DENVER (AP) – No win for the ages. Or, for that matter, the aged.
At 49, Jamie Moyer failed in his second attempt to become the oldest pitcher to win a major league game when Madison Bumgarner took a no-hit bid into the sixth and scattered four hits over 7 1-3 innings in the San Francisco Giants’ 4-2 win over the Colorado Rockies on Thursday.
Moyer’s shot at history was thwarted not only by Bumgarner, another crafty left-hander who in many ways is a younger version of Moyer, but also by teammate Dexter Fowler, whose sixth-inning error on a routine fly ball to center led to two unearned runs.
The Rockies made two errors behind Moyer, who relies on his defense and on fooling hitters, not blowing fastballs past them.
“Yeah, that’s what he does,” teammate Jason Giambi said. “He gets guys to put the ball in play and you’ve got to make outs. And you can’t make those little mistakes, because he’s not a strikeout pitcher. You can’t keep asking him to throw more and more pitches.”
Moyer (0-2) surrendered four runs, two earned, and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings. He walked one, struck out three and hit a batter before leaving to a standing ovation in the sixth.
“He’s done an outstanding job,” Giambi said. “You can’t ask more from the two starts he’s made for us. It’s just unfortunately we’ve made a mistake here or there or not come up with the big hit to get him over the top and come up with that first W.”
The 22-year-old Bumgarner (1-1), who wasn’t even born when Moyer made his major league debut in 1986, stifled a Rockies lineup that had produced 17 runs and 22 hits the night before. He walked two and struck out two.
Brian Wilson converted his first save opportunity of the season, but he needed 32 pitches to get the final three outs. The Rockies loaded the bases with one out when pinch hitter Todd Helton lined out to second baseman Emmanuel Burriss. Tyler Colin, who broke up Bumgarner’s no-hitter in the sixth, drew a walk to make it 4-2, before Marco Scutaro flied out to right.
Colvin’s sinking line drive went under the glove of diving left fielder Melky Cabrera for a one-out triple in the sixth. He scored on Fowler’s single to make it 4-1.
The age difference between the starting pitchers – 26 years and 256 days – was the largest since Satchel Paige faced Bill Monbouquette in 1965, and the third-largest since 1900, according to STATS LLC.
“It was pretty cool getting to throw against him,” Bumgarner said. “I can see why he’s still successful. He’s tough to hit.”
Moyer became the oldest pitcher to make multiple starts in a season, but what he really wants is to get that first win since 2010 with Philadelphia. He missed all of last season following ligament-replacement surgery on his left elbow.
“I threw way too many pitches early in the game,” Moyer said. “I made a lot of good pitches when I needed to.”
Part of the reason for Moyer’s high pitch count of 112 was that he had to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the first after third baseman Chris Nelson made a throwing error on the game’s first batter.
“Jamie gave us a chance to win,” shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said. “Couple of errors. Not great defense.”
Or offense, for that matter.
“It’s funny and it’s baseball,” Tulowitzki said. “Probably not too many people expected the offensive outburst yesterday with (Tim) Lincecum pitching and then today everybody’s probably thinking well, they hit Lincecum well and Bumgarner, they’re probably going to do the same. And baseball doesn’t work like that. Bumgarner had good stuff. I give them credit. It’s just too bad that we dropped the game.”
And that Fowler dropped Ryan Theriot’s fly ball to center leading off the fourth.
The two-base error led to two unearned runs. Angel Pagan drove in Theriot with a single and scored on Cabrera’s double, making it 4-0 and chasing Moyer, who tipped his cap to the crowd of 25,860 as he left.
“When you have easy outs to take, you have to take them,” Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. “Asking Jamie Moyer to get four outs in an inning … it’s going to cost you.”
“During the course of the season, we’ll probably see a dozen catches that he’ll make that will save runs and save games,” Tracy added. “He made a mistake. Obviously, it was a fairly costly mistake. But we move on.”
Moyer sure has.
“I focus on what I need to do and I feel as long as my teammates are giving the best effort, I really can’t complain. And I feel like they’re giving a great effort,” Moyer said.
The oldest pitcher ever to win a game in the majors was Jack Quinn of the Brooklyn Dodgers on Sept. 13, 1932, when he was 49 years, 70 days old. Moyer was 49 years, 146 days old on Thursday.
Aside from the two unearned runs he surrendered, Moyer gave up Brett Pill’s bloop RBI single in the third and Cabrera’s seeing-eye single up the middle in the fourth.
“It’s incredible when you’re looking out there and seeing a 49-year-old man competing in the big leagues,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who played against Moyer in the 1980s. “When they’re taking the field, he’s the first one on the mound, waiting for the catcher. He’s the first one. He just keeps going.
“He pitched well. We had a couple of breaks with some cheap hits there, but you take them.”
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.)