The Giants are playing sixteen games in sixteen days, without a break. I’ve been live-blogging them here under the category/Gauntlet. This was Game 14 of the 16, the first of the final series, but at altitude now, in Denver.
Sixteen games in a row and it ends at altitude in the Rockies, where Colorado has been excellent, winning 45 games. whew. The Gauntlet is not forgiving.
The Giants at least had their first-half ace in rotation for game one. Kevin Gausman (12-5, 2.52 ERA, 183 K) faced the Rockies lefty Kyle Freeland (5-6, 4.22 ERA, 81 K).
- Darin Ruf (R) 1B
- Kris Bryant (R) RF
- Buster Posey (R) C
- Evan Longoria (R) 3B
- Brandon Crawford (L) SS
- Thairo Estrada (R) 2B
- Mauricio Dubon (R) CF
- Steven Duggar (L) LF
- Kevin Gausman (L) P
Kap moved Darin Ruf to leadoff and he started this one by parking a 79mph Kyle Freeland curve for a home run, Giants 1, Rockies 0. Freeland came back and struck out Kris Bryant, but then Buster Posey hammered a 90mph sinker for another homer! Longoria flied out to center. Crawford fouled out. Giants 2, Rockies 0.
- Raimel Tapia (L) LF
- Brendan Rodgers (R) 2B
- Charlie Blackmon (L) RF
- Trevor Story (R) SS
- Ryan McMahon (L) 3B
- Elias Diaz (R) C
- Joshua Fuentes (R) 1B
- Garrett Hampson (R) CF
- Kyle Freeland (L) P
Kevin Gausman came to the mound with a two-run lead, not that it means much at altitude, but a lead’s a lead. He hit 95mph on fastballs that Raimel Tapia fouled off then struck him out with the splitter. He tried the same basic approach with Brendan Rogers, three fastballs for strikes then the splitter, but the splitter hung and Rogers ripped it for a double.
Blackmon grounded out to third on one pitch, an 82mph changeup, that advanced Rodgers to third. He started with four straight fastballs to Trevor Story, missing twice, 2-2. Then he struck him out swinging with an even higher fastball, getting Story to chase.
Thairo Estrada grounded out on the second pitch. Mauricio Dubon took two strikes, looking and then had a great at-bat: he fought off two curves and a slider and, on a 2-2 count, doubled to center. Steven Duggar then hit a ball hard and deep right into the gap, to the right of center, but Blackmon was positioned well to track it down and catch it. Freeland struck out Gausman to end the top of the inning.
Ryan McMahon led off for the Rockies and drove a first pitch fastball right over the 400 foot marker to the opposite field. Jon mentioned it was hot, 93 degrees, and that the ball was definitely flying today. Giants 2, Rox 1.
Gausman got Elias Diaz to ground out to Crawford and got ahead of Josh Fuentes, quickly 0-2. But Gausman missed with the splitter and changeup, 2-2. Fuentes fouled off a fastball, but then grounded another roller right to Crawford, who scooped it and threw him out. Garrett Hampson looked at a atsrike then fouled off consecutive 95mph fastballs. Gausman missed with the splitter in the dirt, then struck him out swinging at the same splitter, properly located, on the next pitch.
Darin Ruf looked at a couple of balls as Freeland missed with the changeup and curve. He fouled off a pitch and successfully checked a swing to get ahead 3-1. Freeland missed with the slider giving up a leadoff walk.
He missed way outside to Bryant on the first pitch, then Bryant muscled a 90mph sinker inside out to right, advancing Ruf to second. Freeland got ahead of Posey 0-2 with the changeup and curve and struck him out with a high fastball with “a little cut to it,” as per Jon. Freeland fell behind Evan Longoria on several bad pitches that missed badly, 3-1, and then walked him with a changeup to load the bases for Brandon Crawford.
Jon noted that Crawford has struggled against Freeland throughout their matchups in the past. This was to be no different. He hit it right up the middle to Story, who stepped on second and threw him out for the double-play. Giants stranded three.
Freeland struck out swinging. Raimel Tapia fell behind 0-2, but then grounded a hard hit ball to Longo who couldn’t field it cleanly and failed to throw out the speedy Tapia, the Rockies leading base-stealer. Rodgers flied out to right. The Gasman blew two fastballs by Blackmon, 0-2, and with two down and the runner going, struck him out with the splitter. sweet.
