It might have been tough for some to distinguish what colors the Giants jerseys were Saturday night: White and gold or blue and black.
Much like it’s been hard to tell if San Francisco remains a championship-caliber team or not. On a night when the Giants received their 2014 World Series rings in a special pre-game ceremony, they recaptured a piece of championship form against the Arizona Diamondbacks with a 4-1 win.
Manager Bruce Bochy noted the importance of tonight’s win and the energy the crowd poured into AT&T Park:
“That’s a pretty big night. You’re getting hardware and they all loved them too. They’re beautiful rings. Just a great night. I thought this was something they really needed.”
Giants players and personnel strolled over a bright, orange carpet to home plate to receive an elaborate, diamond-encrusted Tiffany ring. The first pieces of jewelry were delivered via three hang gliders who parachuted into the outfield.
Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
After Kruk and Kuip read off the final names, gold and silver streamers burst out from the upper decks to recreate a similar scene displayed on Market Street last Halloween.
Donning special uniforms trimmed in championship gold instead of traditional orange, the Giants got out of the gates quick and scored after their first two at bats. Nori Aoki doubled to lead things off and Joe Panik singled him in to make it 1-0. Aoki has reached safely in 12 of the first 13 games for the Giants.
Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
Then Brandon Crawford, who came to the plate in the fourth inning with one hit in his last 29 at bats, launched a two-run shot on a first-pitch changeup into the right field seats to make it 4-1. Crawford holds the early team lead in RBIs with seven.
The often glib shortstop chuckled as he commented on the fourth-inning blast:
“I hit that one pretty good.”
After wiping off a wry smile, he elaborated a little more on the at bat:
“I was just trying to stay up the middle and hit something hard. The changeup was left up a little bit. I was able to stay through it and hit it pretty good.”
To say the Giants needed this win would be putting it mildly. The Giants were 0-5 at home going into Saturday night and their 3-9 record was among the franchise’s worst starts.
Chris Heston (W, 2-1, 0.87 ERA), the Giants ace so far, pitched just like one. He stymied the Diamondbacks for 7-2/3 innings and only gave up four hits, one walk and one earned run and struck out six. In 20-2/3 innings this season, 27-year-old Heston has only allowed two earned runs.
The rookie explained what the outing meant for him after the game:
“It’s awesome. Some of these days that I’ve gotten lucky enough to throw have been once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Just the opportunity to be out there again with another big thing like this going on, I’m blessed to have that opportunity.”
Heston has a proclivity for showing up in big games so far. He won during the Diamondbacks opening series, pitched well in the Giants home opener against the Colorado Rockies and stopped the bleeding on ring night.
Santiago Casilla locked down his fourth save of the season to finish the evening.
Rubby De La Rosa (L, 2-1, 6.00 ERA) lasted 6-2/3 innings and allowed nine hits, four runs and two walks while striking out seven on 115 pitches.
Tonight’s game snapped a eight-game losing streak for the Giants. … Heston is the first Giants rookie since 1914 to start a season with three straight starts of more than six innings and one or fewer earned runs in each outing. … Crawford’s three home runs are tied with Houston Astros’ Jed Lowrie for most among shortstops.