DENVER -- In a long, trying season, the Giants avoided what would have been the horrible indignity of being held hitless on Wednesday night at Coors Field.
Rockies right-hander Jhoulys Chacin had done that for 6 2/3 innings before Brandon Crawford lined a single to center in the rubber game of the series in which the Giants rallied late after Chacin left but lost, 5-4.
Madison Bumgarner's hard-luck saga continued as he fell to 11-9 overall with a 2.91 ERA. In his past eight starts, seven of which the Giants have lost, Bumgarner is 1-3 with a 2.63 ERA.
After Crawford's hit, Roger Kieschnick fouled out to left fielder Charlie Culberson, the only out Chacin allowed on a ball hit to the outfield and the final out in his season-high 108-pitch outing. He matched his season high with nine strikeouts.
"His slider was obviously pretty good tonight," said Crawford, who made a costly error at shortstop when his missed catch prevented a potential inning-ending double play in the Rockies' four-run sixth inning. "He was keeping us off balance with that. I feel like a lot of our guys were putting good at-bats together. They just weren't getting hits."
Hideo Nomo of the Dodgers threw the only no-hitter in Coors Field history on Sept. 17, 1996. Since then, the longest a pitcher has gone at Coors Field without giving up a hit was 7 1/3 innings by the Giants' Matt Cain on Sept. 26, 2010. Chacin's effort was the longest a Rockies pitcher has gone before allowing a hit at the ballpark, surpassing John Thomson's 6 1/3 hitless innings on May 2, 2002.
There was some question whether Chacin would even make his start. He had a 100.8 degree fever and a headache Tuesday night.
"I was really bad," Chacin said. "I told them if I felt the same today I couldn't pitch. I couldn't even do the chart yesterday. They gave me pills to make feel better. This morning I woke up, I called them to say I feel better. I always want to pitch so it would have to be really bad for me not to pitch."
Chacin gave up an unearned run in the fourth inning when shortstop Troy Tulowitzki made an error to put runners on first and third with no outs, and Hunter Pence grounded into a run-scoring double play.
After Chacin left, the Giants showed some life with consecutive one-out singles off Wilton Lopez in the eighth. Josh Outman came on to face Belt and gave up an RBI ground-rule double. Matt Belisle relieved Outman and gave up a run-scoring groundout to Buster Posey that moved Belt to third, and he scored when Pence rifled a single to left. Belisle got Pablo Sandoval to ground out to end the inning.
"The boys battled hard to get back in it and had the winning run up there," manager Bruce Bochy said. "But that one inning, it just got ugly."
That was the sixth, when DJ LeMahieu led off with a single. He broke on a 3-2 pitch from Bumgarner that Bochy, after seeing the replay, thought was a strike. Catcher Posey's throw reached second ahead of LeMahieu, but instead of a strikeout-caught stealing, the pitch to Tulowitzki was ruled ball four.
Wilin Rosario flared a run-scoring single that finished Bumgarner, who entering the sixth had retired 12 of 13 batters after Nolan Arenado's RBI double in the second and seven straight before LeMahieu's leadoff single.
Jean Machi came on and got Arenado to hit a potential double-play bouncer back to him. Crawford, moving to his left toward the base, reached back for Machi's throw but missed it to load the bases.
Machi threw three straight balls to Yorvit Torrealba before he drove a 3-1 pitch into the Giants bullpen on a bounce for a two-run, ground-rule double. Chacin grounded into a run-scoring fielder's choice to complete the scoring in the inning.
"Our defense got us that one inning, and Machi got behind and laid one in there," Bochy said. "You have to like the way they did come back. I thought we were going to pull it out, just came up short."
The Giants had an early chance thanks to Rosario's troubles at first base. Making his fourth career start at that position and third this year, Rosario, the Rockies regular catcher, made a nice catch on Posey's foul popup in the second. But Rosario muffed consecutive grounders to open the third, yet Chacin escaped thanks to second baseman LeMahieu.
After Bumgarner popped up a sacrifice attempt and Blanco struck out, LeMahieu robbed Marco Scutaro of a hit, snaring his grounder with a diving stop to to his left on the outfield grass.
Until Crawford broke up Chacin's no-hit bid in the seventh, LeMahieu's play loomed as one that might help Chacin make history. Ultimately, it was still an important play in what became the Giants' 21st one-run loss overall and 14th on the road this season.
Jack Etkin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.