Estrada opened the fourth by absolutely ripping a changeup 413 feet down the left field line for a solo shot. Giants 3, Rockies 1. Dubon then blooped a single to center field for a single to make him two for two. Then Steven Duggar hit a liner to left for a single, to make him also two for two.
Gausman tried to get a bunt down to advance the runners, but fouled the first pitch past the third base line. He squared around again and took a ball. Then he showed bunt, McMahon came charging in from third, and Gausman pulled back and slapped a liner up the left field line right past him. McMahon was too close to make the play. Dubon raced home. Giants 4, Rockies 1.
Kevin Gausman’s ninth hit and third RBI of the season was a perfectly executed fake bunt, pulled back and swung away.
Ruf flied out to right, advancing Duggar to third. Kris Bryant worked a full count, but struck out on a pitch that was right down the middle. Two out with runners in the corners for Posey, who got ahead, 2-0, then fouled off a slider. Buster took another ball 3-1, then fouled off another to fill it. Freeland struck him out with the curve, impressively limiting the damage: Ruf flied out and he struck out Bryant and Posey to close the top of the frame. The Giants were then 1 for 8 with RISP. sigh.
Fresh off his RBI-single, Gausman got ahead of Story, 0-2, then grounded him out to Estrada, who was perfectly positioned to field it and throw him out. Gausman fell behind McMahon 2-0, but filled the count. He tried to strike him out with the fastball but McMahion fouled it off. Then he missed with the changeup and walked him, but a Diaz GIDP on one pitch ended the inning.
Freeland hit Evan Longoria on the toe with the “back-foot curve ball,” to give the Giants another leadoff baserunner. But Brandon Crawford’s struggles against Freeland continued and he struck out swinging on three pitches. Thairo Estrada worked a 2-2 count and Freeland was really struggling with him. Estrada then smashed his second home run of the game, 405 feet to left on a curve Flemm said he was looking for. Giants 6, Rockies 1.
Freeland walked Dubon and peppered first with pickoff throws to kill time until they came to get him. His Labor Day was done, having given up nine hits and six earned runs.
The Rox brought in Ben Bowden to face Steven Duggar. Duggar ripped a liner to shallow right advancing Dubon to second. Lotsa traffic for the Giants today. Gausman then bunted well up the third base line. Bowden grabbed it and threw to third to get the lead runner, Dubon, but they couldn’t get Gausman at first for the double play.
Darin Ruf then smashed a deep shot to dead center field where it whistled over Hampson’s head and hit the wall for a two-run triple! Giants 8, Rockies 1. The Giants had been one for nine with RISP before that triple, Dave informed us.
Kris Bryant, who struggled at the plate against Freeland all day, had no better luck against Bowden. Bryant hit a liner deep to third, but McMahon made a great play to dig it out and throw Bryant out at first to end the top of the fifth. Damage done: Freeland chased and four more runs.
Joshua Fuentes struck out on a Gausman fastball to start the bottom with The Gasman’s sixth K. Gausman quickly got ahead of Hampson, 0-2. Hampson then hit a line drive right back to Gausman who reacted quick-twitch and snagged it. Two down. he popped up Hilliard the infield left of the mound and everybody broke for it. Crawford who gut run in front of just before he was going to squeeze it, by Darin Ruf, who made the play. Eleven pitch fifth for Gausman, who was cruising.
Buster Posey slashed a first pitch from Yancy Almonte to deep right field for a stand up double – another leadoff baserunner for San Francisco. Longo went oppo and singled Buster over to third. “Brandon Crawford, happy to see anyone but Kyle Freeland into the game,” was up next Dave remarked.
Almonte walked Crawford to load the bases for Thairo Estrada playing in his first game at Coors Field having already hit two home runs. Almonte fell behind 3-0. Estrada took a strike, then flied out to right on the next pitch.
Almonte fell behind Mauricio Dubon looking at bases loaded and one out, 2-0. Then Dubon grounded it through the hole to right. Three-for-three, Mauricio Dubon doubled in Posey and Longoria. Giants 10, Rockies 1. Steven Duggar GIDP to end the Giants half of the sixth.
