It didn’t take long for torture to make its way into the 2014 season for the Giants. But oh, how sweet it is.
Madison Bumgarner lasted just four innings, the defense behind him was atrocious, but despite all of that, San Francisco never stopped fighting and came from behind to beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-8 on Opening Day.
Diamondbacks starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy opened the game by striking out the side in the top of the first, and the Giants offense never quite looked comfortable against him. They managed to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the third after Brandon Crawford led off the inning with a single, moved to second on a bunt from Bumgarner, and came home on an Angel Pagan single.
But that lead wouldn’t last long. Mark Trumbo and Miguel Montero both reached to lead off the bottom of the fourth on errors by Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval. Chris Owings singled to load the bases, and Gerardo Parra singled in two runs to give Arizona a 2-1 lead. Two batters later, Aaron Hill doubled in two more runs to make it 4-1.
The Giants got one run back in the fifth with Michael Morse led off with a walk, moved to third on a Crawford double, and scored on a ground-out by pinch-hitter Gregor Blanco, but the Diamondbacks extended the lead once again in the next inning against Yusmeiro Petit.
Prado led off with a double, and scored on a single by Trumbo. Singles by Montero and Owings loaded the bases, and Parra hit an infield dribbler that allowed Trumbo to score and the bases to stay juiced.
Petit got out of the jam (this time), but Arizona added another run in the sixth on yet another defensive miscue from the Giants. Paul Goldschmidt led off the inning with a single. With one out, he got caught in a run-down, but Belt failed to throw into second base and Goldschmidt was safe. Trumbo then singled home Goldschmidt, making San Francisco pay for their mistakes.
Despite the ugly defensive play, the Giants offense battled back to make a game of it. Belt led off the top of the sixth with the Giants first home run of the year, a solo shot to right to close the gap, and the bats really came alive in the seventh.
Morse singled to lead off the inning and Arias reached on a fielder’s choice. With two out, Ehire Adrianza doubled home Arias, and Pagan doubled in Adrianza. Belt singled to keep the inning alive, and Sandoval collected his first hit and RBI of the season, making it 7-6 Diamondbacks. A Buster Posey single loaded the bases, and the Reverend Hunter Pence took a bases-loaded walk to tie the game at seven.
Javier Lopez and Jean Machi combined to throw scoreless seventh and eighth innings, allowing just two hits, no walks, and striking out three, while setting up for ninth-inning heroics.
With one out, Belt collected his third hit of the night – a single to center – and two batters later, 2012 MVP Posey crushed a two-run homer into the left-field stands, miraculously giving the Giants a 9-7 lead.
Some shaky defense almost cost San Francisco the game in the bottom of the ninth. Sergio Romo gave up a lead-off home run to Montero. Sandoval then misplayed a bunt off the bat of Owings, putting a runner on first with no outs. But Romo battled back, got the next three outs, and collected his first save of this 2014 season.
The Giants will look to get another win – albeit less laboriously – Tuesday night at 6:40 down in Phoenix.