Jamie Moyer's starts drip with nostalgia. Root televises them, but it might as well be The History Channel. The left-hander took the mound for the first time Thursday at Coors Field with a chance to shake the record book by the nape of the neck.
At 49, Moyer delivered a competitive effort against the Giants in a 4-2 loss at Coors Field. What is already getting old in this young season is the Rockies' defense when he pitches, and their inability to win a series.
"When you have an easy out, you have to take it," manager Jim Tracy said. "You can't ask any of our starting pitchers to get four outs. It comes back to haunt you."
Unlike Monday, this wasn't a complete buzzkill as the Rockies provided drama late. Its offense a rumor for seven innings, Colorado loaded the bases against Giants' closer Brian Wilson in the ninth after Jason Giambi's pinch-hit single. After pinch-hitter Todd Helton lined out to second — "I hit hard, just right at him," lamented Helton -- Wilson began experiencing problems. After consecutive balls to Tyler Colvin, the Giants' trainer visited the closer who was experiencing pain in his left ankle. Wilson remained in the game, but walked Colvin, shaving the deficit to 4-2. Marco Scutaro flied out to end the game, leaving the Rockies 2-4 on the season.
In Moyer's two starts, the Rockies have committed five errors. Chris Nelson threw wildly on leadoff hitter Angel Pagan's groundball, the byproduct a 29-pitch first inning. In the sixth inning, Dexter Fowler dropped Ryan Theriot's flyball on a lackadaisical play similar to Carlos Gonzalez's gaffe in the home opener.
"I just missed it," Fowler said.
Sloppy play defined Colorado as it dropped two of three to the Astros in Houston.
"We have to clean up our play earlier games," Giambi said. "We've got to the little things better. You can't expect to be rallying consistently against closers in this game."
Moyer worked 5-plus innings, allowing two earned runs. He called softball groundball singles up the middle by Melky Cabrera and Brett Pill, "backbreakers."
"I don't have any problem with the defense," Moyer said. "It's not for a lack of effort."
The Rockies are finding their fans aren't as forgiving as in past years. Fowler was booed for the error and again loudly when he came to bat. He silenced those boos with an RBI single off Madison Bumgarner.
On Wednesday night the Rockies were in the family car racing around the bases like home plate was Disneyland. The next afternoon, they were roiling in frustration, ready to punch Marty Moose in the snout.
The Bumgarner-Moyer matchup went beyond the stark differences in the velocity to a generational gap. Their age difference was 26 years, 256 days, third largest all-time behind two games started by Satchel Paige in 1953 and 1965.
The last time the Giants' pitching staff had a night like Wednesday - 17 runs, and at least 20 hits _ it came in 1948 against a team famous during Paige's tenure, the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Rockies have never scored that many without a home run, a testament to their patience and approach.
"That's awesome," hitting instructor Carney Lansford said before today's game.
Everything that went right Wednesday went left today. Bumgarner was masterful, holding the Rockies to four hits and one run in 7 1/3 innings. That leaves Colorado with one earned run in 22 1/3 innings against left-handed starters this season (Wandy Rodriguez, Barry Zito, Bumgarner). Bumgarner has allowed just three earned runs against the Rockies in 34 1/3 innings.
The Rockies had few opportunities, owing to Bumgarner's status. In the sixth inning, Troy Tulowitzki grounded out to third with two runners aboard, and Gonzalez shattered his bat on a groundball to second with runners on first and second against left-hander Javy Lopez in the eighth.
April brings unfair conclusions based on the small sample size. However, for a team trying to distance itself from last season, losing the first series at home is no way to start.
"We were one swing away from winning," Giambi said. "We've just been too sloppy at times."
Troy E. Renck: 303-954-1294 or firstname.lastname@example.org