Colorado Rockies morning after: 3 things we learned from Giants series

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 26: C.J. Cron #25 of the Colorado Rockies is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a fifth inning solo home run against the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field on September 26, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 26: C.J. Cron #25 of the Colorado Rockies is congratulated in the dugout after hitting a fifth inning solo home run against the San Francisco Giants at Coors Field on September 26, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

The Colorado Rockies are doing something that, earlier this season, seemed unthinkable: Losing at Coors Field on a regular basis.

Colorado dropped its fourth straight and eighth of its last nine home games Sunday afternoon when the San Francisco Giants completed a three-game series sweep of the Rockies with a 6-2 victory before 31,043 fans.

The Colorado Rockies suffered yet another loss in the late innings on Sunday

A four-run top of the ninth inning, highlighted by a two-out, three-run home run by Brandon Crawford, sealed the outcome and sent the Giants (102-54) to their seventh straight win against the Rockies (71-84), who have now dropped six of their last seven games after a five-game road winning streak.

After a walkoff home win on August 21 against Arizona, the Rockies’ ninth consecutive win at Coors Field at the time, Colorado had the most home wins in MLB with a 43-21 record (.672 winning percentage).

Since then, however, the Rox have won just three of their last 14 home games to slip to 46-32 at Coors Field (.590 winning percentage).

In his postgame comments to media, including Rox Pile, on Sunday, manager Bud Black tried to explain the reasons for his team’s recent woes at 20th and Blake.

"“I think it is a combination of all three facets of the game,” Black said. “We have slowed down a little bit as a group. Even before the road trip to Philadelphia, Atlanta and Washington, we swung the bats very well prior to that and we swung the bats well on that road trip. Since we have been back here, we have not swung the bats great.”Added Black: “I think it was a combination of a little bit of lack of offense, lack of the key hit — I think you saw that in this series — little bit of the starting pitching, little bit of the bullpen. So a little bit of everything. To win a game, you need all facets or unless one facet really dominates a game.”"

On Sunday, Colorado was simply dominated by San Francisco pitching.

The Rox managed only five hits, and for the third straight game, scored just two runs. After a leadoff single by Garrett Hampson in the bottom of the first, San Francisco starting pitcher Kevin Gausman retired 13 consecutive batters before C.J. Cron slammed his 28th homer of the season, a solo shot with one out in the fifth, to slice the Giants lead to 2-1.

The Rox would knot the game in the seventh when Cron, who reached base with a single and moved to third base on a San Francisco fielding error and a balk, scored on a fielder’s choice grounder off the bat of Elias Diaz. Cron initially was called out on the play, but after replay review, the call was overturned and Cron was ruled safe with the game-tying run.

But as was the case an inning earlier, Colorado stranded a runner on third base as the inning ended.

The Rockies also did not help their own cause offensively as they were fanned 16 times by San Francisco pitchers — without drawing a walk. Gausman netted 11 of his team’s 16 strikeouts in six innings on the mound. After Colorado tied the game in the seventh, four of the team’s final six outs recorded were via strikeouts, including the side in the eighth.

Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela posted his 15th quality start of the season, a career high, by allowing just two earned runs on eight hits through six innings. He issued just one walk while striking out two. The outing was his franchise-record 18th start of the season with one or fewer walks permitted through 4.2 or more innings.

Daniel Bard (7-8) took the loss for Colorado. He allowed three runs on two walks and just one hit, the tie-breaking single by Tommy La Stella in the ninth inning to give the Giants a 3-2 lead. Tyler Kinley came on in relief of Bard and surrendered the three-run homer to Crawford.

Here are 3 things we learned from the Giants series:

1. Rox suffer series first at Coors Field: The series sweep by San Francisco was its second of the season at Coors Field (also September 6-8). This marked the second time in franchise history that Colorado has been swept at home twice in a single season by a single opponent and the first time at Coors Field. The only other time the feat occurred was in 1993 by the Atlanta Braves at Mile High Stadium.

2. Colorado matches most losses to an opponent in a single season: With the loss Sunday, the Rox finished the campaign 4-15 against San Francisco, a single-season record for losses to the Giants and tied for the most losses against any opponent in a single season (also 4-15 vs. Dodgers in 2006 and 2019 and 3-15 vs. Arizona in 2008).

3. Rockies assured of third consecutive losing season: With Friday’s series-opening setback to the Giants, Colorado was assured of its third straight losing season after making back-to-back postseason appearances in 2017 and 2018.

Next. Ryan Vilade and the "trust" from the Rockies. dark

Colorado’s last homestand of the season continues with its final series when Washington travels to Coors Field for three games. The series opens at 6:40 p.m. (Mountain time) Monday with German Marquez (12-10, 4.32 earned run average) slated to start on the mound for the Rox and Josiah Gray (1-2, 5.92) scheduled to go for the Nationals.