Defense Guides Rockies Past Giants in Cactus League Matinee

Charlie Blackmon batting in a Rockies – Giants Cactus League game.

Rockies 5, Giants 3

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Mar. 17) — The Colorado Rockies defeated the San Francisco Giants, 5–3, in Cactus League play Sunday afternoon at Scottsdale Stadium. They rapped nine hits, including two doubles and one triple. Additionally, key defensive plays kept the Giants from tying the score on two separate occasions.

Rockies – Giants Game Summary

Logan Webb of the Giants throwing a pitch in a Cactus League game against the Rockies.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Mar. 17) — Logan Webb of the San Francisco Giants throws a pitch in the first inning of his team’s Cactus League game against the Colorado Rockies at Scottsdale Stadium. (Evan Thompson/Sport Relay)

The Rockies took the lead in the top of the third off Giants starter Logan Webb, although it was a pyrrhic victory. With runners on the corners and nobody out, Jacob Stallings grounded into a 4–6–3 double play. It scored Brenton Doyle from third, giving them a 1–0 lead, but killed any momentum they could have built.

The Giants threatened in the bottom of the third off Rockies starter Cal Quantrill, but a tremendous defensive play by Rockies third baseman Ryan McMahon saved a run. Nick Ahmed ripped a bases-empty, two-out single to left and stole second. After Mike Yastrzemski walked, Jorge Soler ripped a grounder down the third-base line. It had RBI written all over it, but a diving stop by McMahon forced Ahmed to hold at third. With the bases loaded and two outs, Michael Conforto hit a sharp one-hopper to second. Alan Trejo knocked it down but recovered in time to retire Conforto by a step.

The Rockies extended their lead in the top of the fifth. McMahon led off with a single and advanced to third on a double by Ezequiel Tovar. Strikeouts by Brenton Doyle and Alan Trejo threatened to strand two runners in scoring position, but a dribbler up the third-base line by Jacob Stallings turned into an infield single, scoring McMahon as Tovar advanced to third. More runs came on singles by Blackmon and Sean Bouchard, making the score 4–0.

The Giants scored their three runs in the bottom of the sixth off Rockies reliever Anthony Molina. These came thanks to a Matt Chapman single, doubles by Wilmer Flores and Thairo Estrada, and a single by Austin Slater. The Rockies scored their fifth and final run in the top of the ninth on an RBI triple by Drew Romo.

What Went Right for the Rockies

Strong Starting Pitching

Rockies starting pitcher Cal Quantrill tossed 4 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing four hits and one walk while striking out three.

Quantrill felt good about his outing. “I thought the attack was good. Approach was good. The contact was pretty weak, and I kept on them.” Manager Bud Black added, “The fastball command was sharp. Good breaking ball, good slider. All in all, a good outing for Cal.”

Dependable Defense

As mentioned in the summary, Ryan McMahon saved a run with a diving stop in the bottom of the third.

“That’s something our infield coach, Warren Schaeffer, preaches about,” McMahon said. “He’s got this whole chart about plays, stopping runs, keeping balls in the infield, and things like that. So that’s something we pride ourselves on.”

The Rockies also turned a key inning-ending double play in the bottom of the sixth, keeping the Giants from tying the game.

Doyle, McMahon Continue Offensive Production

Brenton Doyle and Ryan McMahon batted 1-for-3 with a run scored. Doyle is now slashing .361/.410/.389 (13-for-36) with a double, five RBI, and seven runs scored. McMahon is slashing .343/.410/.514 (12-for-35) with a double, a triple, a homer, four RBI, and eight runs scored.

When asked what he attributes the success to, McMahon said, “Mainly trying to work on shortening my stroke. Obviously, the stats don’t matter, so I’m taking it day by day, but it’s good to see some results. It’s good to feel it multiple days. I’m feeling good, feeling right for the season. Excited to get out of here soon.”

Black said of Doyle, “He’s in a good spot. The work he did this winter was set up by some long conversations this past September, when he was with us, with the hitting coaches. He carried that over into his offseason, and it’s carried over into spring training. Some adjustments had to be made, and he made them, so good for him.”

(Mostly) Scoreless Relief

Matt Koch, John Curtiss, Evan Justice, and Jake Bird each made scoreless relief appearances. Koch tossed a third of an inning, while each of the other three pitched a full inning.

What Went Wrong for the Rockies

One Bad Inning

Anthony Molina struggled in his relief appearance, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits. He has allowed at least one earned run in four of his seven relief appearances this spring.


“He’s a pretty superb catcher. Well above-average defensive catcher. Calls a great game. I thought that pretty much every pitch call today was the right call. The only time I shook (him off) was because I just needed to work on the splitter or whatever we were gonna throw. In a lot of ways, sometimes it’s the catcher catching onto you versus you learning to pitch to that catcher. And I think both he and (Elias) Diaz have caught on real quick about what I’m trying to accomplish.” — Cal Quantrill on new Rockies catcher Jacob Stallings, who caught Quantrill on Sunday

“Our entire infield is special, and that’s not even counting our multiple Gold Glovers in the outfield. I think that’s probably one of the reasons I got brought in. Throw strikes and let our guys do what they’re capable of.” — Quantrill on the Rockies’ defense

“That’s always been my career. We always want to wow everybody. Throw 100, punch everybody out. But I know for me that if you look up and it’s the sixth or seventh inning and I’m still pitching, I’ll continue to get jobs. I think that that’s my goal, and I think that’s what this team needs. I’m gonna try and eat innings all day long.” — Quantrill on how not being a strikeout pitcher could help him go deeper into games

Looking Ahead

The Rockies are off Monday, while the Giants will head to Goodyear for an evening soiree with the Cincinnati Reds. Giants left-hander Kyle Harrison will face Reds righty Frankie Montas. First pitch will be at 6:05 pm Arizona Time. The Rockies, on Tuesday, will be split up. Their home game will be against the Cleveland Guardians, with right-hander Dakota Hudson taking the mound against a yet-to-be-determined Guardians hurler. For their road game against the Seattle Mariners, Rockies lefty Austin Gomber will face a yet-to-be-determined Mariners starter. First pitch for the two split-squad games will be at 1:10 pm Arizona Time/2:10 pm Mountain Daylight Time.

Main Photo Credits:

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Mar. 17) — Charlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies awaits a pitch from San Francisco Giants right-hander Logan Webb (not pictured) in the top of the first inning of their Cactus League game at Scottsdale Stadium. (Evan Thompson/Sport Relay)

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Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan M. Thompson, Editor-in-chief

Evan is the owner and sole contributor of Thompson Talks, a website discussing the Big Four North American Pro Sports as well as soccer. He also is a credentialed member of the Colorado Rockies press corps. His first and biggest love is baseball.

Evan lives in Gilbert, Arizona and loves history, especially of sports. He is the treasurer for the Hemond Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and also is a USSF and AIA soccer referee. He released his first book, Volume I of A Complete History of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, in October of 2021.

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