One could assume that with the Diamondbacks arriving back on American soil, things would return to some form of normalcy after their foreign excursion. Needless to be said, baseball doesn’t always go as planned.
In what was a true seesaw matchup, the Diamondbacks ultimately fell by a score of 9-8 at the hands of a pesky San Francisco Giants squad. The game featured pretty much everything a fan in attendance could want; mammoth home runs, tons of offense, and drastic lead changes.
With the Giants playing just their first game of the season, they were able to send out their ace in Madison Bumgarner to the mound. He danced around a minefield of potential exploding innings, but avoided tripping a wire up until the fourth. After back-to-back errors from Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval opened the inning, he watched as Gerardo Parra brought in two with a two-RBI single and then as Aaron Hill sent two more racing home with a two-RBI double to stake Arizona to an early 4-1 lead. There would be at least one run scored every half inning from that point on until the seventh inning stretch.
Continuing to mash the ball tonight was newly acquired Mark Trumbo. Going 3-for-5 with two RBI to bring his season total to six, early returns on the deal to acquire him look promising. His flare RBI single in the bottom of the sixth gave the D-Backs a comfortable four-run cushion heading into the back-end of their stout bullpen in the seventh.
Brandon McCarthy was just an out away from escaping the seventh inning unscathed, and just Ehire Adrianza stood in his way. The light-hitting infielder laced a double that brought in a run, and more importantly, forced Manager Kirk Gibson’s hand to go to the bullpen. Also newly acquired, Oliver Perez came in to place a tourniquet on the bleeding that had begun—in actuality, he poured salt into a gaping wound.
Double, single, single, and Perez was headed for the showers. Brad Ziegler became the next cog in the machine, and before he could get his feet wet, it was a smoked RBI single and then a walk that brought in the game’s tying run. To a chorus of fake cheers, Ziegler struck out the final batter of the inning for the elusive third out.
The new faces just continue to appear for the Diamondbacks, as Addison Reed came on to keep a 7-7 tied game going on in just that fashion. After Brandon Belt ripped his third hit of the night, former National League MVP Buster Posey connected with a ball that may have ricocheted off the moon had it not crashed off the upper deck and bounded back to earth.
Facing an uphill challenge in the bottom of the ninth were the D-Backs as they dug in against Sergio Romo, whose ERA against Arizona for his career was south of one. Instilling some life and fervor back into the ballpark was Miguel Montero, who was crushed a hanging slider from Romo just beyond the right field fence to cut the lead in half and make it a 9-8 ballgame. After more miserable defense from the Giants on a bunt infield single (all night long they were a travesty; two errors, plus two more plays that should have been credited as so), the Diamondbacks had their man in scoring position, but neither Eric Chavez nor A.J. Pollock could come through.
Losing a game like this on Opening Night in front of a historic crowd of 48,541 at Chase Field can be demoralizing. It will be on the back of skipper Kirk Gibson to regroup his club for their battle tomorrow night when Wade Miley takes the hill in opposition of Matt Cain at 6:40 PM.