Angel Pagan

Giants come back again, win opening series in AZ

After Tim Lincecum’s otherwise fine 2014 debut was tarnished by a pair of two-run home runs over six innings, the Giants came back to win 8-5, thanks to a dinger-laden late-game rally. The Giants got a solo homer in the seventh from pinch-hitter Brandon Hicks, and Angel Pagan capped a five-run eighth with a home run into the swimming pool area at Chase Field.

The D-Backs probably came into the season feeling a little glum after losing their ace, Patrick Corbin, for the season. After losing three of four to the Giants at home, in a series where their bullpen woes were exposed for the world to see and Bronson Arroyo looked much older than the Giants’ biggest free agent addition (Tim Hudson, who’s a year and a half older than Arroyo), it’s got to be pretty tough for D-Backs to look forward to the rest of 2014.

Brandon Belt hit his third home run of the season in the first inning. (All GIFs via @gidget)

When Belt came up to the plate in the fifth inning with one out and Pagan on third, Kirk Gibson removed Arroyo, who allowed one run in 15 innings against San Francisco last season.

Lincecum hasn’t enjoyed similar success in recent years against the D-Backs, mostly because Paul Goldschmidt crushes every pitch he throws. The mustache didn’t change anything today, as Goldschmidt hit one deep to right-center. So did Mark Trumbo, and Trumbo’s shot to center gave Arizona a 4-2 lead and made a pretty solid start (no walks, seven strikeouts) look kind of like what we saw during Spring Training (a little too much pitchin’ to loooouuuuud contact).

Pagan, who’s hitting .421 so far, capped a rally that led to the Giants’ “happy flight” to Los Angeles. It was a rally that involved most of the roster, or at least it seemed that way. Pence walked and scored on a Hector Sanchez double (a line drive smash into the right field corner on a shoulder-high fastball). Perez pinch-ran for Sanchez. Buster Posey was sent up as a pinch-hitter, and Arizona intentionally walked him. Another pinch-hitter, Michael Morse, hit a curveball up the middle that bounced at least three times before reaching the outfield, scoring Perez. Then Pagan whacked a first-pitch fastball out to right.

Extra BASGs

— A swarm of bees delayed the game for a few minutes early on, which led the D-Backs’ stadium entertainment team to play “Let It Be” and “Don’t Worry Be Happy” as the umpires discussed what to do.

— Pagan’s dinger:

— The reaction to Pagan’s dinger:

— Tom Tolbert’s reaction to Hicks’ second-deck dinger:

— I’m not sure what Gerardo Parra was doing here, other than hitting himself in the face with his bat while D-Backs fans throughout the desert southwest collectively struck their faces with their palms for the third time in four days.

— Pence had his second outfield assist of the season, thanks to Goldschmidt getting greedy on a single off Lincecum.

— Santiago Casilla and Javier Lopez didn’t look good at all during Spring Training, but so far they’ve shown how little that matters. Lopez got Eric Chavez to ground out to first for the last out of the game. Casilla pitched 1.2 perfect innings, and his fastball was blazing.

Here’s Casilla’s pitch count based on fastball velocity (he threw 24 pitches overall, 14 for strikes):

  • 93 mph: three
  • 94 mph: eight
  • 95 mph: six
  • 96 mph: one

The sample size is very small, but Casilla’s four-seamer is over a mile per hour faster so far this season than we saw last April.

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