Opening Day 2001: The defending NL West Champion San Francisco Giants hosted the San Diego Padres at Pac Bell Park on this date in 2001, and the home team walked off the field with a hard-earned 3-2 victory. Livan Hernandez started and earned the victory by pitching 7+ innings, and Robb Nen shut the door in the ninth by striking out all three batters in the ninth. Barry Bonds got his historic 73-HR season off on the right foot by hitting a solo shot off of losing pitcher Woody Williams in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Opening Day 1989: On their way to winning the NL Pennant in ’89, the Giants started things off by defeating the Padres 5-3 at Jack Murphy Stadium on this date in 1989. MVP-to-be Kevin Mitchell drove in the first two runs of the season with a home run in the first inning, and starter Rick Reuschel survived a home run by future Giant Benito Santiago to pick up the victory, with Mike LaCoss shutting out San Diego over the final two innings for the save.
Opening Day 1979: They may have been waning, but the Cincinnati Reds in 1979 still had several key components of the Big Red Machine intact. Thus it came as a fairly large surprise that the Giants came into town on Opening Day on this date in 1979 and outslugged the Reds 11-5 at Riverfront Stadium. Giants starter Vida Blue outlasted future Hall of Famer Tom Seaver, who was knocked out in an eight-run second inning that included three Reds errors.
Opening Day 1974: The post-Marichal era began on the right foot, as the Giants defeated the Houston Astros 5-1 on this date in 1974. Tom Bradley started the game for the Giants and went 8+ strong innings, not allowing a run until one out in the ninth inning. Gary Maddox’s three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning off of loser Dave Roberts (no, not our Dave Roberts) was the big blow.
Opening Day 1971: Charlie Fox’s Giants surprised everyone by winning the NL West in ’71, and they got off to a great start by defeating the Padres 4-0 on Opening Day at San Diego Stadium. As he did so often in his Giants career, Juan Marichal began the season on the mound, and finished what he started by hurling a complete game 5-hitter, striking out eight Padres. The Giants scored single runs in the top of the first (a solo home run by Willie Mays), second, sixth, and ninth innings to account for all the scoring in the ballgame.
Opening Day 1969: Back in the spring of ’69, the Giants blew a two-run lead in the ninth to lose the ballgame 5-4 to the Atlanta Braves at Atlanta Stadium. The Giants scored three times in the top of the seventh inning to go ahead 4-3 on a pair of RBI singles and a Willie McCovey sacrifice fly, but closer Frank Linzy allowed an RBI triple by Braves shortstop Sonny Jackson and the game-winning single to Mike Lum in the ninth inning.
Opening Day 1986: Roger Craig showed everyone that his young team was maturing in a hurry by defeating Nolan Ryan and the Astros 8-3 at the Astrodome. Will Clark made his Major League debut by homering off of Nolan in his first at-bat, and Jeffrey Leonard and Bob Brenly also contributed with their own solo shots. Mike Krukow went the first six innings for the victory, and Mark Davis pitched three perfect innings for the save.
Don Shin eats, breathes, thinks, and bleeds in Orange and Black.
Pac Bell Park officially opened on his 25th birthday (the one year he
decided to move out of the Bay Area!!!). For the 2000 playoff drive, he
dyed his hair orange while studying in Korea. He watched Game 6 of the
’02 World Series at a restaurant in LA, and couldn’t finish his meal
afterwards. Feel free to write him at firstname.lastname@example.org to commiserate, cheer, and complain.
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