Photos: MLB Opening Day for the SF Giants and Oakland Athletics
Reporting by Ty Daubert
PHILADELPHIA — An impressive late-game push by the Oakland A’s lineup couldn’t make up for the struggles of their pitching staff on Opening Day.
The A’s rallied for a four-run seventh inning, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a shaky performance from starting pitcher Frankie Montas and the team’s bullpen as the Philadelphia Phillies held on for a 9-5 win in Friday afternoon’s season-opener at Citizens Bank Park.
After falling behind 5-0, the A’s scored their first run on a solo home run from cleanup man Chad Pinder in the fourth inning. The home run didn’t immediately threaten the Phillies, but a three-run homer from first baseman Seth Brown off Phillies starter Aaron Nola in the top of the seventh inning finally did.
After back-to-back hits from Sean Murphy and Pinder, Brown blasted his three-run homer to right-center off Nola, ending the right-hander’s day. Oakland tacked on another against reliever Jeurys Famila as free agent signee Stephen Vogt came around to score on an error, cutting the deficit to 6-5.
That was as close as the A’s would get, however, as their inexperienced bullpen failed to keep a revamped Phillies offense in check in the late innings.
“I think our guys, after the first few innings, they got into the game and they fought back,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “For me, they showed that fight to have a chance to get back in the game and have a chance to at least tie or go ahead there in the seventh. That shows some good signs.”
SAN FRANCISCO — For the first time since 2009, the shores of McCovey Cove were rocking on MLB’s Opening Day.
Well, depending on the time of day.
As Logan Webb fired his first pitch at 1:38 p.m., the crowd buzzed with excitement to witness the debut of the Giants’ latest homegrown battery, with Joey Bart on the receiving end. Moments earlier, fans roared for Brandon Belt, who cemented his status as “The Captain,” with a grand maritime entrance. And, as Darin Ruf raced home from first base to score the winning run in the afternoon shadows, they went into a frenzy.
Those highlights provided a stark contrast from the stunned silence that fell over the stadium in the top of the ninth inning.
The 40,853 in attendance on Friday may as well have been cardboard cutouts when Jazz Chisholm’s game-tying home run off Camilo Doval sailed over the left-field wall in the top of the ninth inning. Chisholm’s towering flyball forced the game to extras and set the stage for Austin Slater’s first career walk-off hit.
“Opening Day is a special day in baseball, and it becomes even more special when you have a lot of excitement for the fans,” manager Gabe Kapler said after the 6-5, extra-inning win, which lacked no shortage of excitement.