SAN FRANCISCO — Matt Moore walked off the mound to a thundering ovation, handing a three-run lead to a bullpen that needed to record just three outs. Moore said he didn’t think at all about the last time he had done that, even though it happened to be the last game the Giants played in their home park.
This time, the bullpen came through.
Mark Melancon shut the Diamondbacks down in the ninth, clinching a 4-1 win for Moore and the Giants, who got an early scare when Buster Posey was hit in the head and received the winning run on a bizarre mistake-filled play at the plate two innings later. Moore did not drift back to his postseason start — a similar eight-inning gem — but the home opener did have a postseason-throwback feel to it. Three of the four runs were scored in a way the Giants have made famous during World Series runs.
“We call them the RTI: runs thrown in,” manager Bruce Bochy said, smiling. “We had three of them today. It was a crazy inning. They were all rushed, and fortunately we took advantage.”
The day’s only significant rally happened with Moore, owner of one previous regular-season RBI, at the plate. There was a mixup with the signs and Moore tried to bunt the first pitch from Taijuan Walker. He couldn’t put it down, but a swing later in the at-bat accomplished the same goal.
The swinging bunt to the right side was far enough to get Brandon Crawford — the savviest baserunner on the team — home from third. Walker thought he had a shot anyway, and his throw to the plate skipped to the backstop. Joe Panik rounded third and scored easily. When Jeff Mathis’ throw back to Walker at the plate skipped toward first, Jarrett Parker raced home just ahead of the tag.
Parker had started the play on first base. He made the read himself, noting that there wasn’t time to look for a sign.
“I was watching Joe to make sure Joe was going home first, so I didn’t get held up,” Parker said. “I saw the ball kick away and went for it. If I was looking for (Phil Nevin’s wave home) in that moment, who knows what could have happened.”
At the time, Parker was without a hit on the season (he later singled). He emphatically pumped his fist at the plate and clapped his hands as his helmet flew off. Parker said that in recent days, veterans told him not to worry about the slump. There were other ways he could help the team.
“I’m just trying to make an impact,” he said. “I haven’t been worrying about it too much. Go about your business, play the right way, and let things take care of themselves.”
Moore took care of the rest on this day, one that included loud ovations for Javier Lopez and Barry Bonds, but also an emotional ceremony for fallen Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, who was a regular in the clubhouse and became close with many of the Giants. Bochy’s voice cracked when he talked about a pre-game ceremony that included the Owens children throwing out the first pitch.
“I thought it was important for us to go out and play well and win this ballgame,” he said.
Bochy had the right guy on the mound. Moore had thrown eight dominant innings against the Cubs here the last time the Giants played at home, and he was sharp in a different way Monday. He relied on his defense and worked quickly, running into trouble just once, when Yasmany Tomas homered to lead off the fifth.
After the bullpen blew it in Game 4, Moore did not point fingers. “This is the type of thing that makes you love baseball,” he said that night. “Because you really have to love it to come back after something like this.”
On Monday, after Melancon had held on to every inch of a three-run lead, Moore flashed another smile, this time one that didn’t hold any sadness.
“Mark’s a beast,” he said. “I’ll take him every day.”