No matter how a team looks in spring training, things usually change once the regular season begins, inside the big ballparks, with every pitch recorded and every important play analyzed to death. Curiosity abounds on Opening Day, inside the clubhouse and out, on how the team will respond in games that count. One series into the 2014 season, the Giants like what they see. They were a happy, confident bunch Thursday after they scored five runs in the eighth inning, three on Angel Pagan's tie-breaking home run, to come from behind and beat Arizona 8-5. That confidence stemmed from taking three of four at Chase Field despite some balky performances from key players. The Giants got one quality start in four and no wins from Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain or Tim Lincecum. Hunter Pence went 1-for-16 and Pablo Sandoval 3-for-16. And yet, they had more than enough firepower at the plate and on the mound for two comeback wins to go with one Tim Hudson-inspired shutout. So the Giants will ride a nice head of steam into Los Angeles on Friday for their first 2014 look at those big, bad, wealthy Dodgers, who will raise their National League West championship banner in a pregame ceremony. Motivation for the Giants? Hardly. "We're pushing each other," Lincecum said after a mostly positive season debut. "I don't think we're looking at anyone else to motivate us. I think we have a lot to prove from our lack of production last year. Guys are just looking for that itch to get out there. It has nothing to do with the Dodgers." And yet, Los Angeles has started 4-1. Manager Bruce Bochy knows the Dodgers are capable of boat-racing their foes, as they did last year with a 42-8 run. In a rare admission that one series might be first among equals, Bochy said this weekend's games in Los Angeles are significant. "I think you have to say that, with how good they are," Bochy said. At the same time, Bochy would hate for his players to deify the Dodgers before they meet for the first time, or give them more credit than they are due. "What's the point of trying to figure out who's the best team in the division?" he said. "You decide what you can do and what you can accomplish." Several Giants accomplished a lot in Phoenix. Pagan went 8-for-19 with inspired defense. In the eighth inning Thursday, which began with Arizona leading 5-3, Pagan stepped in with two outs and two on after a Hector Sanchez RBI double and Michael Morse's pinch single, which tied the game. Pagan jacked Will Harris' first-pitch fastball into the pool area in right-center for his first homer of the year, the Giants' sixth of the series and an 8-5 lead.
Giants head to L.A. after taking season-opening series
San Francisco Chronicle | Apr 4