The Arizona Diamondbacks started the 2012 season with a bang using the long ball and timely hitting to beat the San Francisco Giants 6-5 at Chase Field Friday.
“Great start. Great baseball game,” manager Kirk Gibson said afterwards. “We played a clean game. There was a lot of intensity out there.”
Center fielder Chris Young, who didn’t hit second all spring training, launched a two-run homer off Tim Lincecum in the bottom of the opening inning to stake the Snakes (1-0) to a 2-0 lead. Three batters later, Paul Goldschmidt’s bomb to left made it 3-0.
Gibson said Young, who shined offensively in Cactus League play, was a perfect fit to bat second.
“One of the reasons why I wanted him up there is he has some power and some speed.”
Diamondbacks ace Ian Kennedy escaped early trouble and cruised into the fifth with a shutout before newly acquired Giants outfielder Melky Cabrera roped a homer which skidded over the fence beyond Justin Upton in right field.
San Francisco (0-1) drew even in the sixth, but third baseman Ryan Roberts untied it in the bottom of the inning with a bases loaded 2-run double that chased Lincecum (0-1).
Lefty specialist Joe Patterson came in relief of Kennedy in the top of the seventh and got Aubrey Huff to bounce out to first to end the inning and keep the lead at 5-3.
Dependable David Hernandez pitched a perfect eighth before manager Kirk Gibson handed the ball to closer J.J. Putz to close it out. He gave up a RBI double to Pablo Sandoval, but got dangerous Buster Posey to ground out to end the game.
Kennedy (1-0) got the win going 6.2 innings, allowing nine hits and three runs, all earned. He walked two and struck out three, throwing 98 pitches.
“He threw a very good game for us,” Gibson explained.
The Giants outhit the Snakes 11-7, but were sloppy in the field committing three errors.