Kevin Gausman came back out for the sixth with a 10 – 1 lead. wow. After five innings on 71 pitches and giving up only two hits, Gausman gave up a single to Tapia to start the sixth. When Bryant threw the ball back into the infield, Crawford couldn’t get a hold of Bryant’s somewhat errant throw and Tapia took second on the error.
Gausman got his seventh strikeout, Brendan Rodgers, with his 77th pitch, then gave up an RBI triple to Charlie Blackmon, who turned on a first pitch fastball. Giants 10, Rox 2.
Gausman struck out Trevor Story for the second time with Blackmon 90 feet away from the plate. Dave called it macho. 8 Ks for Gausman. He then worked the split-fingered pitch into the McMahon at-bat, and induced a weak grounder to second, ending the inning with Blackmon stranded.
Gausman batted for himself in the seventh, so we knew he was coming back. He got ahead of the count 2-0. Then Almonte got him to swing and foul to make it 2-2. Then he struck out swinging. Ruf flied out to center. LaMonte Wade, Jr., pinch-hit for Bryant and struck out swinging.
With LaMonte Wade, Jr., now playing right, Gausman did indeed return to the mound for the seventh and he got Diaz on an infield fly to second. Then he popped up Fuentes and Posey caught it, but not without more drama from Ruf, who came barreling towards him and then slid into Buster and knocked him down. WTF is Ruf doing on these pop-ups?
Garrett Hampson then jumped on a two-out, first pitch fastball and ripped it for a home run. Giants 10, Rockies 3. The Rockies sent in Rio Ruiz as a pinch hitter. Gausman managed to strike him out on three pitches. Ninth K for Kevin Gausman on seven strong innings and 98 pitches.
The Giants went quietly, three up, three down in the eighth. Robert Stephenson, a tall righty from Martinez, California, got Posey, Longoria and Crawford on just six pitches. Groundout, flyout, groundout.
Caleb Baragar got the call in the bottom of the eighth and got Tapia to ground out but then gave up a double to Brendan Rodgers to deep right center. Charlie Blackmon grounded out to third. Rodgers couldn’t advance, but it didn’t matter because Baragar threw one right down the middle to Trevor Story who crushed it for a two-run homer. Giants 10, Rockies, 5.
Baragar then hit McMahon with a pitch. Yikes. I got that sinking feeling when Kapler took the ball and turned it over to one of my least favorite relievers this year, John Brebbia, who recently had proven me wrong and performed very well against the Dodgers. A nine run lead had been cut to five by massive homers at altitude, and there were still four outs to get.
Elias Diaz faced Brebbia. They wrestled to a 2-2 count and Diaz fouled off the challenge fastball. and another. and another. and another. The eight pitch at-bat turned nine with a slider that missed to fill the count. He missed with the slider again on the tenth pitch and walked him. “The one thing he couldn’t do was walk anybody and he walked Diaz who almost never walks,” said Jon.
With runners on first and second, Brebbia then gave up a deep foul ball to Fuentes that was nearly a home run. But finally Fuentes grounded into the force out of Diaz at second and the inning was over.
The Rockies brought Lucas Gilbreath for the ninth. Thairo Estrada went inside out for the third hit of his debut game at Coors Field, a single to right. Brendan Rodgers made a nice, diving grab of a Dubon liner for the first out. Steven Duggar grounded to first and the Rockies got Estrada at second, but couldn’t turn the double of the racing Duggar at first. Tommy La Stella came into the game as a pinch hitter, but struck out, a rarity for him.
Dominic Leone, just one of the bullpen heroes of the last game against the Dodgers, was brought in to try to close out the Rockies. Garrett Hampson hit a first pitch liner right to Brandon Crawford, one away. C. J. Cron then came in to hit for Gilbreath and he grounded out to third on the second pitch, and Tapia dribbled a little comebacker Leone corralled and flipped to first and the ball game was over. Just five pitches by Leone to end it.
Giants 10, Rockies 5
Way to go Giants!
The 15th game of the gauntlet is tomorrow, just need one more in Colorado to win the series and end the 16 Game Gauntlet over .500.