You've got to wonder if Jeremy Guthrie, even in his worst dreams, could have envisioned what awaited him in his first start at Coors Field on Wednesday night.
The Rockies' 17-8 victory over the the San Francisco Giants was a three-ring circus, a shooting gallery and a Little League slugfest all rolled into one.
After the Rockies put up a seven-spot in the fifth inning, they led 16-7. Also by that time, the Giants and Rockies had combined for 19 total hits. Through five innings, the Rockies were, get this, 20-for-32 at the plate. That's a .625 average.
It was almost laughable.
Manager Jim Tracy, who remained convinced the Rockies' offense would breakout out, despite a lackluster 1-3 start to the season, was beaming after the 3-hour, 43-minute marathon.
"That put a smile on a lot of faces," Tracy said. "The offensive side of things tonight, I don't know if you can do it any better."
Well, except for maybe hitting a home run. The Rockies' 22 hits without a homer marked the first time since May 3, 2000 vs Montreal (24 hits) that the Rockies had at least 22 hits without a ball leaving the yard.
After all the scoring, and after watching the Giants rally for seven runs in the fourth to take a short-lived 7-6 lead, it seemed like manna from heaven when Rockies reliever Matt Belisle set the Giants down in order in the sixth. Though Tyler Chatwood gave up a homer in the seventh, he pitched three innings and got his first big-league save.
Perhaps, as the conspiracy theorists might have it, the Rockies turned off their famous humidor. Payback, no doubt, for the Giants' whining last year that something funny was going on behind the scenes at Coors Field.
To begin the evening's festivities, Guthrie watched Tim Lincecum, San Francisco's two- time Cy Young Award winner, go down in flames. Lincecum said adios after 2 ⅓ innings, the shortest outing of his career. Colorado tagged him for six runs on eight hits. Carlos Gonzalez hit two RBI triples off Lincecum — bashing one to left-center, the other to the right-field corner.
Gonzalez, who finished the night 3-for-5 with four RBIs, preferred to talk about the Rockies' comeback rather than his own heroics.
"I think this is good for us, to come out and hit like this, especially against a guy like Lincecum," Gonzalez said. "We stayed positive ... we are a pretty good offensive team. This is a good balanced lineup, so I think we can do this a lot of times."
Guthrie managed three scoreless innings, but he got shelled for six runs in the Giants' seven-run fourth inning. He gave up nine total hits, including back-to-back homers by the Giants' Nate Schierholtz and Brandon Crawford and left in the fourth inning after recording just one out.
"It wasn't about Coors Field," Guthrie said. "The balls I gave up would have happened in any yard. I don't think it had as much to do with the ballpark as it did the pitcher and hitters on the other side."
Wednesday marked the second time in two starts that Guthrie has given up back-to-back home runs in his two Rockies' starts. He also did it in the season opener in Houston, though he earned the victory in that game.
Manager Jim Tracy likes the fact that Guthrie "pitches to contact," but this is not what Tracy had in mind.
"Tonight, Jeremy just gave up some bad two-strike pitches," Tracy said.
Guthrie, traded to the Rockies from Baltimore in February, is used to facing the beasts from the American League East. Now he's going to have to figure out how to tame the best at 20th and Blake.
The Rockies entered the game hitting a lackluster .150 (3-for-20) with runners in scoring position. By the end of the sixth inning, they were 12-for-23 on the evening.
That tidal wave started early when Gonzalez drove his first triple to deep left-center, scoring Marco Scutaro from second.
All of the aforementioned offensive pyrotechnics would seem to leave crazy thoughts in the head of Rockies starter Jamie Moyer. The 49-year-old lefty makes his first start at Coors Field — in a Rockies uniform — this afternoon.
But no, Moyer said, he's not intimidated by Wednesday night's hit parade at Coors.
"You just have to go out and pitch," Moyer said. "You just hope you are on the strong side of things. I mean, the wind blows out a Wrigley (Field), At Texas, that's a hitter's park even when there is no wind. And Philly, it's that way too. When you play at this elevation, it is what it is."
Patrick Saunders: 303-954-1720 or firstname.lastname@example.org
THURSDAY: Giants at Rockies, 1:10 p.m., ROOT, 850 AM
When you think of the Giants' rotation, Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum quickly come to mind. But it's the Giants' kid lefty, Madison Bumgarner, who was the biggest Rockies killer last season. Bumgarner, 21, made four starts against Colorado and was brilliant. He went 2-1 with a 0.67 ERA. In seven career starts against the Rockies, he is 2-3 with a 2.05 ERA. He has struck out 33 and walked just nine. Bumgarner (0-1, 9.00) can sling his fastball at 93 mph.
Contrast that with Rockies lefty Jamie Moyer (0-1, 5.40), who barely reaches 80 mph. Moyer, 49, is on the cusp of history. If he wins today at Coors Field, he becomes the oldest pitcher ever to win a major-league game.
Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post
Upcoming Pitching Matchups
Friday: Diamondbacks' Daniel Hudson (1-0, 5.40 ERA) at Rockies' Juan Nicasio (0-0,1.29), 6:40 p.m., ROOT
Saturday: Diamondbacks' Josh Collmentor (0-0, 15.00) at Rockies' Jhoulys Chacin (0-1, 9.00), 6;10 p.m.,ROOT
Sunday: Diamondbacks' Trevor Cahill (0-0, 1.50) at Rockies' Drew Pomeranz (season debut), 1:10 p.m., ROOT
Monday: Padres' Cory Luebke (0-1, 9.64) at Rockies' Jeremy Guthrie (1-0, 3.86), 6:40 p.m., ROOT