Opening day is a blast for San Francisco Giants

Denard Span, Gregor Blanco, Gregor Blanco

San Francisco Giants’ Denard Span, right, is created by teammates Gregor Blanco and Brandon Crawford after hitting a three-run home run off Milwaukee Brewers’ Ariel Pena during the eighth inning of a baseball game Monday, April 4, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)

As great as Opening Day, there’s only one thing that can make it greater.

When your team actually wins on Opening Day.

Well, Giants fans, you don’t have to worry about when the first win of 2016 will come. It arrived in a big way Monday as the Giants hit four home runs, including back-to-back-to-back shots by Denard Span, Joe Panik and Buster Posey in the eighth inning as the Giants rolled to a 12-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Life is good. The Giants are 1-0.

We can set aside any concerns … like how Madison Bumgarner’s springs struggles continued.

Bumgarner walked in a run in the first inning and allowed leadoff home runs in the second and third inning. Despite battling flu-like systems, Bumgarner gutted out five innings, allowing three runs and walking a career-high five. He also fanned six, including the last three batters he faced.

“I think, without question, the flu bug caught up to him,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “I was worried about him. It was obvious that it was tough sledding. He’s not going to say anything and still won’t, but he found a way to get through it. He gave us five.”

The Giants didn’t need Bumgarner to be his best on Monday because the hitters came to hit.

After the Brewers took 1-0 after one inning, the Giants scored in every inning from second to fifth, bookended by Matt Duffy’s two-single in the second and two-run homer in the sixth.

“It’s just that — potential,” Duffy said. “But we understand that we can hit, top to bottom.”

That became evident in the eighth when the Giants broken the game open with five runs, including consecutive home runs by Span, Panik and Posey, the first back-to-back-to-back shots by the Giants since Barry Bonds, Ray Durham and Pedro Feliz on July 20, 2006. It was also the first time a team went back-to-back-to-back on Opening Day since the 1997 San Diego Padres, also managed by Bruce Bochy.

Other notes

  • Monday marked the first time in major league history both teams batted the pitcher in the eighth spot on Opening Day. Bumgarner walked and scored a run in three plate appearances.
  • Span became the first Giants to have five RBI in his debut since RBI became an official stat in 1920. He became the first Giants to drive in five runs on Opening Day since Barry Bonds in 2002.
  • The 12 runs were the most the Giants have scored on Opening Day since scoring 13 in a 16-13 loss to the Padres in 1983.
  • Johnny Cueto makes his Giants debut on Tuesday when he faces the Brewers’ Jimmy Nelson at 5:10 p.m.


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