DENVER -- There's no crisis of confidence for Ryan Vogelsong, even after his latest rough outing, Monday night's 6-5 loss to the Colorado Rockies.
"I'm fine -- I'm a battler," he said. "Look what I've been through. A couple of bad starts in a span of six isn't going to get me down. I've been through way too much in this game to let six not-good starts keep me from being where I want to be with this team."
A month ago, Vogelsong was where he has always wanted to be during a long, winding career. He was the ace of the staff, a bona fide Cy Young Award candidate. Now, Vogelsong is searching for answers, along with those around him.
Vogelsong, manager Bruce Bochy and catcher Buster Posey all said that the right-hander's stuff is fine, and Vogelsong maintains that he's not hurt. Nobody, however, has a solid answer for why a pitcher with a 2.27 ERA through his first 21 starts has a 9.57 ERA in his last six appearances.
"It's tough to say because his stuff is definitely there," Posey said. "I don't know -- I'm kind of at a loss. The stuff is there and the velocity is there. He's throwing the ball as well as ever, I feel like."
Vogelsong felt he was "just missing location," and it cost him dearly, especially early in Monday's game at Coors Field.
The Rockies had three hits in the first inning while taking a 2-0 lead. Hunter Pence homered in the top of the second, but Vogelsong gave the run back in the bottom of the inning and
Posey wanted the two-strike fastball down at the knees, but Vogelsong left it up at the letters.
"A few times, he had two-seam fastballs that stayed true or had a little cut back over the plate, and that was one of them," Posey said.
Vogelsong gave up another run in the fourth and was charged with six hits and four earned runs in five innings. Vogelsong gave up four-or-more runs just three times in his first 24 starts but has done so in each of his past three outings.
It might be hard to pinpoint the root of his problems, but Vogelsong didn't have any trouble figuring out what he has to do next.
"Stop being bad," he said. "I'm costing us games right now, and I'm not real happy about it. It's like I fix one thing, and the other thing goes haywire. I've got to get back in the middle of the road."
Vogelsong did feel good about his final two innings, saying he could build off them. But the Giants were never able to claw their way all the way back against the Rockies, in large part because of a costly error by Pablo Sandoval.
The third baseman couldn't handle a two-out grounder in the sixth, and the Rockies went on to score two more runs and take a 6-2 lead.
Posey cut the deficit in half in the top of the seventh, hitting a two-out, two-run homer to right-center field. It was Posey's 21st homer of the season and 20th as a catcher, making him just the third player in the franchise's San Francisco era to hit 20 homers while playing behind the plate.
The Giants threatened in the eighth when Brandon Crawford drew a one-out walk and pinch-hitter Aubrey Huff followed with a single. Angel Pagan doubled home Crawford, but Marco Scutaro grounded out and Sandoval flied out to deep left to end the inning. In all, the Giants were 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
"We had our chances and didn't take advantage," Bochy said. "We couldn't cash in."
Sandoval was a big part of that. He went 0 for 5 and extended his home-run drought to 35 games, but Bochy said he has no plans to move Sandoval out of the No. 3 spot in the lineup.
"We've been going OK like this, and I don't know if it's the time to start changing things," Bochy said. "We're in a good position, and you want to keep some continuity. (Sandoval) had an off night, but you hopefully come back tomorrow with a little vengeance."
Bochy has the same hope for Vogelsong, who didn't get past the fifth innings for the fourth time in six starts.
"He's one of our guys, and he's going to be out there," Bochy said. "We have all the confidence in the world in him. I think Vogey is going to be just fine."