The San Francisco Giants’ Angel Pagan hit a deep fly over the head of right-fielder Michael Cuddyer, driving in Brandon Crawford, and coming all the way around with a walk-off inside-the-park home run to defeat the Colorado Rockies in 10 innings 6-5 Saturday afternoon at AT+T Park in San Francisco. The Giants avoided being significantly jobbed by home-plate umpire Alfonso Marquez. Marquez was missing balls and strikes all afternoon and in the late innings made two clearly bad calls that cost San Francisco at least one run, likely more.
The Rockies ran-out 4-0 and couldn’t make it hold-up late in the game. Carlos Gonzalez got things started with a 2-run blast in the top of the 1st inning. Colorado got 2 more in the 4th on back-to-back doubles by Troy Tulowitzki and Cuddyer, and a Jordan Pacheco single.
Juan Nicasio started for the Rockies and battled his way into the 6th inning. Through 5 he’d escaped continuous trouble, ducking around 5 hits and 2 walks. Buster Posey and Hunter Pence doubled leading-off the 6th to chase the right-hander, and the Colorado bullpen uncharacteristically failed to stanch the bleeding. Josh Outman was the initial bumbler, victimized first by a lousy Brandon Belt Texas leaguer that plopped-down between Tulowitzki and center-fielder Dexter Fowler. Outman then figured he’d walk Andres Torres to load the bases. Crawford followed with a long fly-ball to Cuddyer in right, scoring Pence and moving Belt to 3rd. San Francisco sent Brett Pill up to hit for starting pitcher Barry Zito, but Walt Weiss countered with right-hander Adam Ottavino. That piece of cunning strategy prompted the Giants’ Bruce Bochy to turn to left-handed slugger Nick Noonan, who Ottavino promptly walked, again loading the bases. Ottavino got Pagan to pop-up for the 2nd out, but couldn’t help himself from issuing the third walk of the inning, which plated Belt. Ottavino struck-out Pablo Sandoval and the Rockies escaped with a 4-3 lead.
That vanished in the 7th when Ottavino, to the amazement of one and all, returned to the mound and served-up a single to Posey. After Pence flew-out Weiss went to Rex Brothers, who walked Belt and gave-up the game tying double to Torres. Marquez first piece of umpiring genius came next. Crawford grounded to 2nd-baseman DJ LeMahieu, who came home to catcher Yorvit Torrealba for a late tag on Belt, but Marquez called him out to surprisingly little protest out of the Giants’ dugout.
But in the 8th Sandoval lined a soft single in front of Gonzalez with Marco Scutaro running on the pitch. Scutaro was caught in no-man’s land when Gonzalez was able to field the ball and fire in the direction of 3rd, but Nolan Arenado was only able to wave a tag at the passing Scutaro, missing him by 4 inches. OUT ruled Marquez. Bochy elected not to stand for this one, calmly explaining to Marquez he was not fit for Major League exposure before exiting for the clubhouse in disgust.
The game remained tied until the 10th, when Tulowitzki led-off for Colorado with a homer to deep left. The celebrating Rockies sent closer Rafael Betancourt (1-2, 2.55) to the mound to close things-out. Betancourt liked those 3 walks in the 6th so well he decided to put lead-off hitter Crawford aboard. Two batters later it was San Francisco celebrating as Pagan coasted past Wilin Rosario.
It’s a rubber game on Sunday, with the Rockies sending Jon Garland (3-5, 5.19) out against San Francisco’s Matt Cain (3-2, 5.12). First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 pm MDT in the City by the Bay.