DENVER — Bruce Bochy has used almost as much ink on his calendar as on the lineup card lately.
He met with pitchers Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum on the last road trip to discuss their road struggles. Bochy met with his entire team after the first loss of this trip and pulled his slumping hitters into a meeting Saturday morning, hours before a 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
The results have been the same nearly every day, regardless of the message, the location or the opponent. The Giants continue to lose and find new, excruciating ways to do so.
Saturday’s was one of the worst yet, and a waste of a brilliant outing by Matt Cain. With his team in dire need of a spark, the ace gave up one run on three hits and retired the final 20 hitters he faced. At Coors Field, that’s usually more than enough to get you a win.
On Saturday, Cain never even had a lead.
The Giants scored just one run against five Rockies pitchers and lost on Nolan Arenado’s walk-off single off Jeremy Affeldt in the ninth. There was no need for a meeting afterward, although it wouldn’t have been hard to round up the players. After their sixth straight loss, nearly all of the Giants were sitting silently in their lockers, many staring at the floor.
“It’s not a good stretch,” Bochy said, the frustration coming through in his voice. “It’s not. And I’ll leave it at that.”
The Giants are 0-5 on the trip. The six-game losing streak is the club’s longest since June 26-July 2 of 2010, and it’s not hard to find the current culprit. The Giants are averaging just 3.27 runs per game in June and have slowed to two runs per game while dropping eight of the last nine games. Bochy met with his hitters in the morning, and during and after the second straight one-run performance at Coors Field, the manager seemed baffled by some of his hitters’ approaches. The four through eight batters were a combined 1 for 18, with Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval’s struggles magnified by their placement in the heart of the order. Pence, hitting fourth, has just five hits in his last 25 at-bats. Sandoval, hitting fifth, saw just seven total pitches while going 0 for 4. Three of his at-bats lasted one pitch.
“I need to make adjustments,” Sandoval said. “I need to change my game.”
Sandoval said he is still trying to find his timing after coming off the disabled list, and he and Pence aren’t the only ones slumping. Gregor Blanco is hitless in his last 13 at-bats, Marco Scutaro is in a 3-for-20 rut and Brandon Crawford is 6 for his last 40.
The Giants’ only run Saturday came in the fifth inning when Scutaro singled and Buster Posey doubled. Cain did his best to make it hold up.
The Rockies scored a run in the first and threatened again in the second thanks to some sloppy play by the Giants. With one out and Yorvit Torrealba on first, pitcher Jorge De La Rosa put down a bunt, and Sandoval threw the ball into center field. Juan Perez tried to get Torrealba out at third, but the ball hit him and bounced away.
Cain buckled down, getting out of the jam on a fielder’s choice and flyout. From then on, the Rockies didn’t get another base runner against Cain.
“He was outstanding,” Bochy said. “He saved us in that second inning. He picked the club up from that point. What a gutty effort.”
Cain threw 105 pitches in eight innings and then was replaced by Affeldt. Bochy said he felt Cain had done his job and gone far enough, and Cain said the conversation in the dugout before the ninth was brief.
“You’ve got (Carlos Gonzalez) coming up and (Todd) Helton, so two of the three are lefties,” he said. “That’s the matchup then, you go with your left-hander. It just didn’t work out.”
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