Angel Pagan

Giants home opener notes – Hudson makes fun of himself, Belt’s start “doesn’t suck,” what motivated Pagan

AT&T Park Opening Day 2014 American Flag Giants D-Backs

From the moment Batkid stepped out of his Batmobile, the home opener went just about perfectly for the San Francisco Giants. They once again beat up on the D-Backs, who the Giants probably don’t mind seeing plenty of these days.

This time the score was 7-3, marking the fifth time the Giants (6-2) have scored at least seven runs this season. The Giants scored seven-plus runs just six times last April, and actually lost two of those games. The Giants were in no danger of losing this one, thanks to their new innings-eater.

Tim Hudson is the only Giants starter to go seven innings, and now he’s done it twice. He gave up three runs (two earned) over eight efficient innings in his second start against the D-Backs (2-8), who now have the worst record in baseball.

“Hopefully this is something I can build off of. I came into Spring Training trying to get game-ready. I still feel like I’m not quite where I want to be yet,” Hudson said.

“I’ll take these first two starts. It was a fun outing. The guys really played some good baseball behind me. Hopefully it’ll keep getting better from here.”

The Giants started their latest run-scoring binge early. Angel Pagan drew a full-count walk to lead off the first, and Brandon Belt parked a 2-1 sinker from Trevor Cahill into the middle of the right-center portion of the arcade. Not many guys have the power to hit one out there, but Belt downplayed his latest homer when I asked him whether he has a new outlook on hitting at AT&T Park in light of his recent success.

“I think if you hit the ball hard, you’re going to get your hits. It’s a day game, ball’s going to carry a little bit more. Luckily I hit that during a day game, I guess,” said Belt, who explained what it’s like to hit five home runs in his first eight games.

“It doesn’t suck to start off the season pretty good.”

Pagan started the Giants’ next rally as well, doubling to lead off the third. Belt came through with a single, then Buster Posey drove in Pagan with another single two batters later. With Mike Morse at the plate, Hunter Pence stole second base to put two runners in scoring position. Morse knocked in both with an opposite-field single.

Morse let everyone know how fired up he was after the ball went through with a mighty fist-pump. For Hudson and Morse, this was a great chance to get the home crowd on their side from the start.

“There’s going to be a time when I go out there and get my butt handed to me. Hopefully they won’t turn on me if that happens. But that’s something I’ve noticed from afar. The fans here are awesome. They support their team, support their guys, win lose or draw,” Hudson said.

“It’s a tough game. There’s going to be times when you have a hard time. The support from our fans make those times a lot easier to get through.”

The Giants scored again in the fifth with a two-out rally. Pence walked, Morse hit a deep fly ball that Mark Trumbo misplayed into a ground rule double, then Brandon Crawford hit a two-strike fastball into right to score two more runs.

“We had two guys that really came through today, Morse and Crawford, with great two-strike, two-out at-bats there,” said Bruce Bochy.

It was a team win that included contributions from just about everybody. The new guys performed well in the spotlight, and the Giants picked up another division win while showing their fans that the powerful offense they saw on television throughout the season’s first week wasn’t a desert mirage.

Extra BASGs

— I might make this a regular segment after Hudson starts at home:

***Huddy makes fun of himself***

On why he said that he isn’t quite where he wants to be yet: “I’m just old,” he said while laughing. I’m old and I got a late start.”

These first two starts are just a product of luck and geographic location: “You go down somewhere in the south where it’s hot with a lot of humidity, I wouldn’t have gone eight innings, I’ll tell you that.”

Why he looked so mad after grounding into a force out to end the second: “I expected to hit a homer.” (He laughed after saying that, too.)

How he’s gone through two starts without walking anyone: “I guess guys are fighting to get to the bat rack to hit off of me. They’re ready to swing the bat.”

His response to the ovation he heard after the eighth inning: “It was exciting. I thought they were cheering a mid-inning song.”

— Batkid threw the first pitch before the game. For photos and video, click here.

— Santiago Casilla pitched a one-two-three ninth. Earlier today I posted a bunch of funny photos (to me, at least) of Casilla messing around with two Giants bullpen coaches.

— One last link: a personalized Giants jersey I saw today that was probably weed-related.

— Staying on the same subject, Belt mentioned how he shares a birthday (4/20) with Carmen Electra and the “holiday” that celebrates marijuana. I was pretty surprised at Belt’s comments — it was the first time I’ve heard anyone mention Electra’s name in at least a year or two.

— I asked Hudson — who noted how his first two starts came during nice days more than once — if the weather was one of the things that drew him to San Francisco. Then another reporter asked him if he talked to Barry Zito before choosing to become a Giant.

“It’s nice. Honestly, the total package here is awesome. The weather, the park, the fans, the organization. So it was a very easy decision for me,” Hudson said.

“I talked to Zito. Obviously he’s a class act. He had nothing but great things to say about everything here. All the fans, the organization, the teammates here. It made my decision to come here a lot easier. He’s a guy I trust. I wish he was here with me, but it was one of those things where I enjoyed the opportunity to come here. He was happy for me.”

— Angel Pagan said a lot of interesting stuff today (enough for a different post entirely), but for now I’ll leave you with his comments about what drove him throughout the offseason.

“I worked hard for this. I think last year when I got hurt, I didn’t know how important I was to this team until my teammates told me. That got me full of motivation this offseason. I got so ready for this moment. This might be my best start of my career.”

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