Despite what we saw during Spring Training, Madison Bumgarner isn’t going to throw 230 perfect innings. The Giants aren’t going to win six Gold Gloves. But real baseball is back, and so is Buster Posey.
Posey hit a bomb in the ninth inning. It wasn’t quite as ginormous as that shot he hit against Mat Latos in Game 5 of the 2012 NLDS, but here’s a general rule for home runs: if the ball hits a scoreboard — any scoreboard — a “wow” is in order.
It was a two-run homer, and it broke a 7-7 tie. Sergio Romo made the lead stand after giving up a solo shot to Miguel Montero to start the ninth, and the Giants earned their first win of the season. Textbook.
This game was truly hilarious. The Giants were charged with two errors, but you can’t fool me — Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Belt and Joaquin Arias made at least two errors each. The failed rundown that ended with Paul Goldschmidt on second base was unforgettable.
The Brandons looked foolish on that play (although Belt gets the blame for getting too cute with his pump fake), but both looked great at the plate. Crawford went 2-for-4 with a double, and Belt went 3-for-5 with a high, deep home run off Brandon McCarthy.
But the D-Backs had 16 hits in this game, and not all of them were seeing-eye grounders that Kruk and Kuip could blame on the lightning-fast infield in Phoenix. After the game Shawn Estes questioned Bochy’s “quick hook” with Bumgarner, who was replaced by a pinch-hitter in the top of the fifth, but Bumgarner had already thrown 78 pitches and didn’t look all that great, despite the fact that all four of the runs he gave up were unearned.
Yusmeiro Petit came in and was lucky to give up only three runs (all earned), since he allowed six hits and a walk in two innings. But things turned around surprisingly quickly after that, with the Giants mounting a four-run rally to come back from a 7-3 deficit as the Giants found the one pitcher who could keep Arizona from racing around the bases on repeat.
Your second hero, much less likely than the first: Jean Machi.
After Cliff Pennington singled off Javier Lopez, A.J. Pollock ran the count full against Machi. Pennington was going, Machi got Pollock swinging on a changeup, and Posey did this:
Machi was superb in the eighth, striking out Goldschmidt and Mark Trumbo after Sandoval failed once again to cleanly field the kind of slow grounder he gobbled up (in a good way) so many times during Cactus League play.
— Spring Training didn’t teach us much: Belt didn’t hit a home run (one on Monday night), Angel Pagan barely played (2-for-5 on Monday night), Bumgarner was nearly untouchable (eight baserunners in four innings on Monday night). But Posey mashed in the Cactus League, and that RBI double by Ehire Adrianza in the seventh didn’t seem nearly as surprising considering the power he flashed at the plate throughout March.
— Two moments — Sandoval’s check-swing single (with his head turned away from the ball) followed by Hunter Pence walking with the bases loaded — made it seem like the Giants’ positive fate was preordained. What made the whole thing especially amusing was how, just a half hour earlier, the game was going so poorly for San Francisco that Kruk and Kuip were discussing Bruce Bochy’s level of anger after the game, and how he’d need to refrain from saying anything to the fellas that he’d end up regretting.