Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Bochy: Home opener 'a day I'll never forget'

@mi_guardado
April 5, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO -- Endings loomed large in the pregame festivities that accompanied Friday afternoon’s home opener at Oracle Park. Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow read a speech written by the late Peter Magowan, who lost his battle with cancer before he could deliver the discourse himself at his planned induction into

SAN FRANCISCO -- Endings loomed large in the pregame festivities that accompanied Friday afternoon’s home opener at Oracle Park.

Giants broadcaster Mike Krukow read a speech written by the late Peter Magowan, who lost his battle with cancer before he could deliver the discourse himself at his planned induction into the club’s Wall of Fame. An outline of the No. 44 was etched near first base in honor of Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, another Giants luminary who recently passed away.

After a tribute video played on the new scoreboard, Brandon Belt walked over to first and lifted the base -- which bore the No. 44 -- out of the dirt to present it to the McCovey family.

Shortly thereafter, the Giants streamed onto the field and formed a crescent around the mound to watch manager Bruce Bochy deliver the ceremonial first pitch. Bochy, who plans to retire at the end of the season, received an extended standing ovation from the sellout crowd before tossing the ball to Pablo Sandoval.

“It was a really special moment,” Bochy said. “I really appreciate what they did. It blew me away, to be honest. It was really overwhelming.”

“I think he definitely deserved that,” Belt said. “He deserved to feel how much love that people have for him around here. It’s kind of crazy watching him get emotional like that because he is the leader of this team. He’s led this team through the good times and the bad. To see him get emotional, it chokes you up a little bit.”

For all the emotion that enveloped the day, a happy ending still proved elusive for the Giants, who fell, 5-2, to the Rays to drop to 2-6 on the season.

Before the game, Bochy said he felt right-hander Dereck Rodríguez would have the disposition needed to shut out the noise and maintain his focus during the lengthy build-up to his start. Rodriguez opened his second outing of the season with two quick outs before yielding four consecutive hits -- including back-to-back home runs to Yandy Diaz and Kevin Kiermaier -- that sank the Giants into a 4-0 hole.

“That first inning was the difference in the ballgame,” Bochy said. “I’m sure Dereck would like that inning back, because after that, he was right on.”

Rodriguez didn’t allow further damage and departed after 5 1/3 innings, but the Giants couldn’t overcome the early deficit. They produced only three singles against Rays right-hander Tyler Glasnow, who struck out six over six scoreless innings.

Evan Longoria went 0-for-5 in his first game against the Rays, who traded their longtime face of the franchise to the Giants last offseason.

The Giants’ hitters have struggled to find their groove over the first week of the season, particularly early in games. They have yet to score a run before the fourth inning in each of their first eight games of the year. Opposing starters Eric Lauer, Joey Lucchesi, Nick Margevicius, Chris Paddack, Julio Urias, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Ross Stripling and Glasnow have combined to post a 1.38 ERA (seven earned runs over 45 2/3 innings) against the Giants.

“We’re trying to get things going early,” Bochy said. “Their guy did have good stuff. He pitched very well. With that said, it’d be nice to come out and put some early runs on the board, take a little pressure off these pitchers.”

It took the Giants until the seventh inning to get on the board Friday, and only after Glasnow exited the game. Kevin Pillar singled off Rays reliever Wilmer Font for his first hit with the Giants and came around to score on a pinch-hit double from Sandoval. Steven Duggar then shot an RBI double to center field to trim the Rays’ lead to 5-2.

The Giants came back to load the bases with no outs in the eighth after Longoria reached on an error, Buster Posey doubled and Brandon Crawford reached on a hit-by-pitch, but they couldn’t capitalize, as Gerardo Parra struck out looking and Pillar grounded into a double play to end the inning.

San Francisco brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth after Joe Panik led off with an infield single and Yangervis Solarte walked, but Rays closer Jose Alvarado coaxed a forceout from Duggar, struck out Belt and induced a flyout from Longoria to seal the win for Tampa Bay.

“We had some traffic out there late,” Posey said. “Hopefully we can do that tomorrow and push some more across.”

While it wasn’t the ending Bochy had been hoping for in his 13th and final Giants home opener, he found solace in the outpouring of appreciation he received from the fans.

“Tough day as far as losing the ballgame,” Bochy said. “But it’s a day I’ll never forget.”

Maria Guardado covers the Giants for MLB.com. She previously covered the Angels from 2017-18. Follow her on Twitter.