Image credit: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Opening Day in Arizona

By Alexandra Smith

Opening day feels like the first day of the school year, back when you got excited about school — sixth grade was the last year I liked. Everyone is wide-eyed, eager and excited. Last season’s grudges have loosened, the pain from most injuries seems to have eased, and when you’ve won the World Series three times within the past six years, your team definitely feels like the big kid on campus. Fans have renewed their vows. Players come back into your life, like friends you missed over the break. Sure, some start out on the DL (Hunter Pence is human, after all), but others come back just the way you remember them. With the first crack of the bat, the hype and hope and hunger all floods back — baseball season begins.

Opening day proved a solid start for the Giants’ 2015 season. Their post-season behemoth of a hero, Madison Bumgarner, took on the mound; Angel Pagan was in the line-up, after being missed at the end of last season. Most of the post-season heroes were present — not all: Sandoval moved to the Red Sox, Morse is with the Marlins, and Pence is on the DL — and like any new season start, there were a few shiny new acquisitions sprinkled in. Nori Aoki, who was crucial to the Kansas City Royals in the post-season, led off the lineup, followed by Panik, Pagan, Posey, Belt, the ex-Marlin and native Californian Casey McGehee, Crawford, Blanco, and free-swingin (both bat and axe) Bumgarner.

GAME SUMMARY

Giants @ Diamondbacks

Opening Day, Monday April 6, 2015

The Giants scored first, in the third: Panik doubles, and Aoki, trying to score from first, is caught in a run-down between third and home. Panik makes it to third when the run-down ends toward home plate. Pagan singles him home.

In the bottom of the third, Inciarte singles to first. Trumbo hit a massive bomb to the center field wall, which barely stays in the park. Ruled as a triple, Inciarte scores, and the game is tied until the fifth.

In the fifth the Giants put up four runs: Aoki singles, Panik singles, Pagan doubles; Aoki scores and Panik advances to third. Posey plates Panik with a sac fly. Brandon Belt grounds out next, but moves Pagan to third. McGehee walks and Josh Collmentor, Arizona’s starting pitcher, is out. In comes reliever Andrew Chafin. Crawford, the first Giant to face Chafin, singles on a liner to Trumbo, who mishandles the ball and Pagan and McGehee score. Blanco ends the inning with a bunt pop-up, which is caught. Giants are up 5–1.

Bumgarner stays in until the end of the seventh, and the bullpen takes over in the eighth.

Relief pitcher Javier Lopez faces lefty, Ender Inciarte, who singles. Javi gets taken out, and Jean Machi steps up. Machi throws a wild pitch and Inciarte steals second. Goldschmidt walks. Machi gets Trumbo to pop out for the first out, but Aaron Hill singles and the Diamondbacks have bases loaded. Machi is taken out and Romo takes the mound. Romo faces Jake Lamb, whom he has never faced before; Lamb crushes a base-clearing double to center — three Diamondbacks score: Inciarte, Goldschmidt, and Hill. Romo strikes out the next batter, Tuffy Gosewich, then walks Cliff Pennington. Closing pitcher Jeremy Affeldt steps in and gets Peralta to strike out swinging, closing out the seventh. Phew.

Final score: Giants 5, Diamondbacks 4

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