Giants close out title defense vs. Rockies
Try as they might, the San Francisco Giants just couldn't overcome injuries and an inconsistent offense.
The defending World Series champions will at least try to end their season on a high note with an eighth straight victory over the Colorado Rockies in the regular-season finale today for both teams.
Coming off their first championship since 1954, the Giants lost catcher Buster Posey to a broken leg in May after a collision at the plate, the biggest of a handful of injuries the club would have to deal with all season. San Francisco never led the National League West after Aug. 9 and only an eight-game win streak from Sept. 11-18 pushed it back into the wild card race.
However, the Giants lost five of six after that and were officially eliminated from postseason play last Saturday with a 15-2 loss to Arizona.
Eric Surkamp got the start in that big game and was charged with six runs on three hits and four walks while failing to get out of the first inning in his fifth career start.
"That game started out bad and gradually got worse," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy.
The 24-year-old will try to rebound this afternoon and put his name into the discussion for a rotation spot next year. Surkamp is 2-1 with a 5.32 earned run average on the year and faced the Rockies on Sept. 17. The left-hander got a no-decision, giving up a run on three hits and six walks over 4 2/3 frames.
The Giants extended their franchise-record win streak over the Rockies to seven straight games with last night's 7-0 victory, getting three hits and a two-run homer from Brandon Belt and an inside-the-park home run by Conor Gillaspie.
San Francisco's 13 victories over Colorado is also a club single-season best in this series.
Madison Bumgarner tossed seven innings of two-hit ball to end his 13-13 season on a winning note.
"It's good to play well this last series," said Bochy. "We're out of it but the guys continue to play well and they're trying to reciprocate their appreciation to the fans."
The only two hits the Rockies managed off Bumgarner came in the second, as Kevin Kouzmanoff led off with a double and moved to third on Jordan Pacheco's single. Bumgarner settled though, striking out the side to escape the jam.
Alex White surrendered three runs on six hits in a four-inning start for Colorado, which has lost 11 of its last 13 and is playing out the string without Troy Tulowitzki (left hip), Carlos Gonzalez (right wrist) and Todd Helton (back).
"Any time a manager is walking out there in the third or fourth inning of a game, or after four innings you don't see a starter return, the chances of winning that game are not too good," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.
Both White and Drew Pomeranz were acquired by the Rockies in the deal that sent Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland, and each starter figures to factor into the club's long-term success. Pomeranz will try to take another step forward in his career today in his fourth career start.
The 22-year-old won his MLB debut on Sept. 11 over the Reds with five scoreless frames before getting a no-decision versus the Giants six days later with 5 2/3 frames of two-run ball. The southpaw then suffered the first loss of his career on Friday in Houston, getting drilled for six runs over just two innings to up his ERA to 5.68.
"He just didn't have it," Tracy said. "The ball was flat."
Today's meeting could be the last of the career of Giants outfielder Pat Burrell, a 12-year veteran who helped San Francisco win its World Series title last year. Bochy will give him a start today in left field, just his third since coming back from the disabled list on Aug. 31 due to a foot injury.
"I don't know what's going to happen after this year," Burrell told San Francisco's website. "Obviously, if there was something at stake, like the playoffs, I wouldn't ask [to start]. Now that we're kind of out of it, I politicked my way into it. ... I just want to play. My foot's not really better, but it's one game. I appreciate the chance."
Burrell, who also won a World Series with the Phillies in 2008, owns 292 homers and 976 RBI over 1,639 major league games.