The San Francisco Giants have made a habit out of shutting down the Colorado Rockies offense when the teams meet at sea level, but on Monday, they did it at Coors Field, allowing just three runs in two games en route to sweeping a doubleheader in what’s been a house of horrors for the orange and black over the last three years.
Having won just three of their last 21 games in Denver, the Giants quickly turned the tables with a historic offensive outburst in the first game, winning 19-2, then took the nightcap 2-1 behind a set of back-to-back homers and five solid innings from Dereck Rodriguez in his return to the Majors.
Aside from the Miami Marlins, all NL teams are within five and a half games of a playoff berth at the conclusion of Monday night’s action, making decisions all the more difficult for front offices with the trade deadline two weeks away. The Giants are no exception. The two wins put rebuilding San Francisco (45-49) just three games out of a Wild Card spot.
What had been a moribund offense — 28th in baseball going into the All-Star break — has now scored 96 runs over their last 12 games. In the 11 games before the nightcap against the Rockies, the Giants had scored more runs than they had in any 11-game stretch since moving west. What made Monday all the more impressive, though, was holding the Rockies in check at Coors.
At Oracle Park, Colorado has scored just 18 runs in seven games (effectively eight games with an 18-inning marathon in the mix), but in the last two games the teams had played at elevation this year, the Rockies (46-48) had scored 16 runs.
Last year, Colorado averaged 6.1 runs per game when hosting the Giants, and in 2017, they averaged 7.4. Monday was a different story, as San Francisco not only exploded for those 19 runs in the afternoon contest, but did so against German Marquez, who had beaten the Giants twice already on the year. One of those wins was a one-hit shutout on April 14 in which he was perfect until the sixth inning and held San Francisco without a hit until a Brandon Crawford single in the eighth.
Crawford had the most prolific day against Marquez, but he did so under much better circumstances. He homered twice and went 5-for-6 with eight RBIs, becoming the first Giant to drive in eight runs in a game since Orlando Cepeda did so in 1961. His three-run shot in the first inning gave the visitors a four-run lead before Jeff Samardzija even took the mound, and Mike Yastrzemski followed with a dinger of his own.
Yastrzemski also hit a two-run double in the thrid and came in to score on a Kevin Pillar two-bagger in what would prove to be Marquez’s final inning. Marquez was pulled after just 2 2/3 innings, allowing 11 runs on 11 hits. He left trailing 10-0, but Buster Posey took Jesus Tinoco deep for his second homer in less than a week and fifth of the year before the inning was done.
Crawford also singled in a run in the fourth and hit a two-run homer off Tinoco in the sixth to make it 15-0, then drove in his final two runs with a single when the Rockies put position player Mark Reynolds on the mound in the ninth. Yastrzemski wasn’t far behind, going 4-for-6 and driving in three.
The 21 hits were the most the Giants had posted in a game since 2016, and the 19 runs were their most since September 2013. It was also the fifth double-digit run total for the Giants in their last 11 games, and unlike the others, it was done without Evan Longoria, whose recent power surge was abruptly stopped when he was placed on the injured list before the action began with plantar fasciitis.
The offensive rampage took some attention away from a stellar outing by Samardzija, who allowed just four hits and a walk over 6 2/3 innings while striking out a season-high nine. Last year, his maximum in a game was just five. The only damage came in the sixth and seventh on solo homers by Raimel Tapia and Ryan McMahon.
Crawford also made up a significant portion of the offense in the nightcap, once again joining in back-to-back homers, though this time, he followed Stephen Vogt, as the two both took Chi Chi Gonzalez deep in the fourth inning. That was enough support for Rodriguez, who only had one 1-2-3 inning but managed to limit the damage, even with two errors behind him. Brandon Belt dropped a Crawford throw to let Garrett Hampson reach in the third, and the speedy Hampson should have been able to score when Austin Slater flubbed a Charlie Blacmon liner two batters later, but Hampson slipped between third and home and was ultimately thrown out trying to return to third.
Hampson hit another ball off Slater’s glove in the fifth for an RBI double, but was thrown out trying to get to third thanks to a strong throw by Slater and perfect relay by Donovan Solano. Rodriguez then struck out Gonzalez to close the inning and make it twice through the Rockies order, which was good enough for the win as Reyes Moronta, Tony Watson, Sam Dyson and Will Smith combined to close the game out. Dyson struck out the side in the eighth, including McMahon and Blackmon, and Smith got three straight grounders after Trevor Story led off the ninth with a walk.