SAN FRANCISCO (AP)Brandon Belt rode into the ballpark on a trailored boat with his signature captain hat on while tossing baseballs into the stands in a festive pregame scene. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch, then delivered an insurance home run hours later in the eighth inning.
His San Francisco Giants held on in a nail-biter to salvage opening day as fans hugged and cheered in relief.
Austin Slater doubled with two outs in the 10th inning for his first career walkoff RBI, sending the Giants past the Miami Marlins 6-5 on Friday.
”It was pretty crazy, almost like a little bit of a blur,” Belt said.
Thairo Estrada hit a tying home run to start the bottom of the ninth off Anthony Bender. Then Slater came through against Anthony Bass (0-1), scoring Darin Ruf. It marked San Francisco’s first walkoff win on opening day since beating the Padres on April 6, 1987 at Candlestick Park.
Jazz Chisholm Jr. put Miami ahead on a two-run homer with one out in the top of the ninth as the Marlins capitalized against San Francisco’s bullpen once Logan Webb left the game.
Jacob Stallings homered in the eighth and delivered an RBI single in the ninth off closer Camilo Doval to fuel Miami’s rally. Close defeats are nothing new for these Marlins: Their 29 one-run losses in 2021 matched a franchise record, also done in 1998 and 2014.
Jose Alvarez (1-0) recorded the final out of the 10th.
After Joey Wendle walked to begin the seventh and Webb came out, Stallings greeted Dominic Leone with a two-run drive.
Rookie catcher Joey Bart also homered, his first in the majors, to back Webb’s latest impressive performance.
”It was cool. He did so good out there today. I’m so excited for him,” Webb said. ”I kind of grabbed him before the game and I’m like, `Hey, let’s do something special.’ He’s a special guy and a special player.”
Webb allowed five hits, struck out three and walked one, leaving to a standing ovation in the seventh wrapping up his first career opening day start. Bart earned the nod behind the plate from manager Gabe Kapler. The catcher was the second overall pick in the 2018 draft.
Webb, 11-0 over 23 starts since losing last May 5 at Colorado, has emerged as the No. 1 starter for the reigning NL West champion Giants. At 25 years and 141 days, the right-hander became the youngest Giants pitcher to start opening day since Madison Bumgarner was 24 years, 242 days old in 2014.
”Logan owned the mound like he did for four months last year,” Kapler said.
San Francisco won a franchise-record 107 games last season to edge the rival Dodgers for the division only to lose to Los Angels in a thrilling five-game NL Division Series. They played that series without their emotional leader, Belt, after he broke his left thumb when hit by a pitch squaring to bunt Sept. 26 at Colorado.
Belt, who turns 34 on April 20, batted .274 with a career-high 29 homers and 59 RBIs then signed an $18 million, one-year contract for 2022.
Belt and shortstop Brandon Crawford each made their 11th career opening day starts, tying Robby Thompson for most in San Francisco history.
Crawford could do without seeing his pal on a boat again.
”I don’t ever want to see it,” Crawford said, smiling.
Belt and Ruf hit RBI singles in the third against Sandy Alcantara. The righty made his third career opening day start and became only the third pitcher in Marlins history to start three consecutive opening days – joining Josh Johnson (2010-2012) and Josh Beckett (2003-05).
Alcantara struck out four and walked five over five innings. He is 0-2 lifetime against the Giants over six appearances and five starts.
Marlins: LHP Sean Guenther underwent Tommy John surgery Thursday in Los Angeles, performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. … INF Jose Devers was placed on the 10-day injured list with right shoulder impingement syndrome. RHP Dylan Floro also went on the injured list with right rotator cuff tendonitis. He threw a 25-pitch bullpen session.
Giants: INF Tommy La Stella went on the 10-day injured list with inflammation in his right Achilles tendon, a move retroactive to Monday. INF Evan Longoria, working back from right hand surgery, also went on the IL retroactive to Monday. He worked taking groundballs from a machine. OF LaMonte Wade Jr. was placed on the IL with left knee inflammation retroactive to Monday.
RHP Pablo Lopez pitches Saturday for the Marlins opposite LHP Carlos Rodon making his Giants debut. He received a $44 million, two-year contract from San Francisco last month.
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