ORACLE PARK — Drew Pomeranz hasn’t had it easy since arriving to the Giants this winter.
Trying to re-claim his good name from 2017, when he posted a 3.32 ERA for the Boston Red Sox, Pomeranz was woeful in his first 10 outings with San Francisco, with an ERA over eight. After finding some success for a couple starts with a new arm slot, that too soured on him, as he gave up seven runs in just 4 1/3 innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers last time out.
Pomeranz got back into a groove on Monday against the Colorado Rockies, fanning a season-high 11 men. San Francisco’s offense, though, as it has for most of the season, failed to back up a solid pitching performance, and the Giants fell 2-0 in the series opener.
Pomeranz, who’s gone as long as six innings just once this season, scattered five hits and two runs over five innings in the hard-luck loss, his eighth of the season and his fifth since the beginning of May.
“He had good stuff,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “Curveball got better as he went, but he had a good fastball going tonight, good life on it and I think it showed with the strikeouts.”
Despite the loss, Pomeranz believes he’s getting back to the form that helped him with 17 games with the Red Sox two years ago.
“Today I just kind of went out there and just simplified my approach and I think it helps,” Pomeranz said. “My fastball stays a little truer and goes where it’s supposed to instead of running back over. It helps my curveball, it helps everything.”
Pomeranz has already outdone his 2-6 record in 2018 with Boston by dropping to 2-8 with the loss, but his ERA dropped down from 7.09 entering Monday to 6.79.
For most teams, a two-run hole isn’t a lot to have to come back from.
For the Giants — who entered ranked No. 28 in the Major Leagues in runs scored — those two runs that came off of a home run by David Dahl in the third inning might as well been 10.
“That’s the one pitch I’ll probably think about the rest of the night,” Pomeranz said. “That’s baseball. It happens and sometimes one pitch decides the game.”
San Francisco couldn’t bring the runs to the plate and when they got on base, couldn’t capitalize, going 0-for-5 with men in scoring position and tallying just six hits total.
“We just didn’t have a lot of action out there, offensively,” Bochy said. “Their guy pitched very well tonight.”
Rockies starter Jon Gray earned his eighth win of the season, tossing a strong, four-hit shutout through six innings, striking out six and walking two. Colorado’s bullpen combined for a two-hit shutout in the final three innings.
Even though the Giants struggled at the plate Monday night, they had their chances to pull even one back, if not tie the game.
In the fifth inning, Joe Panik hit a double to center and Brandon Belt drew a walk to get a pair of runners on, but Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson both struck out swinging to end the inning.
Kevin Pillar tripled in the bottom of the sixth inning with two away, but Evan Longoria struck out swinging to end that inning.
After Panik hit a deflected single to open the eighth, Yastrzemski lined a double to the wall in left field with two outs, sending Panik toward home. Panik slid to the plate but was thrown out to end the inning after the video review showed that Rockies catcher Tony Wolters got the tag in on time, and that Panik just missed the plate by barely an inch, sliding in by the slanted edge of the plate.
“You still want to go with your instincts and he felt like that was the time to send him,” Bochy said about the play at home. “It was a bang-bang play, they executed, but the score does dictate some games. A two-run game, you still want to be aggressive.”
Stephen Vogt hit a deep fly ball to dead center to start the eighth inning, however the ball died just short of the wall on the warning track for the routine fly-ball out.
Monday’s loss marks the fifth for the Giants in their last seven games, dropping them to 33-44, 11 games under .500 at dead-last in the NL West. They’re 19 1/2 games of the first-place Dodgers who also currently own the best record in baseball at the moment.