By Nick Zeller-Singh
Nearly 1,000 fans gathered into a breezy Scottsdale Stadium for the San Francisco Giants’ Spring Training opener. Left-handed pitcher Conner Menez started for the Giants while José Quintana pitched for the Los Angeles Angels.
The Giants looked to answer early as catcher Buster Posey stepped up to the plate. After sitting out last season, the Giants catcher was ecstatic to find his place back on the Giants roster.
“It felt good to be back,” Posey said. “It’s a game I’ve loved to play since I was a kid, so just being able to go out and compete and be on the field was great.”
Posey’s first plate appearance tested his discipline, as he was walked. Shortly after, the Angels began to rip open a lead against the Giants. In the second inning, Giants’ pitcher Zack Littell failed to catch a rhythm.
Littell’s struggles started with a hard-hitting grounder slipping underneath the glove of second baseman Donovan Solano. Next at-bat, Luis Rengifo rifled a shot to the left-field alleyway, capturing a standup double. After a Taylor Ward sacrifice fly and Anthony Bemboom’s line-drive single to left field, the Angels took a 2-0 lead.
The Angels continued to strengthen their lead in the third inning. Giants’ pitcher Jay Jackson gave up a leadoff single to Jared Walsh. Even though the Angels captured six hits in the game, their discipline at the plate helped boost the differential. Jackson handed the Angels a run after walking Rengifo with the bases loaded. Later in the inning, Ward captured another RBI when he grounded into a double play.
After squeezing out of the difficult inning, the Giants appeared to have awakened. Posey picked up the Giants’ first hit of the season with a single. A few pitches later, Wilmer Flores rocketed a ball to right field. At first glance, the ball seemed to be going over the fence. However, Angels’ right fielder Jo Adell started chasing the flight of the ball on the warning track before falling. Once the ball hit the grass, Flores stood up at second base and Posey came into score.
After the Angels captured a couple of outs, Lamonte Wade stepped to the plate. Wade picked up an RBI off of a sacrifice fly that scored Alex Dickerson.
The Angels ripped the Giants’ chances away to come back though. The Giants did not pick up another hit for the rest of the game.
Even though the bats fell asleep, the Giants’ defense rose to the occasion. The outfield got their first test of the season when Wade tracked down a deep fly ball to left-center field. Although he caught the ball, he realized his teammate Alex Dickerson was in place to make the catch too. The two came together and took the moment to learn each other’s playing styles.
“That was the first time we got in a game atmosphere and played alongside each other,” Wade said. “So, we are just learning each other and he made the joke that it’s kind of like minor league ball over again.”
Heading into the seventh inning, Giants pitcher Tyler Cyr could not connect with the strike zone. He walked a handful of runners, including Jordyn Adams when the bases were loaded. Therefore, the Angels’ plate discipline gave them the 5-2 victory.
The Giants will look to bounce back against the Texas Rangers Monday at 12:05 pm PST.