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By Raising Matt Cain
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SF 3  COL 1

Johnny Cueto dazzled the fans at this afternoon’s Home Opener, twirling 8-2/3 innings of 4-hit, 1-run ball, stifling the Rockies lineup and leading the team to a 3-1 victory. We all know he’s a great showman and when the stuff is working he is hard to beat. The 7,390 fans in the ballpark had a grand time.

“I like to perform and pump up the crowd,” Cueto said with a smile.

Yeah, we can tell!

Rockies starter Austin Gomber was equally impressive, matching zeroes through six until the Giants finally broke through in the 7th. He walked Wilmer Flores in the 2nd and gave up his only hit, a single from Buster Posey, in the 5th. Two walks undid him in the 7th, and reliever Tyler Kinley loaded the bases with another walk before Brandon Crawford’s two-run double broke the deadlock. Brandon Belt singled off reliever Robert Stephenson in the 8th, and a walk to Flores and another hit by Posey loaded the bases. Alex Dickerson plated the third run with a single to finish the scoring. Those were the second and third bases-loaded opportunities the Giants lineup has created so far this season.

But the day belonged to Johnny. He cruised into the 9th and everyone was anticipating a shutout, but Chris Owings led off with a triple. Garret Hampson brought him home with a sacrifice fly, but everyone was still expecting a complete game. Ryan McMahon lined out, but Trevor Story singled, and that’s when Gabe Kapler came to get his starter. The tying run was on base and Cueto had thrown 118 pitches at that point, so it was the right move. Jake McGee struck out Sam Hilliard to end it. Hilliard was in the game because Charlie Blackmon had been kicked out for arguing balls and strikes! Johnny was a shimmying fool today, using every hesitation move in his book, and you have to figure he sometimes faked out home plate umpire Ben May. Cueto got 25 called strikes as well, so you know he had the good stuff going.

The Giants have had a hard time scoring runs, something I did not expect, but the pitchers have been stingy allowing runs, something else I did not expect. If Johnny Cueto can regain some of his vintage form that would be a huge lift for the team. He kept the ball down today and threw strikes. It sounds so simple but it is obviously hard to do. I hope the back-to-back big performances by the number one and number two starters inspire the rest of the fellows in the rotation.

Logan Webb takes the hill tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 Pacific.

Go Giants!



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