After a first half of the game that saw the high adrenaline affect the play on the field, the San Francisco Giants looked like just like the team of professional hitters that cranked out 12 runs in the season opener. With no runs on three hits heading into the fifth, the Giants erupted for three in the fifth, four in the sixth, and five runs in the eighth (including a grand slam off the bat of Hunter Pence). Giants win 12-6.
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The Giants had a lethargic way about them in the first couple of innings. It looked as though the team was not going to wake up from the early ceremonies of the day. It is difficult to do. The home opener is important, it’s emotional. But after seeing the Los Angeles Dodgers go up to the plate and consistently line first-pitch fastballs to the different parts of the outfield, the Giants didn’t try to conserve any more energy for the next game.
Each at bat became more important when the fifth started. The team was down four to nothing and very few swings looked comfortable. But after Alex Wood (0-1) wobbled a little, the Giants looked like Rocky Balboa after he cut Ivan Drago. They used the entire field, and stopped looking for a pitch and rather a part of the zone to focus on. The team was spurred on by the raucous sellout crowd and it seemed after the fifth, that the tides had shifted.
A two-out triple in the by Joe Panik was the key to getting the mood in the clubhouse on the positive side. It was 4-1 after an RBI ground out by Denard Span. But Panik, who ended the day 3-5 with 3 RBI’s and 3 runs scored, drove in Kelby Tomlinson before Buster Posey doubled him home. Posey was also 3-5 and drove in two.
In the sixth, singles became contagious. After Matt Duffy opened the inning with a hit, Brandon Crawford singled as well. Then after a beautiful sacrifice by Ehire Adrianza, Angel Pagan singled score two and take a 5-4 lead. Then after an attempted bunt by Span was fielded cleanly by Dodgers pitcher Yimi Garcia, Panik and Posey followed with run-scoring singles of their own.
And then there was Pence. His only hit of the day was with the bases loaded and it left the yard in left-center field.
Jake Peavy held serve in this one. Again giving the team a chance to hand the ball to the bullpen, which has an extra body for situations just like this. Chris Heston (1-0) settled things down with a clean sixth, while Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo both gave up a single run in their one inning each. Both of those runs scored on a Joc Peterson home run in the top of the eighth. Hunter Strickland pitched the ninth, allowing just a hit and striking out one.
It was also another quality day at the plate for Pagan. He went 2-4, scoring twice and driving in two. Both Tomlinson and Gregor Blanco had pinch hits in key moments, and are showing their value early. There is a lot of flexibility on this roster, and those bench guys are not easy outs.
The win was a great ending to a beautiful day at McCovey Cove, and it makes for a fun series with the rival Dodgers (who came in with and then extended their scoreless streak to three and a half games).
Tomorrow: The Giants will come back from this emotional win to face the young righty Ross Stripling. Matt Cain will be on the mound for the home team. As Peavy did today, Cain only needs to keep it within reach.