DENVER (AP) - Chris Heston discovered pitching at Coors Field is a lot different than AT&T Park. Or anywhere else in the National League.
Heston came into Denver sporting an 0.87 ERA, but 5 1-3 tough innings Friday night brought him back to Earth in the San Francisco Giants’ 6-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
Heston (2-2) entered the game having allowed five runs - two earned - and 15 hits in three starts but he was hit hard by the Rockies’ powerful offense.
“A lot of balls were up,” the rookie said. “Sinker was up tonight and the breaking balls were up. They made me pay when I left them up there.”
Justin Maxwell hit a two-run homer to continue his recent hot stretch and Brandon Belt collected three hits for the Giants, who were coming off a three-game sweep of the Dodgers.
The Giants were able to bang out 11 hits against five Colorado pitchers but they were victimized by four double plays that killed rallies throughout the game.
“I thought we had some good at-bats but double plays hurt us,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “This is a park you like to take advantage of first and second nobody out. We didn’t get productive outs either.”
Charlie Blackmon had a solo homer and DJ LeMahieu drove in two runs as Colorado beat the defending World Series champions for a fourth straight time this season. The Rockies swept a three-game series last week in which they limited the Giants to three runs. San Francisco matched that total by the third inning.
Starter Eddie Butler (2-1) labored most of the way with only one clean inning. He allowed four runs, but worked his way out of trouble thanks to some nifty fielding, especially from third baseman Nolan Arenado and Blackmon in center field.
Heston gave up six runs in his first appearance at hitter-friendly Coors Field, raising his ERA to 2.77.
“He had some good stuff he just made mistakes out over the plate,” Bochy said. “It’s the first time he’s pitched here and he’ll learn from this. Overall he did all right.”
Heston gave up three doubles in the sixth, the last by Rafael Ynoa that gave the Rockies a 5-4 lead and chased the right-hander. Corey Dickerson added an RBI single.
Colorado’s bullpen made the lead hold up - with some anxious moments. Boone Logan struck out Brandon Crawford looking to end the eighth with a runner on third. Bochy argued the call and was ejected after a few words with plate umpire John Tumpane.
“Crawford, I don’t blame him,” Bochy said. “He was frustrated. I didn’t see that pitch called all night. It’s a big at-bat. We’re trying to get back in the game.”
Adam Ottavino pitched the ninth for his third save.
Arenado turned in two more sensational plays against the Giants. The Gold Glover ranged far to his left to snare a chopper in the seventh, spun around and threw out Gregor Blanco.
In the fourth, Arenado dived to his right to stop a grounder with runners on first and second and no outs. He scrambled to his feet, stepped on third base and fired to first to get Casey McGehee by a step.
It neutralized a potential big inning.
Maxwell hit a two-run homer in the second to put San Francisco ahead 2-0. The Giants took leads of 3-2 and 4-3 in the third and fifth innings, respectively, but Heston and the bullpen couldn’t hold them.
Maxwell backed up his 2-for-3 night with some good defense. Justin Morneau led off the seventh with a liner toward the wall in right field. Maxwell chased it down and stretched to make the catch and save extra bases.
“A little circus act,” he said. “I think normally that ball would have been right at me but since we were playing in outer space the ball kept carrying a little bit. I’m just fortunate I have long arms.”
Giants: OF Hunter Pence (broken left arm) hit off a tee in the cage before the game. “Was it 100 percent? No, but he was swinging,” Bochy said. … RHP Matt Cain (strained flexor tendon) is going to throw Tuesday. … RHP Jake Peavy (strained back) played catch. Bochy said there’s no schedule for when Peavy will throw off a mound. … OF Nori Aoki didn’t start for the first time this season.
Giants: RHP Tim Hudson (0-2, 3.93 ERA) seeks his first career win at Coors Field. He’s 0-2 with a 7.29 ERA in eight starts in the Mile High City.
Rockies: LHP Jorge De La Rosa (0-1, 31.50) looks to get back on track in his second start of the season. He’s 6-1 with a 3.43 ERA in 10 starts against the Giants at Coors Field.
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