RAYS SPOIL SAN FRAN­CISCO GI­ANTS HOME OPENER

The Tribune (SLO) - - Insight - BY JANIE MCCAULEY

SAN FRAN­CISCO

None of the Tampa Bay Rays wanted to see their old pal Evan Longoria in the bat­ter’s box with the game on the line in the ninth in­ning and two outs.

This time, Longoria flied out to end the game fac­ing his for­mer team for the first time since be­ing traded in De­cem­ber 2017.

“He took a good swing, though,” Rays man­ager Kevin Cash said.

Yandy Diaz and Kevin Kier­maier hit back-to­back home runs in the first in­ning and Tampa Bay spoiled the San Fran­cisco Gi­ants’ home opener with a 5-2 win Fri­day for the best start in Rays’ fran­chise his­tory.

The Rays (6-2) got four straight two-out hits in the first against Dereck Ro­driguez (1-1). Given a 4-0 cush­ion, Tyler Glas­now (2-0) pitched six score­less in­nings, al­low­ing three hits and strik­ing out six.

Rays re­liever Adam Ko­larek hit Bran­don Crawford to load the bases with none out in the eighth. Diego Castillo came in one out later and got Gi­ants new­comer Kevin Pil­lar to ground into a dou­ble play. Jose Al­varado fin­ished for his third save, get­ting Longoria with two run­ners on.

“I love Longo, but I was hop­ing it wasn’t a sto­ry­book,” Kier­maier said. “The stars al­ways align in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions, of course he had a chance to be the hero.”

Ji-Man Choi and Bran­don Lowe each dou­bled in the first, then Diaz and Kier­maier con­nected.

Tommy Pham’s lead­off sin­gle in the third gave him a Rays record 40game on-base streak over two sea­sons, break­ing Johnny Da­mon’s pre­vi­ous mark ac­com­plished in 2011.

Austin Mead­ows added an RBI dou­ble in the Tampa Bay sev­enth.

Rain had been in the fore­cast for the en­tire day but the weather co­op­er­ated. The tarp came on and off a cou­ple of times be­fore first pitch at Or­a­cle Park, where a new score­board pro­vided a high­light on a day the Gi­ants’ bats did not.

Tampa Bay hit the road for the first time to start a nine-game trip and the Rays won their sixth in seven games. This is just their sec­ond trip to play the Gi­ants in fran­chise his­tory and first since 2002, end­ing the club’s long­est stretch not vis­it­ing a road ball­park.

Pil­lar played his sec­ond home opener af­ter a March 28 game with Toronto against the Tigers be­fore be­ing ac­quired by San Fran­cisco on Tues­day. Pil­lar sin­gled in the sev­enth and came home on pinch-hit­ter Pablo San­doval’s dou­ble. Steven Dug­gar fol­lowed with a dou­ble.

BOCHY’S OVA­TION

Gi­ants man­ager Bruce Bochy tipped his cap ev­ery di­rec­tion dur­ing a roar­ing stand­ing ova­tion of nearly 90 sec­onds from the sell­out crowd dur­ing pregame in­tro­duc­tions and also threw out the cer­e­mo­nial first pitch – the first time in his ca­reer he’s done so.

“It’s re­ally emo­tional. It’s over­whelm­ing what hap­pened there. It’s some­thing I’ll never for­get,” Bochy said. “So I

thank them. It was a re­ally spe­cial mo­ment.”

Bochy, who man­aged World Se­ries ti­tles in 2010, ’12 and ’14, is re­tir­ing af­ter the sea­son.

Not that he’s think­ing about that right now, most con­cerned with mak­ing the Gi­ants a con­tender again be­fore he moves on. Yet Bochy said open­ing day “never gets old.”

“I try not to get caught into that,” Bochy said of his fu­ture. “Just like I tell our play­ers, ‘let’s keep our fo­cus here on what we need to do.’ ”

REMEMBRANCES

The Gi­ants paid trib­ute with a mo­ment of si­lence to late Hall of Famer Wil­lie McCovey, who died Oct. 31, as well as for­mer man­ager Frank Robin­son, man­ag­ing gen­eral part­ner Peter Magowan and for­mer broad­caster Hank Green­wald. Broad­caster Mike Krukow read a speech pre­pared by Magowan be­fore he died in Jan­uary.

ERIC RIS­BERG AP

Gi­ants start­ing pitcher Dereck Ro­driguez works in the first in­ning against the Rays on Fri­day in San Fran­cisco.

ERIC RIS­BERG AP

Rays third base­man Yandy Diaz hits a two-run home run off Gi­ants start­ing pitcher Dereck Ro­driguez in the first in­ning Fri­day in San Fran­cisco.

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