SAN FRANCISCO – Great starting pitching, power to all fields, suspect defense and baserunning, some up-and-down performances by the bullpen, and a player brought in on a boat.
The Giants experienced it all Friday on a picturesque Opening Day at Oracle Park.
Finally, after coughing up a two-run lead in the ninth inning, the Giants closed out the Miami Marlins in the 10th in dramatic fashion, as Austin Slater doubled down the left-field line to score Darin Ruf from first base and give San Francisco a 6-5 win.
It was Slater’s first career walk-off hit and the Giants’ first walk-off victory on Opening Day since 1987 at Candlestick Park against the San Diego Padres
The Giants hit three home runs — including Thairo Estrada’s game-tying blast in the ninth inning after Camilo Doval blew the save in the top half. They also committed two errors, and Mauricio Dubón’s baserunning blunder earlier in the 10th — getting picked off at second base — could have been costly.
AUSTIN BRINGS THE WOOF DOWN pic.twitter.com/Q5q0wiUauJ
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) April 9, 2022
Through it all, though, the Giants still picked up their first Opening Day win since 2018, beginning the defense of their 2021 National League West title on a positive note.
“I don’t think we played our best baseball game today,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “There are a couple of moments that we would like to have back, and at the same time I thought we had a couple of guys step up in some pretty big situations.”
Prior to the dramatic ninth inning, Giants starting pitcher Logan Webb didn’t allow a run in six innings and battery mate Joey Bart hit his first career home run.
“It was cool. (Bart) did so well out there today. I’m so excited for him,” said Webb, who threw 85 pitches, allowed just five hits, and struck out three.
“I kind of grabbed him before the game and I’m like, ‘Hey, let’s do something special.’ He’s a special guy and a special player.”
Bart hit a 414-foot home run in the fifth inning into the sun-splashed bleachers in left field off Marlins starter Sandy Alcantara to give the Giants a 3-0 lead. Brandon Belt also homered, as his shot to right in the eighth inning traveled 376 feet and gave San Francisco a 4-2 lead.
Kapler said Friday morning that Webb was on a pitch count, although he didn’t mention a specific number. With an abbreviated spring training, MLB clubs were not able to fully stretch out their starting rotations – something that will take a bit more time.
Webb is 11-0 over 23 starts for the Giants since he lost May 5, 2021, at Colorado.
“Logan owned the mound like he did for four months last year,” Kapler said.
In captain-like fashion, Belt had the Giants’ first hit of the season. His shift-beating bunt in the third inning resulted in an error by Marlins shortstop Miguel Rojas, whose throw wound up in foul territory behind first base.
That allowed Bart to score from first base for a 1-0 Giants lead. With Belt on second base, Ruf then singled to right to put San Francisco up 2-0.
Belt made an unforgettable entrance to Oracle Park – one only a self-proclaimed captain can make – as part of the Giants’ elaborate Opening Day festivities.
Wearing a captain’s hat and a taped “C” on his jersey befitting of his status, Belt, roughly 10 minutes before the first pitch, entered the park from left field on a boat that was being towed by a truck.
Belt threw baseballs into the crowd and saluted his teammates once he arrived at the dugout. He then threw out the first pitch to Kapler before Webb took the mound and took over the game.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism