last time rain forced cancellation of a game at AT&T Park was in April 2006.

"It was a little difficult, but you need to find a way to lock in in these conditions," Arenado said. "You have to figure out how to be comfortable when you're uncomfortable."

Blackmon hit the game's third pitch into the right-center stands, extending his club record with his 23rd career first-inning leadoff homer. Colorado began with four straight hits off Jeff Samardzija, capped by Arenado's double.

Samardzija (0-3) struck out eight while allowing four runs in seven innings.

"The balls were in the middle of the plate, especially in the first inning," Samardzija said. "Not to have good stuff out there today was frustrating, and to start out that way makes the rest of the day a lot tougher."

Brandon Crawford had an RBI triple for the Giants, who also got sacrifice flies from Hunter Pence and Nick Hundley.

DJ LeMahieu had a run-scoring single for Colorado in the second.

DEAL TIME:
The Giants traded minor league RHP Clayton Blackburn to the Texas Rangers for minor league INF Frandy De La Rosa and cash. Blackburn made one start for Triple-A Sacramento this season. De La Rosa is hitting .253 over four minor league seasons in the Chicago Cubs' and Rangers' organizations.

LEADOFF CHARLIE:
Blackmon's shot was his first leadoff homer this season, after having hit a major league-best 10 as the Rockies' first batter of the game in 2016.

BIRTHDAY BOYS:
Arenado went 2 for 4 on his birthday. San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy turned 62 - with the loss, he's now 4-7 on his birthday while guiding the Giants.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Giants: OF Jarrett Parker was placed on the 10-day disabled list a day after breaking his collarbone by slamming into the fence while catching a fly ball. Bochy said Parker, who is hitting .143 in nine games this season, had surgery Sunday and will miss about 8-10 weeks.

OKERT PROMOTED:
LHP Steve Okert, recalled earlier Sunday by the Giants from Triple-A Sacramento to take Parker's place on the active roster, got one out in the eighth inning - retiring the only batter he faced on a comebacker to the mound. Okert, who also was recalled earlier this season but did not make an appearance, was in 16 games for the Giants last season, allowing five runs on 14 hits in 14 innings.

UP NEXT:
Rockies: After a day off on Monday, Kyle Freeland is scheduled to start Tuesday as Colorado continues its road trip at the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Giants: Matt Cain makes the start Tuesday at the Royals to open a seven-day trip. It will be San Francisco's first visit to Kansas City since the 2014 World Series.

Q&A: Damon Minor on Giants' Steven Duggar, Chris Shaw and Aramis Garcia

Q&A: Damon Minor on Giants' Steven Duggar, Chris Shaw and Aramis Garcia

For the past two seasons — either in Triple-A Sacramento or the Arizona Fall League — Damon Minor has worked with the Giants prospects trio of Steven Duggar, Chris Shaw and Aramis Garcia. In 2018, Minor saw all three of them as the River Cats’ hitting coach before each player made their Major League debuts in San Francisco. 

NBC Sports Bay Area recently spoke to Minor as the former Giants first baseman assessed each hitter’s development at the plate.

You’ve worked with Steven Duggar the last two years (13 games in 2017, 78 in 2018). He obviously made a big impression on the Giants this past season. What were his biggest improvements the last two years at the plate? 

I think it was just the adjustments to the leagues. He had to adjust to Triple-A pitching with guys who can command the ball better, and learning the strike zone. Obviously when he went up to the big leagues it was another challenge for him to learn and Alonzo [Powell] and Schuey did a good job of honing in on him really knowing the strike zone, and staying in the strike zone.

[JOHNSON: Why Giants assistant hitting coach sent Steven Duggar film of Nick Markakis]

It was just unfortunate that he got hurt because he was starting to break through with it. 

Ideally, you’d want him as your long-term leadoff hitter. Can he be that guy for the Giants? 

The best thing about Duggar is that I think with his ability he can lead off, he can go to the 2-hole or 3-hole depending on how hot he gets, he can drop down to hit in front of the pitcher too. He learned how to hit a little bit in front of the pitcher, so that flexibility that you give a manager, that’s really, really good for him.

Does Chris Shaw have some of the best natural power you’ve seen? 

Yes. He has someone of the best natural power there comes from the left side. I was fortunate enough to play with some guys who had that power. It was good for him to go up and see what the big leagues are about.

[PAVLOVIC: Chris Shaw showed potential, needs more time at Triple-A]

Just like Duggar did, he just has to make those adjustments and be more of a hitter to be able to get to his power. I think with time, and as young as he is, he will [make adjustments].

