For the twelfth Opening Day out of the fifteen played at AT&T Park, the fans went home happy, as Brandon Belt hit a first inning home run, scoring Angel Pagan, and San Francisco Giants went on to dismantle the Arizona Diamondbacks, 7-3, as the D-backs dropped their fourth home opener of the young season.
Tim Hudson pitched eight strong innings of three-run ball and became the first Giants’ starting pitcher with two victories, as San Francisco continued its scorching start to the season, going to 6-2 with the win, all against National League West opponents. Michael Morse (7 hits in 20 at-bats coming into the game) had two more hits, knocking in two runs with the second one and Belt, with his homer in the first, now is tied with Mark Trumbo for the league lead with five. Pagan and Crawford each had two hits as well, as the Giants collected ten all together. This was Morse’s fifth consecutive game with at least one RBI.
Trevor Cahill (7.90), who pitched credibly in a 2-0 loss at Chase Field last week, gave up five runs on eight hits in three-plus innings, as the Giants continued to score early and often. Cahill departed in the fourth for Ryan Rowland-Smith (3.00 ERA, 3.0 IP), who pitched out of the fourth, before running into trouble in the fifth. Pence drew a two-out walk, and then when Mark Trumbo couldn’t handle Gregor Blanco’s high fly to the warning track, which bounced into the stands for a ground-rule double, Pence ended up at third. Crawford then came to the plate and lined a single into right, scoring both Pence and Blanco. In a close play at the plate, Blanco slid wide past Montero, who missed the tag, making the score 7-2. After Hicks was walked intentionally, Hudson struck out to end the inning.
Mark Trumbo, who led the league with home runs coming into the game (5) knocked in the D-backs’ first run with a ground ball, force out in the second inning. Then, in the top of the fourth, Paul Goldschmidt led off with a double, the third inning in four that the D-backs had gotten their leadoff batter on base, and Martin Prado followed with a single to right field, Goldschmidt stopping at third. Miguel Montero (.200) came up with no one out and runners at the corners, and though Hudson got ahead on the count 0-2, Montero still managed to hit it to center for a sacrifice fly, Goldschmidt scoring on the play. Mark Trumbo lofted a high fly ball to Morse in left for the second out, and Angel Pagan made a fine running knee-high catch on a liner by Chris Owings, to end the inning.
The D-backs scored once more in the eighth when Tony Campana led off with a triple off the wall in right and scored when Parra grounded out to Hicks. J. Putz closed out the final inning for the D-backs.
It was the sixth consecutive Opening Day victory at AT&T Park, and showed that the Giants’ bats are reacting favorably to the home field as well as the air in the drier climates in which they have played their first seven games. In a season resplendent with scorching bats, it’s also comforting to see Tim Hudson begin his career with the Giants with two quality start victories.
The goal was to get out the gate competitively against the National League West opponents, and the Giants have surpassed our expectations. The key is to not let up, especially when the Los Angeles Dodgers come into AT&T Park for the first time later in this home stand. We always rely on our pitching first and just enough offense to get the job done, but I’m good with the bats doing the talking too. Right now they’re clamoring for attention and getting plenty of it. It’s hard to ignore all of those beautiful two-out hits we are seeing, not to mention the home runs.