Giants fire blanks in loss to Rockies

The Giants’ homecoming just went from bittersweet to sour.

It took seemingly little effort for the NL West-leading Colorado Rockies to top the sunken Giants in a 4-1 win on Tuesday night to take a 2-0 series lead. The Giants have lost five in a row.

Leftover celebrations from 2014 continue to share the spotlight with what has been an underwhelming Giants start. Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner received Silver Slugger awards for their offensive efforts at their position, and fans got MVP Bumgarner bobbleheads.

Bochy’s crew is out of sorts, and today’s lineup was written proof that the Champions aren’t in champion form. Buster Posey got the day off, and will start at first tomorrow with Tim Lincecum pitching.

Brandon Belt, batting cleanup, followed by Gregor Blanco, Matt Duffy, Hector Sanchez and Brandon Crawford went a collective 2-for-14 off Rockies starter Christian Bergman and a quintet of relievers. Giants hitters stranded nine on base.

Tim Hudson, after a promising shutout win last Thursday against the Padres, didn’t look sharp in his second start. His sinker didn’t have much bite, and Rockies hitters took advantage early and often to the tune of eight hits and three runs in seven innings.

Once he found his stride, around the fifth inning, it was too late. Hudson said of the Rockies’ thriving offense:

“They’re always a pretty dangerous club. They have some guys that can really hurt you…All those guys are really aggressive. They’re not there to work the count and take walks, they’re wanting to do some damage.”

Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay

The Rockies are playing with high energy, especially with a healthy Troy Tulowitzki slugging a MLB-leading seven doubles. His double in the first put him on top.

Nolan Arenado made what has to be the play of the week, a diving catch in foul territory that he managed to hold on to as he crashed and tumbled into the stands over the rolled up tarp.

Bochy was impressed:

“What a play he made … he’s one of the best third basemen in the game.”

Hudson (L, 7 IP, 0-1, 2.03 ERA) was able to stay in the game and preserve the long relievers’ strength thanks to some defensive highlights like a 6-3-1 double play in the first and a leaping catch at the wall by Angel Pagan in the third.

Pagan and Nori Aoki kept the offense breathing. Pagan went 2-for-3 and scored the Giants’ only run of the night on a Matt Duffy sacrifice fly in the eighth. Aoki extended his hitting streak to 17 games and reached base three times.

It’s unfair to expect brilliance from the Giants at this point. Bochy’s management has been dictated by injuries. Like a game of major league Jenga, Bochy is forced to remove essential blocks and pile others on top without toppling the tower.

Tonight’s lineup wasn’t built for a win, it was built as filler.

Bochy said the early offensive struggles are typical for the beginning of the season:

“You go through it, and we have a few guys going through it right now. I think you see it more earlier in the season when the numbers aren’t there and they start trying too hard, start pressing.”

It’s been a grind for San Francisco so far. Bochy is giving Crawford–who has gone hitless the past six games–Blanco and Belt the day off tomorrow. Posey will start at first, and Arias will get the nod at short stop.

The Giants finish up their series with the Rockies Wednesday night at 7:15 p.m.