Are there any keys you see to Shaw unlocking that power by becoming more of a pure hitter first? 

First it comes down to getting at-bats. And then just knowing the strike zone. It’s not really a swing issues. Little tweaks here and there. It’s more timing. If you have time to recognize the pitch more often, you’ll be more consistent and on time and ready. Your swing will take care of itself and you’ll hone in on the pitches you want to hit. 

For someone like Chris Shaw, what’s the toughest part mentally after struggling right away in the majors as a top prospect? 

It happens as young player. You go up there and everything’s a little bigger. You got a bigger crowd, it’s the big leagues and you’ve been striving to get there through the minor leagues. When you do, it is a bigger picture. You just have to learn how to control the emotions and not let things get overly big for you. For him, he’s a tough kid. He’s from Boston. He’s a hockey player. The best thing about Chris Shaw is that he’s gonna find a way to figure things out. He’s not stubborn and he’s gonna make changes accordingly to have success in the big leagues. 

What was your first impression of Aramis Garcia once he made it to Triple-A? 

I was fortunate enough to work with Aramis in the Fall League when I was there last year. I’ve been seeing him work his way up from Double-A to up here the last couple weeks before he was called up. The main thing with him was not only his bat, but being a catcher and being a guy to handle a pitching staff. I think that was the most impressive thing.

[PAVLOVIC: Aramis Garcia flashes power, opens eyes in September]

It just so happens he’s a pretty good hitter as far as staying through the field, being able to drive the ball the other way, and he’s learning to pull the ball a little better. He has a really good high ceiling. 

He looks like someone who could at least a backup in the bigs sooner than later. 

And it took him a little bit of time. He’s a little bit older at 25, turning 26. But that happens with players. He stuck with it and he’s been more aggressive. You see it as a hitting coach and what he does behind the plate. I’m happy for him. 

Going from Sacramento to AT&T Park, do you think there’s a swing or mental adjustment for players? 

Fortunately, the Sacramento field actually plays to the tendency of AT&T. It’s got some shadows to it. It’s deep in center field like AT&T, and when the sun goes down the ball doesn’t carry. It plays fairly fair. But obviously just like anywhere, you still gotta hit and do your damage on the road like Colorado. In the PCL, it’s Las Vegas and different places like that. There is a different mindset [to AT&T Park], but the thing is, if you keep your mindset of going up there and staying with your plan, things will take care of itself. If you put too much pressure on yourself — I was fortunate enough to play there and you crush some balls and I’m not fast enough to run around even in Triples Alley. There was only one guy that made that place look small, and that was Barry [Bonds]. 

MLB rumors: How Dodgers' Dave Roberts could replace Giants' Bruce Bochy

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AP

MLB rumors: How Dodgers' Dave Roberts could replace Giants' Bruce Bochy

The Giants already made one drastic change to their franchise this offseason in hiring Farhan Zaidi away from the Los Angeles Dodgers as their new president of baseball operations. Another year from now, could they add another prominent figure from their archrival?

According to FanCred's Jon Heyman, the Dodgers and manager Dave Roberts appeared close to a multiyear contract extension a week ago, but they now sit at a standstill, unable to come to an agreement. Roberts is said to be on vacation overseas, per Heyman, and the sides “remain far apart."

Los Angeles picked up Roberts’ $1.1 million option for 2019, meaning he’s under contract for next season, but not beyond. If the sides can't come to an agreement on an extension, Roberts essentially will enter next season as a lame-duck manager.

How do the Giants figure into this, you ask? Well, they just might have a managerial opening in one year’s time.

Bruce Bochy is entering the final year of his contract, and while the Giants have experienced plenty of success under the future Hall of Fame manager, there is plenty of reason to believe this will be Bochy’s last season in orange and black.

If 2019 indeed is Bochy’s final season with the Giants, could Roberts be the front-runner to replace him, provided he and the Dodgers don’t reach an extension? In many ways, it would be a logical pairing.

Zaidi obviously is familiar with Roberts, having served as general manager of the Dodgers since the beginning of the 2015 season. Roberts was hired as manager the following year, and Los Angeles has won the National League West in every season since, ultimately losing in the World Series each of the last two years.

Giants fans should be familiar with Roberts as well, and not just because of the last few years. The Dodgers manager spent the final two seasons of his 10-year playing career in San Francisco, batting .252 and stealing 36 bases in 166 games for the orange and black. He also played three seasons in Los Angeles and two in San Diego.

There’s still plenty of time for Roberts and the Dodgers to come to an agreement on an extension, but if for whatever reason they don’t, he could find another home within NL West a year from now.