A’s wrap up 8-2 road trip.
Rockies’ LeMahieu gets Dyson this time with 2-run HR in 9th
SANFRANCISCO » It all looked familiar to Giants reliever Sam Dyson.
The Giants were up by a run in the ninth inning, a runner on base and Colorado second baseman DJ LeMahieu at the plate.
Except that two days after Dyson induced a game-ending double play, LeMahieu hit a two-run home run as the Rockies beat the Giants 9-8 on Thursday at AT&T Park before a crowd of 37,529.
Dyson inherited at least a portion of the closer’s role the moment Hunter Strickland’s right pinkie connected with a clubhouse door after a blown save of similar proportions.
And although manager Bruce Bochy termed the pitch to LeMahieu a “mistake,” Dyson wasn’t so sure. He has a two-seam fastball that hits 94 mph with a natural break that runs in to the hands of right-handed batters.
LeMahieu hit that pitch on the ground for the game-ending double play Tuesday night. Then the same pitch ended the Giants’ fourgame winning streak as well as a 7-3 homestand two days later.
“It was roughly where I wanted it,” Dyson said. “I figured we’d go in like we did two nights ago and just didn’t get it far enough in there.”
It capped a five-RBI day for LeMahieu, who hit his eighth home run of the season and finished 3 for 4.
“They beat us on our guy’s best pitch,” catcher Nick Hundley said. “In a perfect world, he hits that on the ground, but he did a really good job, because it wasn’t a bad pitch.”
So instead of an 8-2 homestand, which would have been the Giants’ best since 2012, they
boarded a charter flight on a down note headed for three games against firstplace Arizona and then three more against Colorado.
The fact that the Giants bounced back from a 5-2 deficit to tie the score in the fourth, and then took an 8-7 lead into the ninth after a clutch two- run double from Alen Hanson, made the loss that much more painful.
The ninth inning started with a single by Chris Ianetta, with Dyson then getting TomMurphy on an infield popup before LeMahieu connected.
“The leadoff hitter got on, that puts a little pressure on you,” Bochy said. “Then he just made a mistake. The other night, (he) got the big double play. That’s baseball. The way the guys fought today, that’s a tough one, when you have the lead in the ninth. Couldn’t hold it. Sam was just a little off.”
With Strickland on the disabled list for the foreseeable future, juggling the back end of the bullpen has gotten tricky for Bochy.
The Giants have two pitchers with closing ability coming off arm surgeries, left-handed Will Smith and right- handed Mark Melancon. Neither is physically up to the task of doing anything more than spot closing.
Neither Smith nor Reyes Moronta, the mid-90s fireballer, were available Thursday as Bochy looks to stretch out the bullpen for the long run.
So that leaves the clos- er’s role to Dyson, who had 38 saves for Texas in 2016. It’s not his job exclusively, however, as Bochy said he wouldn’t hesitate using Tony Watson, Moronta or others on a spot basis, depending on the situation.
Dyson (2-2) has four blown saves this season, but Bochy wasn’t about to bury him because of Thursday’s result.
“You look at where they were in the order, with Sam, it was a perfect setup for him,” Bochy said. “He’s a guy that has been doing a lot of closing. We have options. You can always look back when something doesn’t go right. They just found a way to make a comeback on us.”
• Hanson was 2 for 5, reached base three times and scored twice while playing left field.
• Brandon Belt hit a two-run home run in the first inning, his 13th of the season, and dropped a bunt single against an infield shift leading off the fifth.
• The Giants tied the game in fourth off starter Jon Gray on a two-run double by Joe Panik and a runscoring single by Gorkys Heranandez. They lost a potential run when an errant pickoff throw struck umpire Jim Reynolds in the leg and was retrieved by first baseman Ian Desmond before Panik could score.
• Two of the top fielders in the National League had errors, with Nolan Arenado whiffing on a ground ball that led to an unearned run and Crawford dropping a popup in the sun. Arenado hit his 19th home run of the season against starter Chris Stratton in the first inning.
Stratton was gone after four innings and five earned runs in favor of Ty Blach, who surrendered a two-run single to LeMahieu in the seventh inning.
Giants starting pitcher Chris Stratton tries to regroup after giving up four runs to the Colorado Rockies in the fourth inning.
Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford tags out the Rockies’ Gerardo Parra, who was picked off by pitcher Chris Stratton.
The Giants’ Brandon Belt connects for a two-run homer against Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jon Gray.