PHOENIX — The Diamondbacks did a lot of things right in their opener on home soil. Mark Trumbo and Miguel Montero swung the bat well. Brandon McCarthy popped 94 mph consistently. If only the bullpen had joined in.
Long-time nemesis Buster Posey hit a two-run home run with two outs in the ninth inning off new closer Addison Reed to finsh San Francisco’s climb from a four-run deficit for a 9-8 victory before 48,541 at Chase Field.
Posey hit a 1-0 from Reed that caught too much of the plate deep to left field for a 9-7 lead, enough of a cushion to survive that Montero’s homer in the ninth, his third hit of the game.
"Terrible pitch. Good swing," Reed said. "It was right in the middle of the plate. Anybody is going to hit that a long way. I missed my spot, and he made me pay for it. I was trying to go inside and I left it over the middle of the plate.”
It was a sobering reminder of the 2013 season, when the bullpen had a major league-high 29 failed save conversions and gave up an NL-high 59 home runs. The D-backs made necessary changes when Reed was brought in and Heath Bell shipped out. These D-backs are looking forward, not behind them.
"It’s not in our mindset to think about last year," McCarthy said.
"It’s frustrating, sure," said Trumbo, who had three hits and drove in two runs in his first game in Chase Field. "Any loss is frustrating, but anyone like this, when you have a decent amount of runs scored, is kind of a gut punch. You just keep moving, keep moving, keep moving."
With McCarthy pitching well, the Giants scuffling in the field and Trumbo and Montrero leading the way offensively, the D-backs held a 6-2 lead after five innings and a 7-3 lead after six. The Giants gave them four unearned runs in the fourth after inning-opening errors by Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval, and Trumbo’s RBI singles in the fifth and sixth kept the lead at four.
The Giants’ four-run rally to tie the game in the seventh inning was partially compromised by a pitch that McCarthy believed should have been called strike three to end the inning with no runs scoring, and later by an excuse-me single by Pablo Sandoval before the final damage was done.
McCarthy’s 1-2 pitch to pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza appeared to be at the knees on the inside part of the plate, according to TV replays, but it was called a ball. Adrianza hit a run-scoring double on the 3-2 pitch to make it 7-4, starting a run of five straight hits.
"Pissed off," McCarthy said of his takeaway.
"There was a call in the seventh that changed the entire outlook of the game. Obviously we all have to execute after that. But that’s a juncture, that’s a pitch that you are not rewarded for. That leaves a bitter taste. That call goes our way, everything shifts back and everybody looks better tonight and we are probably in here happy and celebrating. I had him struck out. It just didn’t get called."
McCarthy left after that, and the bullpen could not hold his lead. Oliver Perez gave up hits to all three batters he faced, line drives to the first two batters and a flukey single to Sandoval, who leaned away from the plate on an inside pitch. The ball hit his bat and floated out toward center field, and Chris Owings got his glove on it behind second base but could not hold it. That single made it 5-4. Brad Ziegler came in and gave up a single to Posey and walked Hunter Pence to force in the tying run.
"Sandoval, that was a lucky hit. I can’t do anything about it. But that’s part of baseball," Perez said. "We didn’t get the job done in the seventh inning. That’s how they got excited and got the motivation back."
Buster Posey gets a slap on the back from teammate Brandon Belt after his two-run ninth-inning home run off Addison Reed broke a 7-7 tie.
The Yusmeiro Petit who beat the D-backs with a one-hit shutout, 3-0, at AT&T Park on Sept. 6, 2013, was not present Monday night. Petit gave up hits to the first four batters he faced in a two-run fifth inning and gave up six hits in his two innings.
22 — Paul Goldschmidt’s hitting streak, which spans two seasons and two continents. He finished 2013 with a 19-game streak and had hits in each of the two games in Australia.
–Gerardo Parra had four RBIs off left-hander pitchers last season, but he is off to a good start this season after a two-run single off Madison Bumgarner in the four-run fourth inning. He was 1-for-14 off Bumgarner before that at-bat.
–McCarthy, featuring mostly fastballs and curves, struck out the side in the first inning. He struck out the side once last year, on April 16, 2013, at Yankee Stadium. He finished with four strikeouts.
–Posey, like a lot of Giants, likes it here. Posey has nine home runs off the D-backs, six at Chase Field, after his game-winner. Belt, who homered in the sixth, has five of his last 18 homers against the D-backs.
–Joe Garagiola Sr. looked fit and fitting as he supervised the four ceremonial first pitches delivered Monday. Garagiola, who also spent an inning in the TV booth, was the most recent recipient of the Buck O’Neil award for lifetime contributions to Major League Baseball.
–A.J. Pollock is off to an 0-for-13 start after going hitless in six at-bats, striking out four times.
Chris Owings, Tuffy Gosewisch and Tony Campana made their first opening day rosters on U.S. soil. All were on the D-backs’ 25-man roster for the two-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Australia, but that roster did not include three starting pitchers who remained in the U.S. and was subject to revision.