The slipper didn’t fit.
With rookie Michael Toglia cranking up the power and turning on the juice, the Rockies were primed for a late-season Cinderella story featuring a rookie cast Monday night at Coors Field.
But in the 10th inning, right-hander Gavin Hollowell, thrown into the breach in his big-league debut, gave up a two-out, three-run homer to Thairo Estrada as the Giants rallied for a 10-7 victory.
“That was baptism under fire, no doubt about it,” manager Bud Black said. “But as you guys know, we had a lot of (relievers) unavailable tonight to pitch.”
Hollowell said he wasn’t overwhelmed by the moment, even though he became the first reliever in franchise history to be charged with a loss in their major league debut.
“Those are the situations I like to be in — high adrenaline,” he said. “Usually, when they turn out much better, I love hearing the fans and all of that.”
Hollowell pounded the strike zone and struck out the first two hitters he faced — Luis Gonzalez and J.D. Davis — but then his command deserted him. He walked LaMonte Wade Jr. and then served up the homer to Estrada on a 3-2 sinker.
“The adrenaline was pumping, that’s for sure,” Hollowell said. “I got those first two strikeouts and was cruising, then I lost a little bit of command. That ended up hurting me a little bit.”
Asked if the rush of his big-league debut had anything to do with losing his command, Hollowell said: “It might have. The adrenaline was definitely up in the beginning, then I started to settle down and maybe let the foot off the gas a little bit. I’ve just got to be better.”
The 24-year-old Hollowell was added to the Rockies’ roster on Sunday when Alex Colomé was placed on the bereavement list. Hollowell was promoted from Double-A Hartford, where he made 42 relief appearances, going 4-2 with a 3.14 ERA.
Toglia, the right fielder/first baseman who made his debut Aug. 30, ripped an RBI triple off Giants right-hander Jakob Junis in the second inning for the first triple of his career. He got his next triple in the second inning, also off Junis.
“I know that if it gets in the gap and touches the wall here at Coors, anyone has a chance of getting a triple,” he said. “Triples are just all about hustle and if you can get out of the box and are thinking ‘three’ all the way, you can make it.”
When Charlie Blackmon ripped a line drive into the right field corner in the eighth, the Rockies had their third triple of the game. It was the 58th triple of Blackmon’s career, extending his franchise record.
Toglia showed off his wheels again in the seventh, drawing a walk, stealing second and advancing to third on Wade’s throwing error from first. Toglia joined Seth Smith (Sept. 6, 2011 vs. Arizona) and Larry Walker (May 22, 1996 vs. Pittsburgh) as the only players in franchise history to record two triples and a stolen base in the same game.
“(Once he’s) underway, his speed is better than his first few steps out of the box,” Black said. “Once he gets going, he’s an average runner.”
For the record, no Rockies player has ever hit three triples in a game, but the team has hit two triples 25 times. The last time was by Ian Desmond, on May 7, 2019, also at Coors vs. the Giants.
Monday’s game was not textbook baseball.
The Giants committed four errors and the Rockies one. And quality pitching was hard to come by. The Rockies had 16 hits, including seven for extra bases. San Francisco rapped out 15 hits, five for extra bases.
Colorado right-hander Justin Lawrence, who’s been pitching so well, was called on to close out the game because both Daniel Bard and Carlos Estevez were not available to pitch. Estrada doubled off Lawrence to open the ninth and scored on Wilmer Flores’ single up the middle, cutting Colorado’s lead to 7-6.
David Villar’s double to right scored pinch-runner Austin Slater, tying the game, 7-7.
Rockies starter Chad Kuhl pitched a solid game until the Giants broke through for three runs in the fifth inning. Kuhl hit Wade to open the inning, Estrada followed up with a single and Joc Pederson hit a sacrifice fly. Brandon Crawford’s two-out single scored Estrada and Mike Yastrzemski’s single scored Crawford.
“I felt like (my slider) was working,” Kuhl said. “The pitches that sunk me were 94-95 (mph) sinking fastballs and I’d throw them 100 times out of 100, and I’d take that execution. But somehow they were hit and found some holes. That kind of sunk my night, unfortunately.”
Yastrzemski also hit a one-out solo homer off Kuhl in the fourth. Kuhl has allowed at least one home run (17 total) through his last 11 games, the longest streak of his career allowing home runs.
In 4 2/3 innings, Kuhl was charged with five runs on eight hits. He struck out six and walked one.
“A little inefficiency sort of caught up with Chad,” Black said. “His stuff was good tonight. He got some punchouts. Some good sliders, good fastballs, too. He wasn’t quite as crisp in the fifth.”
Junis gave up six runs (five earned) on 12 hits in 4 1/3 innings.
Colorado got doubles from Ryan McMahon, Yonathan Daza and Connor Joe, whose two-out RBI double to drive in Daza in the sixth gave Colorado what it figured would be a nice insurance run.
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