Tim Lincecum loses to Arizona and Ian Kennedy beats San Francisco.
Those facts persisted through all of last season and carried over to the reigning NL West champion Diamondbacks’ 5-4 season-opening victory over the Giants on Friday night.
Chris Young and Paul Goldschmidt hit first-inning home runs, then Ryan Roberts’ two-run double broke a sixth-inning tie as Arizona defeated Lincecum (0-1) for the fourth time in a row.
”I left a floating change-up up there in the middle of the plate and a fastball that wasn’t executed well,” Lincecum said. ”With the exception of that first inning I settled down pretty well and did all right, but all right isn’t good enough on opening day.”
Kennedy (1-0) allowed three runs on nine hits in 6 2-3 innings to beat the Giants for the fourth straight decision.
Lincecum had said this week that this could be a ”statement” game between two teams that expect to contend for the division title. With 161 games to play, it probably says no more than that Arizona is 1-0 and San Francisco 0-1. But the way it was accomplished reminded a lot of the capacity Chase Field crowd of last year’s surprising worst-to-first run by the Diamondbacks.
”It’s good to see everybody pick up where they left off,” Roberts said. ”It’s been a long spring but to come out today and have everybody have success up and down the lineup is nice.”
Pablo Sandoval’s RBI double with two outs in the ninth pulled the Giants within a run, but J.J. Putz got Buster Posey on a grounder to earn the save.
Melky Cabrera hit a two-run homer in his first game for San Francisco after coming over in a trade with Kansas City.
Posey, the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year, singled twice. The young star catcher also walked in his first game back after the brutal left leg injury sustained in a home plate collision last May 25 with Florida’s Scott Cousins.
”Buster looked fine,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. ”He is not showing any ill effects of what happened, so that is behind us.”
Kennedy had just three strikeouts and two walks.
”I wasn’t real happy with my command,” he said. ”It wasn’t the greatest. I’m just really happy how I battled all the way through against a good team.”
After watching the Diamondbacks celebrate their division crown with a clinching victory over San Francisco last Sept. 23 at Chase Field, the Giants waited through a pregame ceremony while Arizona unveiled a big letter ”A” sign designating the title.
Then the Diamondbacks got to Lincecum in a hurry.
Willie Bloomquist led off with a single and Young, who hit .400 this spring with five home runs, hit a 2-2 pitch into the left-field seats. Young hadn’t batted No. 2 in the order all season, but that’s where he saw his name when he arrived at the park on Friday. Manager Kirk Gibson doesn’t reveal his lineup to his team until the day of the game.
”I wouldn’t be surprised to be hitting second one day, to be hitting fifth the next day and leading off the other day,” Young said. ”As long as you show up ready to go, it really won’t catch you off guard.”
Lincecum struck out Justin Upton and Miguel Montero, but Goldschmidt’s towering home run to left on a 3-1 pitch made it 3-0. It was Goldschmidt’s third home run in 10 at-bats against the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner.
”I don’t know,” Goldschmidt said. ”I was able to get a good hitter’s count 3-1 today and get a fastball to hit. As with any pitcher, you try to get a good pitch to hit. It’s only been a few ABs, so hopefully they’ll be a lot more to come.”
San Francisco got close in the fifth when Angel Pagan led off with a double, and Cabrera’s line drive to right bounced off the top of the fence in right and over for a home run.
The Giants tied it at 3 in the sixth after singles by Aubrey Huff and Brandon Belt. Ryan Theriot advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt, and Huff scored on Brandon Crawford’s groundout.
But Arizona regained the lead its next time up. Upton doubled and advanced to third on a deep fly out by Montero. Goldschmidt walked and Jason Kubel reached when Posey couldn’t handle his spinning hit in front of the plate. With the bases loaded, Roberts lined a double into the left-field corner for a 5-3 lead, ending Lincecum’s evening.
NOTES: Young hit his second career opening day HR. The first was in 2008. … Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong threw three innings in a rehab start in the opener for Triple-A Fresno Thursday night, allowing no runs on three hits in four innings, striking out six and walking three. … The Giants and Diamondbacks met in a season opener for the first time. … San Francisco 1B prospect Angel Villalona’s option to Class A San Jose was canceled because of his continuing visa problems in the Dominican Republic. The Giants say Villalona was placed on the Major League Baseball restricted list pending further developments. … The attendance of 49,130 was the third-largest opening day crowd at Chase Field and fourth largest for any game there.