Giants takeaways: What we learned in 8-7 loss in 2021 MLB season opener

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Alex Pavlovic
·3 min read
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What we learned in Giants' torturous loss to open 2021 season originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

For nearly three hours Thursday night, this looked like the perfect opener for the Giants. 

On a beautiful night, with plenty of orange and black scattered among the 8,000-plus fans in the seats at T-Mobile Park in Seattle, they got three early homers -- including one from Buster Posey -- and watched Kevin Gausman dominate. 

And then the bullpen got involved. 

The Giants gave up six runs in the eight to fall behind by a run, and after Alex Dickerson tied it with a pinch-hit solo shot in the ninth, Jose Alvarez made a mess of the 10th. The new Giant came on with the free runner on second and walked all three batters he faced, giving the Mariners an 8-7 win. 

The end of this one was as ugly as that all sounds, but there were some highlights on opening night.

Here are three things to know ... 

Welcome Back, Buster

Posey probably doesn't love batting seventh, but he sure has no problems doing damage in the spot. He has homered in his last two starts in the seven-hole, one Thursday ... and the other way back on July 5, 2010. 

Posey has always had a sense of the moment, and he made a statement in his first at-bat since 2019, turning on an inside cutter in the second and blasting a solo shot to left. It jumped off his bat at 106.5 mph. 

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The rest of the night had fewer things to celebrate. Posey grounded out twice and then walked, and with the go-ahead run on third in the 10th, he flew out to right in his first taste of the runner-on-second rule. 

The Giants had four homers the first night back, so maybe the ball isn't that dead after all. Evan Longoria and Austin Slater went the other way early and Dickerson made his only at-bat count. 

Familiar Issue

Matt Wisler didn't record an out in his debut in the eighth. Jarlin Garcia entered after three batters and couldn't find the strike zone. Tyler Rogers entered and immediately gave up a bases-loaded double, and when he got a needed ground ball, Brandon Belt threw it away. Wisler was charged with three earned runs and Garcia with two, which is one more than he gave up all of last season. 

The first three Giants relievers to enter the game -- Caleb Barager got the end of the seventh -- walked the first batter they faced and Alvarez did the same in the 10th, which is going to drive the coaching staff crazy.

RELATED: What fans should know about return to Oracle Park

Looking Like An Ace

Kevin Gausman doesn't remember much from his first Opening Day start, which came in 2017 with the Orioles. He probably won't forget this one, at least his part of it.

The staff leader was perfect through three and allowed just two hits and one run before being lifted with two down in the seventh. He walked two and struck out six. Gausman had a good fastball going and he leaned into it, throwing 52 of them and getting 41 strikes, including seven swinging. The start was Gausman's longest as a Giant. He sadly did not figure in the decision.