Rockies' Chatwood back as starter against Giants

DENVER -- The Colorado Rockies created another option at shortstop and a way to beef up their offense when Ian Desmond returned to the position Monday.

After the Rockies beat the San Francisco Giants 4-3 on Carlos Gonzalez's walk-off walk with two outs in the ninth inning Monday, Rockies manager Bud Black was asked if Desmond would start at shortstop Tuesday when Colorado's Tyler Chatwood (6-12, 5.00 ERA) starts against Giants left-hander Ty Blach (8-11, 4.68).

"Against the lefty?" Black said. "Probably not. I think Trev's going to play short tomorrow."

That is Trevor Story, who took over at the position in the sixth inning Monday when Desmond moved to first base as part of a pitching change. Story struck out on his two at-bats, raising his National League-leading strikeout total to 164 to go along with a .225 average, 18 homers and 63 RBI.

The start at shortstop was Desmond's first since Oct. 4, 2015, while with the Washington Nationals. Desmond played shortstop, which is his natural position, for half of his third and final rehab game with Triple-A Albuquerque on Aug. 27 when he was recovering from a right calf strain.

Black got a favorable report from Albuquerque manager Glenallen Hill on Desmond's shortstop play, and before the Monday game said he decided to put him there in search of offensive production for a team that has had trouble scoring runs.

Desmond, who went 1-for-4, fielded three ground balls, all in the fourth inning. On the second one, hit by Pablo Sandoval, Desmond ranged to the left of second base for the ball.

"It was good to go back," Desmond said. "I guess I didn't know I missed it as much as I did."

The Giants are 0-8 this year at Coors Field and have dropped nine consecutive games in Denver since their last victory there Sept. 6, 2016.

Chatwood is expected to throw about 60 pitches in his first start since Aug. 2 and his third start since the All-Star break. He is 6-12 with a 5.16 ERA in 20 starts and 0-0 with one save and a 3.38 ERA in seven relief appearances this season. Chatwood's past six outings came in relief.

He is 2-6 with a 6.59 ERA in 13 appearances this season at Coors Field, including 2-6 with a 6.93 ERA in nine starts. In three starts against the Giants this year, Chatwood is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA, including a complete-game two-hit shutout April 15 at San Francisco. In 14 career starts against the Giants, Chatwood is 7-3, 2.82.

Blach is a Denver native, and he made his major league debut at Coors Field on Sept. 5, 2016. He took his fourth consecutive loss Wednesday at San Diego when he gave up three runs on five hits, including two homers, in 5 2/3 innings in the Giants' 5-0 defeat.

In his past four starts, Blach is 0-4 with a 7.77 ERA and has allowed six homers in 22 innings with nine walks and seven strikeouts. During that stretch, opponents are hitting .315 (28-for-89) against Blach, who is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA against the Rockies this season in five games (two starts).

Giants third baseman Sandoval went hitless in four at-bats Monday, all ground-ball outs, and is in an 0-for-33 slump. It is the longest hitless streak by a Giants player since Johnnie LeMaster went 0-for-37 in 1984. In 27 games with the Giants, Sandoval is hitting .196 with one homer and four RBI since he returned to San Francisco after a disastrous stay with Boston.

His stint with the Red Sox ended when he was released July 19 with Boston owing Sandoval about $49 million through 2019. The Giants can pay him the minimum salary the next two years, which seems unlikely as they try to find a solution at third base.

"He's had some success here (at Coors Field) and against their pitcher (Chad Bettis)," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said pregame Monday. "We're trying to finish strong and give Pablo a good look here. ... We're trying to get him going. We just gave Pablo a day off not too long ago."
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