San Francisco Giants Sunday game wrap: D-Backs spoil Bumgarner’s big 2-HR Opening Day with 9th inn comeback 6-5

April 2, 2017

MLB, San Francisco Giants

Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chris Owings (16) celebrates his walk-off single against the San Francisco Giants with David Peralta, left, and Daniel Descalso (3) in an opening day baseball game Sunday, April 2, 2017, in Phoenix. The Diamondbacks defeated the Giants 6-5. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

By DANIEL DULLUM
Sports Radio Service
Sunday, April 2, 2017

PHOENIX, Ariz. – The roof was open at Chase Field for the Opening Day matinee Sunday, and maybe it was all that sunshine that agreed with Madison Bumgarner.

The Giants’ starter hit his 15th and 16th career home runs, helping his own cause. In the end, though, it wasn’t quite enough.

“I was hoping his spot would come up again so he’d get one more at-bat so he could go for three,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s a big day when your pitcher hits two homers and pitches the way he did. That’s what makes it tough to not come away with a win.

“You have to give the other team credit sometimes. They certainly came back on us.”

Chris Owing’s RBI single with two out in the bottom of the ninth off new Giants closer Mark Melancon gave an announced sellout crowd of 49,016 something to cheer about, as the Diamondbacks edged San Francisco 6-5.

“I’m really proud of how we battled,” Pollock, who was 3-for-5 with a two-run homer, said. “Bumgarner was throwing perfect-game stuff – it was as good as he’s ever looked. For us to scratch and claw…Nick getting that pinch hit; we got a lot of clutch hits. It was awesome.”

With two out in the Arizona ninth, Melancon (0-1) failed to nail down the elusive third out for a possible first save as a Giant. Jeff Mathis doubled, was replaced by pinch-runner Jeremy Hazelbaker, and pinch-hitter Daniel Descalso delivered an RBI double, scoring Hazelbaker. Pollock followed with a single to center, moving Descalso to third.

After Pollock took second on defensive indifference, Owings singled to right, driving in Descalso with the game-winning run.

Pollock said it was also good to get Torey Lovullo his first major league managerial win.

“It was awesome for him, and I’m sure it’s something he’ll remember for a while,” Pollock said.

Bumgarner, 2-for-2 with a walk, became the first pitcher ever to homer twice on Opening Day, and the first Giant to hit two home runs in a season opener since Barry Bonds did it in 2002, according to the Giants Media Department. He threw seven innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits while fanning 11 with no walks.

“His stuff was really good,” Bochy said. “Breaking ball, everything. To throw like that on Opening Day was quite impressive.”

“I felt good, it was the best I’ve felt in a long time,” Bumgarner said. “Obviously, I’d like to come away with a win, but that’s how this game works sometimes.

“I think it was a pretty well played ballgame and unfortunately we came out on the losing side today.”

Bochy originally had Bumgarner penciled in the 8-slot on the San Francisco batting order, but changed his mind and had his ace right-hander hit in the usual No. 9 spot for pitchers.

Bumgarner led off the fifth with his first home run of the season, a line drive to left-center off Arizona starter Zach Grienke that put the Giants up 2-0. With one out in the seventh, Bumgarner went yard again, breaking a 3-3 tie with a drive to left-center that D-Backs leftfielder Yasmany Tomãs not only didn’t chase, he didn’t move or turn around to watch.

“I try to be pretty level-headed and keep things on an even keel,” Bumgarner said. “It’s obviously something pretty special to have a chance to have that to happen, but my job out there is on the mound – that’s where my main concern is at.

“Sometimes a pitcher’s bat can determine the outcome of a game, and we certainly had that today. But (the two homers) is something you look back on when you’re done playing. Right now, I’m not really concerned about it that much.”

In turn, Arizona used the long ball to tie the game at 3-3 against Bumgarner in the bottom of the sixth. Jeff Mathis tripled with one out and scored on pinch-hitter Nick Ahmed’s base hit. A.J. Pollock homered to left, driving in Ahmed.

“Bum wasn’t tiring,” Bochy said. “He felt fine, went right back out and threw a nice inning.

“These guys are human, you know. We forget that sometimes. They’re going to give up some runs occasionally.”

The Diamondbacks offered a rude welcome to Giants reliever Derek Law and re-tied the game at 4-4 on Paul Goldschmidt’s RBI single. After A.J. Pollock and Chris Owing hit back-to-back singles, Goldschmidt hit a slow bouncer to left that eluded the reach of Brandon Crawford and Eduardo Nuñez, driving in Pollock.

Joe Panik greeted D-Backs reliever Fernando Rodney (1-0) with a ninth-inning triple to left, then scoring on pinch-hitter Conor Gillaspie’s sacrifice fly to center.

Things didn’t improve for Rodney, who proceeded to give up a single to Denard Span and issue walks to Brandon Belt and Hunter Pence to load the bases. But he got Buster Posey to pop out to shallow right and Crawford to chop a ball in front of the plate that was snagged by catcher Mathis, who, after a brief delay of confusion, tapped the plate for a force play to end the inning.

“We thought that was foul,” Bochy said. “It was hard to tell from where I was, but Crawford certainly thought it was foul. It was one of those balls where the catcher grabbed it fast and (the umpires) didn’t get a good look at it.”

Rodney, the sixth Diamondbacks pitcher, wound up with the win despite giving up one earned run, walking two and throwing two wild pitches. Zach Grienke, Arizona’s starter, threw 98 pitches in five innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits while striking out four and issuing two walks.

San Francisco took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Nuñez led off with a single, stole second, moved to third on a groundout and scored on Joe Panik’s sacrifice fly to center.

The Giants got their third run in the sixth when Crawford doubled with one out and scored on a Nuñez single.

Due to a scheduling quirk, the Giants and D-Backs take Monday off before resuming the season-opening series on Tuesday.

“I’d rather not take a day off,” Bochy said.

GIANT JOTTINGS: The passing of former MLB executive Katy Feeney was announced during the game. Feeney served in a variety of positions with the National League, including assistant director of public relations, senior vice president of club relations, and MLB scheduling. Her father was former Giants and NL president Charles “Chub” Feeney, and was the grand-niece of former Giants owner Horace Stoneham. … There were two replay challenges. In the top of the sixth, Arizona challenged a tag play on Eduardo Nuñez that was reversed (2 minutes). In the top of the seventh, the Giants challenged a tag play involving Denard Span that was upheld (1:30). … D-Backs C Jeff Mathis became the first Arizona catcher to collect three hits on opening day since Miguel Montero did it against Colorado in 2011. … Madison Bumgarner is the third Giants pitcher to homer on Opening Day, joining Johnny Antonelli (April 17, 1956) and Larry Benton (April 18, 1929) from the team’s New York days. … Bumgarner’s 11 strikeouts are a Giants Opening Day record, eclipsing Juan Marichal’s 10 in 1962 against the Milwaukee Braves. He’s also the first pitcher to hit two-plus homers and record 10-plus strikeouts in a game since Rick Wise of Philadelphia did it on Aug. 28, 1971.

TAGS: San Francisco Giants,Madison Bumgarner,Arizona Diamondbacks,Opening Day,Sports Radio Service,Daniel Dullum

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