Joe Mahoney/Associated Press
DENVER – After watching teammate Barry Zito throw the first shutout for the Giants at Coors Field 48 hours earlier, Tim Lincecum never saw this coming:
The shortest outing of his career.
Lincecum was shelled for six runs in 2 1/3 innings Wednesday night as the Colorado Rockies snapped out of an offensive funk with a wild 17-8 win over San Francisco.
“A lot of pitches thrown in 2 1/3,” Lincecum said after his laborious 76-pitch effort. “Just sloppy baseball for me. Not really executing pitches, missing a lot, and it’s going to hurt you, especially in this park.”
Amazingly, Lincecum got a no-decision thanks to a big rally in the fourth that took him off the hook.
After struggling at the plate and scoring just five runs off starting pitchers in their first four games, the Rockies looked as if they were taking batting practice off Lincecum and his bullpen. They didn’t chase pitches out of the zone and forced the Giants to throw strikes, then drove the ball all over the ballpark.
“We made him throw strikes; we didn’t chase pitches,” said Carlos Gonzalez, who tripled twice off Lincecum and finished the night with four RBIs and three runs.
The Rockies collected 22 hits – half of them for extra bases – on a cool, sometimes damp evening that recalled the pre-humidor days at cavernous Coors Field.
“That’s a pretty good way to break out offensively,” Rockies’ manager Jim Tracy said. “That put a smile on a lot of peoples’ faces (Wednesday night).”
Matt Reynolds (1-0) got the win with 1 2/3 innings in relief of Jeremy Guthrie, who failed to hold a 6-0 lead, and Tyler Chatwood picked up his first career save with a three-inning stint.
“That’s the first save of my life,” Chatwood said. “And I had a nine-run lead in the ninth.”
Guillermo Mota (0-1) took the loss in relief of an ineffective Lincecum, who had his second consecutive shaky start.
Looking to bounce back from a poor performance at Arizona in the season opener, Lincecum instead was tagged for eight hits. He walked two, threw two wild pitches and left trailing 6-zip. His ERA ballooned to 12.91, but he watched his teammates score seven times in the top of the fourth to take the lead.
However, San Francisco’s bullpen would give up the game’s next 10 runs.
Guthrie allowed six runs before he was replaced by Reynolds. Guthrie gave up nine hits, walked two and allowed two homers in 3 1/3 innings. He’s allowed back-to-back homers in each of his two starts for the Rockies. This time, Nate Schierholtz and Brandon Crawford went deep to spark the rally.
Gonzalez hit a high, outside pitch for an RBI triple to left-center and scored on Troy Tulowitzki’s groundout in the first. In the second, he pulled a changeup to right for his second triple. He scored when Lincecum’s second wild pitch bounced away from rookie catcher Hector Sanchez, whose throw to the pitcher covering the plate was wide.
Sanchez was starting in place of Buster Posey, who has shingles.
Ramon Hernandez’s RBI single made it 6-0, and after Lincecum walked Chris Nelson to load the bases with one out and the pitcher coming up, Giants manager Bruce Bochy brought in right-hander Daniel Otero.
Otero got Guthrie to ground into an inning-ending double play, a missed opportunity that loomed ever larger once the right-hander took the mound in the top of the fourth and retired just one of the next seven hitters.
After Melky Cabrera’s RBI single and Pablo Sandoval’s run-scoring double made it 6-4, Reynolds replaced Guthrie, walked his first hitter to load the bases, then surrendered a two-run single to Sanchez and a sacrifice fly to Schierholtz that gave the Giants the lead.
Gonzalez said the Rockies weren’t worried.
“We got to Lincecum, who’s a really good pitcher, and when you see all those guys coming from the bullpen early in the game, you have a lot of opportunity there,” Gonzalez said.
Sure enough, the Rockies regained the lead in the bottom half of the fourth on Gonzalez’s run-scoring groundout, Tulowitzki’s RBI single and Michael Cuddyer’s RBI double off Mota made it 9-7.
The Rockies scored seven times in the fifth to put this one out of reach as Matt Belisle threw a scoreless inning, and Chatwood gave up one run and two hits in the final three innings.
Marco Scutaro’s RBI double made it 10-7 and chased Mota, who gave up five runs, four earned, and six hits in one-plus inning of work. Gonzalez singled home a run off Jeremy Affeldt for his fourth RBI, and Helton followed with a run-scoring double that made it 12-7.
That’s when things really got crazy.
Hernandez singled home another run, sending Cuddyer to third. Hernandez took second on an error by first baseman Brett Pill, who redirected the throw home into foul territory along the first-base line. The catcher retrieved the ball, and Cuddyer found himself caught halfway between third and home. He retreated and got into a rundown with Hernandez barreling his way to third.
Cuddyer was safe at home when Pill made his second error on the play, and Hernandez reached third safely when Crawford, covering the bag, missed the tag. He wasn’t charged with an error, but when the wacky play was over, there were seven Giants – all hanging their heads or shaking them in disbelief – between third base and home plate while the Rockies were wildly celebrating their luck.
“We do that a ton in spring training,” Pill said. “I was trying to come and get the ball, and he came at me. It’s a play you make 99 times out of 100.”
Nelson followed with an RBI double, and Eric Young Jr. an RBI triple that made it 16-7.
Schierholtz hit his second homer, off Chatwood, leading off the seventh.