D-backs slug way to Opening Day history

April 2nd, 2021

The D-backs didn't come across in their postgame interviews as a team that lost, even though they did fall, 8-7, to the Padres on Thursday afternoon at Petco Park in the season-opening game for both teams.

It was not that they were happy to lose, but there was also a realization that if their offense continues to perform even a little bit like it did on Opening Day, then they'll gladly take their chances over the next 161 games.

During the 60-game season last year, when they finished last in the National League West, the D-backs struggled to score runs. They finished ninth in the NL in runs scored and were next to last in homers.

"We got in a little bit of a fistfight today, and we didn't back down,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. “I really liked what I saw in that area."

At times last year, Lovullo was frustrated by his team not sticking with its game plan at the plate, but that was not the case Thursday.

"Very satisfied with the attack plan and the way we swung the bat," Lovullo said.

The offense showed a quick-strike ability with a six-run fifth inning that included home runs by , , and . It was the first time in Major League history that a team hit four homers in one inning on Opening Day.

"It was fantastic," Lovullo said. "The offensive machine was running today, and that's what we're capable of doing. And you know, you hit four home runs in one inning, obviously it's a big splash and you like that splashdown, but I want these guys to know that that's what they're capable of doing.

“I think it's going to be a pretty exciting offensive year for us."

Marte led the way offensively for the D-backs going 4-for-5 and finishing a triple shy of the cycle.

An even better sign for the D-backs is that all four of Marte's hits, including the home run, came from the left side of the plate. In 2020, Marte hit just .233 left-handed, a far cry from the .327 he had hit from that side of the plate in ’19.

"We talked about it before the game: We have a lot of talent, a lot of veteran guys," Marte said. "We just have to go out there and have fun. I mean, sometimes we put some pressure on ourselves, but I told the guys we need to just have fun out there. And I know we're going to be good because we got a lot of talent."

It wasn't the best of starts for D-backs lefty , but both he and Lovullo felt like the veteran threw better than his numbers -- six runs over four innings -- would indicate.

Bumgarner's velocity was up 1.9 mph on his four-seam fastball and he topped out at 92.5 mph. After a 2020 season in which he struggled at times to crack 90 mph, it was encouraging.

"I felt much better about my personal performance than the line showed, but it don't really matter, because the only thing that does matter is the line and what I did to help us win," Bumgarner said. "You know, the guys came back and bailed me out. I just put us in too big of a hole early for it. The way we played as a team, aside from all that, I was really happy about."

One thing he wasn't pleased with was the strike zone of home-plate umpire Ted Barrett. Bumgarner barked at Barrett a few times while on the mound and once when he was called out on strikes at the plate.

"Yes, very much," Bumgarner said when asked if he was unhappy about the zone. "Usually, I would avoid that question. I feel like I'm just tired of dancing around it. And I'm not going to today."