Giants observations: Tommy La Stella stars in tense win over Rockies

·4 min read

What we learned as La Stella stars in Giants' win over Rockies originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Life is never easy when you visit Coors Field, but the Giants can at least take solace in the fact that they're escaping all of these back-and-forth games against the Colorado Rockies with wins.

A laugher turned into a tense 10-7 victory, the Giants' 12th straight over the Rockies dating back to last season. That's the organization's longest winning streak over a single opponent since the New York Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies 12 straight times in 1945-46.

Eight of the 12 wins against the Rockies have come in Denver, and this was another Coors Field classic.

For most of the night, it looked like the game would be a blowout. The Giants scored six runs in the first three innings and then tacked on two more in the fourth and two in the sixth, with most of the damage coming from the back half of the lineup. Mike Yastrzemski, Darin Ruf and Thairo Estrada combined to drive in seven of the first 10 runs and score five of them.

But because this was Coors Field, a 10-2 lead turned into a 10-7 lead in a matter of minutes in the sixth inning. Randal Grichuk's three-run homer off Alex Cobb capped a five-run rally and put pressure on Gabe Kapler's bullpen. As has been the case so often during this streak, the relievers were up for the challenge.

John Brebbia, Tyler Rogers and Dominic Leone got the three-run lead to Camilo Doval, who issued a pair of walks with two outs and brought the tying run to the plate before locking down his seventh save.

La Leadoff Bomb

Tommy La Stella returned to the lineup on Monday night, but Gabe Kapler eased him in. On Tuesday, Kapler threw La Stella back in the leadoff spot against righty Chad Kuhl and he made an immediate impact.

La Stella opened the night with a 464-foot bomb to right field, the sixth leadoff homer of his career and fourth as a Giant. It was the second leadoff homer this season for the Giants, the other coming when Joc Pederson was briefly inserted in that spot on the last road trip.

It was not a surprise that La Stella opened the night with a leadoff homer, particularly at Coors Field. But the distance was a bit shocking. At 464 feet, the homer was 31 feet further than any homer La Stella had hit in the Statcast Era, which started in 2015. It was the eighth-longest homer in all of baseball this season and easily eclipsed Pederson's 441-foot leadoff blast on April 24 as the longest blast of the season for the Giants.

Coors, Sweet Coors

Denver will always be a special spot for Yastrzemski, who cemented his spot on the roster when the Giants visited in July 2019. It was a Milwaukee-Denver road trip, and Yastrzemski was told on the first leg that he was headed back to Triple-A, but Alex Dickerson's back locked up and Yastrzemski made the trip to Coors Field, where he had nine hits in 20 at-bats over four games. He's been a starter ever since, so it's no surprise that he always seems to tear it up when he returns to Denver.

Yastrzemski doubled in his first two at-bats, with the second one driving in a pair of runs and turning a one-run lead into a three-run lead. He walked his next time up and then smoked a single up the middle in the sixth.

Tuesday night's game was Yastrzemski's 20th at Coors Field, and he entered with a .333/.413/.768 slash line and eight homers. Since 2019, he ranks second among visiting players in home runs at Coors Field, trailing only teammate Brandon Crawford, who has nine.

Coors, Horrible Coors

Cobb was cruising along until the bottom of the sixth, which he entered with a 10-2 lead. The Rockies then went single, single, single, single, strikeout, homer to get five runs on the board and cut their deficit to three, knocking Cobb out of the game in the process.

The big blow was a three-run homer from Grichuk on a curveball that barely broke in the thin air. That was the last pitch Cobb threw, and he walked off having been charged with seven earned in 5 1/3 innings. Cobb's ERA jumped from 3.98 to 5.61 on the night.

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