BY ANTHONY SOSA
After managing to score just two runs in their previous four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants put up four runs in Tuesday’s home opener but still fell to the Seattle Mariners 6-4 at AT&T Park.
The Giants stumbled out of the gate when starter Ty Blach, who pitched five shutout innings in his first start on Opening Day, labored through the first inning. He allowed four runs to score in the opening frame off of five hits and a walk. The Mariners got back-to-back-to-back RBI singles from Mitch Haniger, Kyle Seager and Ryon Healy to give them the early advantage.
Blach settled down for the next three innings and kept the Mariners in check. However, in the top of the fifth inning, the Mariners’ offense got to him again. He gave up a leadoff single to Jean Segura and Robinson Cano followed with an RBI double. The Mariners ended the fifth scoring two runs. Blach finished the game with 4.1 innings pitched and six runs allowed on 10 hits, with two walks and two strikeouts.
“That’s all you can do as a starter is go out and compete and try to keep your team in the game as long as you can,” Blach said. “After a long first (inning) like that, it was nice to keep us in the game as long as I could.”
The Mariners’ offense found a lot of success at the plate. The first seven hitters in their lineup recorded at least one hit. Combined their offense put together 12 hits. Jean Segura had a good day at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored. Dee Gordon also recorded three hits along with scoring a run and stealing two bases.
With yet another home run, Giants’ second baseman Joe Panik got the Giants on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning with a solo shot to right field. “How bout what Joe’s doing, it’s pretty impressive isn’t it,” said Giants’ manager Bruce Bochy. “He’s got some pop. He’s a guy that’s going to do some damage this year.” It was Panik’s third home run of the season. It also ended a streak of 21 scoreless innings for the Giants that started Saturday against the Dodgers.
“It’s still very early but I’m very happy with the kind of adjustments I made in spring and I’ve carried it over to the season,” Panik said. “Right now, just trying to ride the wave while it’s hot.”
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Evan Longoria snapped an 0-17 start to the season and got his first hit in a Giants’ uniform. He sent a wall-scraping two-run homer to the left field bleachers and trimmed the deficit to three.
The Giants added another run in the bottom of the eighth inning when pinch hitter Gregor Blanco doubled and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Austin Jackson. The Giants had a chance to tie the game later in the eighth inning with two runners on for Andrew McCutchen and Buster Posey. However, neither were able to come up with a hit and the Giants couldn’t crawl back into the game.
“We’re only five games in now so we got a lot of time,” Longoria said. “Overall as a group, we haven’t clicked. Nobody’s hit the ball real well other than Joe. You know, we’re going to hit. We got a lot of guys where the back of the baseball card looks really good. Obviously, you just want it to happen sooner than later.”
The Giants and the Mariners finish off their short two-game series tomorrow as they square off at 4:15 p.m. Johnny Cueto toes the rubber as he looks to continue where he left off from his first start of the season. In that outing, he pitched seven shutout innings, allowed just one hit and struck out four batters in the 1-0 win against the Dodgers. Mariners’ ace Felix Hernandez opposes Cueto on the hill.