The San Francisco Giants will seek assistance from their proverbial 10th man again Saturday afternoon when they continue their first homestand of the season against the Colorado Rockies.
Playing in front of a home crowd for the first time since 2019, Giants veterans Johnny Cueto and Brandon Crawford delivered people-pleasing performances in a 3-1 win over the Rockies in the home opener on Friday.
The Giants are expected to send right-hander Logan Webb (0-1, 5.06) to the mound in search of their third straight win. The Rockies are scheduled to counter with righty Chi Chi Gonzalez (1-0, 5.40).
Cueto and Crawford turned back the clock with memorable outings Friday, with Cueto taking a shutout into the ninth inning and Crawford providing most of the club’s offense with a two-run double.
Afterward, Giants manager Gabe Kapler gave an assist to the announced crowd of 7,390.
“He is a performer. He really thrives with energy behind him,” Kapler said of Cueto, who came within one strike of recording his first complete game in almost five years. “He was boosted by the fans.”
Kapler noted he was particularly moved by the sight of Crawford, a link back to three championship teams in the previous decade, standing on second base, soaking in the appreciation of the fans who had just seen him break a scoreless deadlock.
“It was especially gratifying to see Craw deliver,” Kapler gushed. “I’m really, really happy for Giants fans, both in the ballpark and watching from home, to be able to see Brandon in the home opener do what he did.”
Another longtime Giant, Buster Posey, relived his glory days as well with two hits.
Webb, who was an 11-year-old Little Leaguer in the Sacramento suburb of Rocklin when Cueto made his major league debut, was on the other end of a Cueto-like pitching performance by Seattle’s Chris Flexen in a 4-0 loss last Saturday.
Webb got the loss despite allowing just three runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.
The 24-year-old has gone 2-0 in his career against the Rockies with a 4.02 ERA in three games, including two starts.
Gonzalez will be making his first start of the season as the Rockies elected to use a four-man rotation to open the year.
He pitched in relief twice in Colorado’s season-opening series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, shutting them out without a hit over three innings in a 4-2 loss after having allowed three runs in two innings, yet picking up a win, in an 8-5 victory on Opening Day.
Gonzalez has gone 0-2 with a 5.31 ERA in five lifetime head-to-heads with the Giants, four times as a starter.
Rockies manager Bud Black had a message for Gonzalez and his fellow pitchers after Friday’s narrow loss: Throw strikes.
“It’s frustrating when the pitchers beat themselves via the walk,” he said of the seven walks allowed by Rockies pitchers in their road opener. “You have to be able to get the ball over the plate. There have been a couple of games this year where we haven’t, and it’s come back to cost us.”
–Field Level Media