Leftovers from Opening Day
Early Saturday, 4/9
SAN FRANCISCO — Opening Day’s extra-inning dramatics almost obscured significant contributions by the Giants earlier in Friday’s game against St. Louis. Among them:
– Home runs by Miguel Tejada and Pat Burrell in the third and sixth innings, respectively. Tejada’s was his first as a Giant; Burrell’s was his team-leading third of the season. Burrell has only one other hit this year, explaining his batting average of .174 and on-base percentage of .240 don’t match his slugging percentage of .565.
– Excellent defense at the infield corners by first baseman Brandon Belt and third baseman Pablo Sandoval. Belt made several deft pickups of low or short-hop throws, and Sandoval handled six chances flawlessly. Sandoval also recorded his third multiple-hit game. At the plate and in the field,
Sandoval is playing with the confidence that he exuded in 2009. Can this be traced to his weight loss? Certainly.
– Jonathan Sanchez’s capable effort. The left-hander ran up a high pitch count early and therefore lasted only one batter into the sixth inning, but his seven strikeouts reflected the excellent stuff he possessed. Shades of last Oct. 3, the Giants’ previous regular-season game at AT&T Park, when Sanchez blanked the Padres while working two batters into the sixth inning in the National League West-clinching win. Sanchez also doubled into the left-field corner off Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook and came around to score. Shades of last Oct. 3, when Sanchez tripled and scored the game’s first run.
With superb left-hander Jaime Garcia starting for St. Louis on Saturday, don’t be surprised to see right-handed-hitting Aaron Rowand receive a start. Manager Bruce Bochy likes playing hot hands, and no Giants batter is hotter than Rowand right now. Mark DeRosa could sneak his way into the lineup, too. Garcia absolutely dominated the Giants last Aug. 22 at St. Louis, blanking them on three hits while walking none and allowing exactly zero runners to advance past first base.
– Chris Haft