A’s wrap up 8-2 road trip.

Rock­ies’ LeMahieu gets Dyson this time with 2-run HR in 9th

The Mercury News Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Jerry McDon­ald jm­c­don­ald@ba­yare­anews­group.com

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.

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