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What we learned as Cueto, Giants beat Rockies in home opener

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Johnny Cueto pitching

For the first time since September of 2019, Giants fans got to walk through the gates of Oracle Park. They cheered for Buster Posey's introduction, and showed a little extra love to longtime Giant Brandon Crawford, the legendary Mike Murphy, and assistant coach Alyssa Nakken, who made history last season in front of cardboard cutouts. 

After that, it was pretty quiet -- until Crawford gave the crowd a chance to roar. 

The shortstop drove a double into the gap with the bases loaded in the seventh and Johnny Cueto did the rest in a 3-1 win over the Rockies in the home opener. Cueto finished one out shy of his first complete game in five years, throwing 118 pitches in a masterful performance. 

Here are three things to know ... 

Vintage Johnny

Cueto hadn't completed eight innings since May 12, 2017, but he cruised through this one, retiring the first 13 batters he faced. The Rockies ended that run by putting a couple of runners on, but Cueto immediately got an inning-ending double play. 

Cueto was at 99 pitches through eight, and manager Gabe Kapler let him come back out and even let Cueto talk himself into a longer leash. But when Trevor Story singled with two outs, that was it, and Jake McGee came on for the save.

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Cueto ended up throwing his most pitches since May 12, 2017, allowing four hits and striking out seven. He topped out at 94 mph. 

No Nolan, But ... 

For the first time in nearly a decade, the Giants don't have to deal with Nolan Arenado every time the Rockies come to town, but the third baseman apparently transferred his powers to a young left-hander who was the main prize for the Rockies in that offseason deal.

 

Gomber was a serious problem in his second start of the season, matching Cueto into the seventh and allowing just one hit to the 24 batters he faced. Gomber had a good four-pitch mix going and in particular kept the Giants off-balance with his big curve, but he ran into trouble as he passed 100 pitches. Gomber walked the final two batters he faced and they came around as the first two runs of the game. 

All They Needed

The Giants didn't get a runner to second until the seventh, when three walks loaded the bases for Crawford, who had just two hits in his first 20 at-bats. He jumped on a two-strike cutter from Tyler Kinley and drove it into the gap in right-center, bringing Darin Ruf and Buster Posey home.

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The Giants have gotten virtually nothing from their big left-handed bats this season, but there were signs of life in the late innings. An inning after Crawford's big double, Brandon Belt came off the bench for a pinch-hit single, igniting a rally that included an RBI single from Alex Dickerson.

Crawford had a chance to tack on when he came up with the bases loaded for a second time, but this time he bounced into a double play.

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