The sun shimmers off the Coors Field grass today. The concourses, aisles and seats are pristine enough to make the folks at Disneyland blush.
So goes the Rockies' home-opener for 2012. Colorado starts its first homestand of the season today against the San Francisco Giants, in a matchup that always has severe implications in the National League West.
Check back here and at denverpost.com/rockies for live in-game updates, stats, scores, photos and more throughout the day.
A pair of hurtful errors led to a run barrage in the fifth inning for the Giants. Carlos Gonzalez dropped a fly ball in left field to start the inning, then Marco Scutaro dropped a double play assist from Troy Tulowitzki at second base. Then, with the bases loaded, Brandon Crawford doubled down left field line to score three runs.
The Giants lead 7-0 going to the bottom of the fifth inning.
Michael Cuddyer hit a hard foul ball into the stands just past the San Francisco dugout along the third base line in the fourth inning. Before the fifth inning could start, a cart was brought out onto the field and a the fan was put on a hard board stretcher and taken away by medical personnel.
Into the fifth
Troy Tulowitzki hit a hot shot that hit off San Francisco third baseman Pablo Sandoval and into left field for a base hit. But it was their only hit of the inning and the Rockies petered out to end the fourth.
To start the fifth inning, Matt Reynolds entered in relief of Jhoulys Chacin for the Rockies. Chacin pitched four innings, allowing four earned runs, walking five and striking out three.
Pitch count rising
Jhoulys Chacin struck out Pablo Sandoval to end the top half of the fourth inning — but strike three was Chacin's 90th pitch of the game.
Chacin has five walks already through four innings. He set a career-high of seven walks on July 21 last season against the Braves. Rockies reliever Matt Reynolds is warming up in the bullpen.
Rockies first hit
Colorado finally got a hit in the third inning, its first of the game, on a chop swing by pitcher Jhoulys Chacin in front of home plate. Marco Scutaro followed with another. But Dexter Fowler struck out to end the inning.
Chacin in trouble
Jhoulys Chacin walked three consecutive batters in the third inning, and Hector Sanchez's single to right field scored another run.
In the next at-bat, Angel Pagan hit a chopper down the first base line, leading Todd Helton to make a diving play into foul territory. He flipped to Chacin at first base for an out, but the Giants scored another run.
Chacin then walked another batter, Brandon Crawford, to re-load the bases, but he recovered to strike out Ryan Theriot to end the inning.
San Francisco leads 4-0 going to the bottom of the third inning.
The Rockies went three-up, three-down in the second inning too. But the Giants also failed to score, leaving San Francisco ahead 2-0.
Chacin, with one out in the third inning, had already thrown 48 pitches and just 26 for strikes. It pulled Rox pitching coach Bob Apodaca to the mound for a conference.
Rockies after first
Colorado trailed 2-0 after the first inning, after Carlos Gonzalez struck out on a 73 mph curve ball from Barry Zito to end the first inning. The Rockies went down 1-2-3 in the first.
Troy Tulowitzki, and his new walk-up song, will lead off the bottom of the second inning for Colorado.
Pablo Sandoval, hitting third for the Giants in the first inning, pulled his first pitch — an 88 mph fastball from Jhoulys Chacin — deep to right field for a home run just inside the foul poll. And San Francisco took a 2-0 leads early.
Jhoulys Chacin started the top of the first inning with a 90 mph fastball for a strike to Grego Blanco. On the next pitch, Blanco ground to second baseman Marco Scutaro. For the weather record keepers, first pitch was at 2:10 p.m. with the temperature at 66 degrees and very sunny.
Troy Tulowitzki before the game was presented at home plate with the Silver Slugger (best hitting shortstop) and Gold Glove (best defensive shortstop) awards from last season.
The biggest applause from fans during Rockies pre-game introductions was reserved for pitcher Juan Nicasio, who threw seven innings Sunday at Houston, allowing just one run, one walk, and striking out four over 82 pitches. It was Nicascio's first game since breaking his neck on the mound last season in Denver.
The Rockies' Jhoulys Chacin will make his first start of the season, going against San Francisco veteran Barry Zito.
The Rockies will start with Chris Nelson at third base today, at a position the team will platoon this year. Marco Scutaro leads off for Colorado.
RF Gregor Blanco
LF Melky Cabrera
3B Pablo Sandoval
1B Aubrey Huff
C Hector Sanchez
CF Angel Pagan
SS Bradon Crawford
2B Ryan Theriot
LHP Barry Zito
2B Marco Scutaro
CF Dexter Fowler
LF Carlos Gonzalez
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Todd Helton
RF Michael Cuddyer
C Ramon Hernandez
3B Chris Nelson
RHP Jhoulys Chacin