Giants can't hold on as Marlins rally in 9th
Strickland surrenders three runs as San Francisco drops series opener
SAN FRANCISCO -- Having been away from AT&T Park for so long, the Giants struggled to follow the script for winning there.
Back at home after a 10-game trip, the Giants entered Monday looking forward to playing 20 of their next 26 games at their bayside ballpark. Their 19-11 home record at the start of this stretch deepened their resolve and raised their hopes. However, Miami delayed the Giants' surge -- if it ever comes -- by at least a day. The Marlins sustained a three-run, ninth-inning uprising against Giants closer Hunter Strickland to claim a 5-4 victory.
Strickland (3-3), who blew his fourth save opportunity in 17 chances, courted disaster by walking two of the first three hitters he faced.
"Nothing seemed to be right and working for me," said Strickland, who converted all but one of his previous 12 save chances. "I just sucked in general."
Brian Anderson drew a leadoff walk to begin the rally against Strickland, who was summoned to preserve a 4-2 lead. He then yielded J.T. Realmuto's RBI double. Justin Bour walked and was forced at second base before Lewis Brinson and Miguel Rojas stroked RBI singles.
This marked the fourth time in Strickland's 238-game career that he allowed more than two runs.
Earlier, the Giants delivered a balanced effort. That was precisely what they needed due to the absence of shortstop Brandon Crawford, who's equally proficient on offense and defense. Crawford's in Arizona on paternity leave with his wife, Jalynne, who gave birth to their fourth child, a son named Bryson.
Joe Panik and Mac Williamson smacked RBI singles in the second and third innings. Pablo Sandoval homered to cap San Francisco's three-run, second-inning outburst. Filling the vacancy at shortstop, Kelby Tomlinson made a couple of slick defensive plays that Crawford, a three-time Gold Glove winner, would have admired.
"To his left, to his right -- he was really solid," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
The same could be said of Giants starter Andrew Suarez, who was poised to deliver the team's third victory in his last four starts before the Marlins' reversal.
Suarez blanked the Marlins for four innings before three consecutive hits, a streak punctuated by Rojas' two-run single, accounted for the only runs the Giants' rookie lefty allowed. He ultimately lasted six innings, striking out seven while throwing 55 strikes in 79 pitches. His total of 57 strikeouts ranks third among National League rookies.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Sandoval's first-inning drive was no ordinary homer. He hit it right-handed, historically his much weaker side during his professional career as a switch-hitter. It was his first right-handed homer of the season after 140 plate appearances, and the 20th such homer of his career -- compared to 111 batting left-handed.
The Giants lost their first game of the season when leading after eight innings. They are now 31-1 in such games.
Dereck Rodriguez, who's scheduled to start against Miami in Tuesday's 7:15 p.m. PT rematch at AT&T Park, recorded one of his better performances against the Marlins last Thursday. He yielded two runs and seven hits in a career-high 6 2/3 innings to help set up San Francisco's 16-inning, 6-3 win. Rodriguez will be opposed by right-hander Dan Straily, who's 4-0 with a 2.82 ERA in six lifetime starts against the Giants.