PHOENIX — Monday was not a great day for the Giants.
Matt Cain had an MRI on his tight right forearm, and seems, at the very least, unlikely to make his season debut on Wednesday. This came along with the revelation that Jake Peavy will miss his first start because of a sore back. It was Opening Day for the defending champs but Giants officials all wore the same “here we go again with this odd year stuff” look.
[RELATED: Cain undergoes MRI, status uncertain]
After a long season opener, they were at least able to smile. Just barely.
Madison Bumgarner went seven strong and the lineup chugged along without some of last season’s biggest bats, but the Giants had to hold on late for a 5-4 win. The bullpen gave up three runs in the eighth before Santiago Casilla entered in the ninth and closed it out against the top of the Diamondbacks lineup. Bumgarner, who lasted just four innings here last Opening Day, got his first career win in an opener.
The Giants and Diamondbacks each scored a run in the third before the Giants pulled away in the top of the fifth. Nori Aoki, the new leadoff hitter, opened the inning with a single. After Joe Panik’s single, Angel Pagan, the old leadoff hitter, roped his second double. A Buster Posey sacrifice fly and Brandon Crawford double gave Bumgarner more than enough to work with.
Manager Bruce Bochy liked the look of this lineup this spring, noting that Aoki, Panik and Pagan could be a nice trio in front of Buster Posey. They combined for eight hits, four runs, two RBI and a walk.
Starting pitching report: Bumgarner gave up six hits and two of them were immediately erased by double plays. His lone run came in the third, when Ender Inciarte singled and Mark Trumbo crushed a hanger off the top of the wall way out in center. The Giants will watch Bumgarner’s workload this season, and with a four-run lead, Bumgarner was pulled after throwing 93 pitches. He probably wasn’t happy about that as he watched the eighth.
(Because this is Bumgarner, we also must note that he was 0 for 3 at the plate with one violent reaction after a strikeout on a 3-2 pitch.)
Bullpen report: Nothing went as planned when Bochy took the ball from his ace. Javier Lopez gave up a hit to a left-hander. Jean Machi entered and loaded the bases. Sergio Romo, who had a great spring, came in and gave up a three-run double to left-handed pinch-hitter Jake Lamb before walking switch-hitter Cliff Pennington, who batted from the left side.
At the plate: You’ll hear it a 1,007 times this season from Bochy: “We’ve got to keep the line moving.” The new-look top of the order did just that Monday. Josh Collmenter was knocked out in the fifth, in part because Aoki had his second hit of the game, Panik had his third in three at-bats and Pagan matched Panik with an RBI double. The Giants had 10 hits off Collmenter, eight of them coming from the top three hitters.
Eight Giants came to the plate in the fifth inning. The big hit came from Crawford, who learned that opposing managers still don’t believe the splits, despite Crawford hitting .320/.395/.484 against left-handed pitchers last season. He roped a pitch from lefty Andrew Chafin down the line in right and Trumbo kicked it around a bit as two runs scored, giving the Giants four in the inning and a 5-1 lead.
In the field: Crawford had a nightmare series here at the beginning of the 2012 season, but he played the hard dirt perfectly on Inciarte’s shot to short with one out in the fifth. Crawford’s scoop started a double play that ended the Diamondbacks’ hopes of starting a rally right after the Giants had a four-run frame.
Attendance: The Diamondbacks announced a crowd of 49,043, the eighth-largest in Chase Field history. The 49,043 witnessed a scoreboard game in which a fan was asked to chug syrup Super Troopers style. Take that, Kiss Cam. Also: Die, Kiss Cam.
Up next: With Cain and Tim Hudson coming off surgeries, it seemed likely that Ryan Vogelsong would begin the season with a start or two. It turns out it’s a Peavy injury that has Vogelsong in the rotation. Vogelsong, 8-13 with a 4.00 ERA last season, slots in for Peavy, who will miss this series but could start this weekend in San Diego. The Giants will face Rubby De La Rosa, a young righty who came over in the Wade Miley trade.