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Giants keep the ball on the ground in third straight loss

SAN FRANCISCO–The last time Derek Holland started a game for the Giants, Gorkys Hernandez broke a scoreless tie with a 400-plus-foot home run that opened the floodgates for their offense.
So when Hernandez kicked off the bottom of the first inning with a 433-foot blast to center field, the Giants appeared poised to back Holland with another strong showing at the plate.
Instead, Hernandez’s home run was the only run the Giants scored in a 6-1 loss to the Rockies. The Giants hit four line drive singles, but Hernandez’s homer was also the only flyball the team produced until Nick Hundley ended the game with a flyout to right field.
“We just have some guys that aren’t quite locked in right now,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’re on a streak where guys aren’t quite swinging like they normally do.”

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With their third loss in as many days, the Giants have now endured four separate losing streaks of at least three games in the first two months of the season.
Five days after Holland tossed 6 1/3 shutout innings in a 5-0 win over the Pirates, the Giants lefty logged three straight scoreless frames to open his night against the Rockies.
In the top of the fourth, Holland ran into his first bout of trouble when he walked Nolan Arenado to lead off the inning. A single by Trevor Story gave the Rockies a pair of baserunners with no outs, but after striking out Noel Cuevas, Holland earned a chance to escape from the jam unscathed.
The Rockies No. 6 hitter, Ian Desmond, entered Friday’s game with a .167 batting average and a reputation for pounding the ball into the ground at a prolific rate. But the obvious double play candidate ruined Holland’s night by smoking a 2-1 four-seamer over the left center field fence to help Colorado take a 3-1 lead.
“Every time we’ve had a leadoff walk it’s come back and bit us and that was an example of that right there,” Holland said.
Holland retired the next five hitters he faced but once again allowed Arenado to start off an inning on the base paths as the Rockies third baseman clubbed a double down the left field line. After inducing a flyout and a popout, Holland faced Desmond with a runner in scoring position for the second time.
With first base open and a left-handed hitter on deck, the Giants opted to pitch to Desmond anyway and he promptly delivered a RBI ground-rule double that one-hopped the center field wall.
“Desmond capitalized on two of them,” Holland said. “You’ve got to tip your cap to him. Give him credit. I put myself in that situation by walking those two guys and then leave him with the ability to score those runs.”
Desmond’s double left the bat with a 45 percent chance of resulting in a hit according to Statcast, but center fielder Austin Jackson didn’t read the ball well and struggled to make up ground on his pursuit.
“The ball seemed to carry a little bit more than I thought,” Bochy said. “It just kept carrying and at first hit, I thought the inning was over. But it kept carrying and it bounced over.”
Colorado’s corner infield combination of Arenado and Desmond didn’t just frustrate the Giants at the plate, but they also forged a solid connection in the field as starter Kyle Freeland rolled a steady stream of groundouts.
Arenado has won a Gold Glove Award in each of his five seasons and it didn’t take him long on Friday to prove why he’s such a celebrated defender. In the bottom of the third inning, Arenado made a diving stab on a Kelby Tomlinson chopper before twisting his frame and propelling his upper body with the necessary momentum to fire off a perfect strike to Desmond at first.
Though Arenado’s third inning web gem was his best play of the night, he also started a 5-4-3 double play in the first inning with a quick turn and recorded at least one putout in each of the first four frames.
After the switch-hitting Holland poked his first career hit from the right side of the plate into right field in the third inning, Freeland didn’t allow another Giants hit until Evan Longoria reached on a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh. Following a two-out Brandon Crawford double that brought the tying run to the plate, Rockies manager Bud Black yanked Freeland in favor of righty reliever Bryan Shaw.
Bochy countered by pinch hitting his hottest player, Brandon Belt, for Jackson, but Belt took a 97-mile per hour cutter for a called third strike to end the threat.
In the top of the ninth inning, Colorado center fielder Charlie Blackmon launched a two-run homer off of Jose Valdez to cap off a rough all-around game for the Giants.

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