MILWAUKEE (AP) — Denard Span homered and drove in five runs in his San Francisco debut, and the Giants beat the Milwaukee Brewers 12-3 in an opener Monday despite a sluggish start from under-the-weather ace Madison Bumgarner.
Span hit a three-run shot with two outs in the eighth inning and Joe Panik and Buster Posey followed with home runs off Ariel Pena.
It marked the first time the Giants had connected for three straight homers on opening day. It was the first time any team had done it in an opener since the Padres in 1997, the Giants said in citing the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Giants scored quickly against Wily Peralta and bailed out the ailing Bumgarner, who left after the fifth with a four-run lead. The left-hander allowed five hits, five walks and three runs.
The 2014 World Series MVP looked out of sorts after allowing a homer to deep right in the second to Scooter Gennett, a career .124 hitter against lefties.
Manager Bruce Bochy said an illness was going around the Giants clubhouse, and that Bumgarner had been taking medicine to get ready for his third straight opening day start.
Matt Duffy helped out with a home run and four RBIs. Brandon Belt doubled twice and singled for the Giants.
The addition of Span paid immediate dividends. The center fielder, who signed a three-year, $31 million deal as a free agent in the offseason, who went 2 for 4 and scored twice.
This was the first time that San Francisco had opened a season in Milwaukee. The Giants might remember this trip for reasons other than baseball, too.
On Sunday, the team plane arrived and pulled into the Milwaukee airport next to an aircraft belonging to the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The Wisconsin presidential primary is Tuesday.
Light snow flurries fell outside Miller Park during the opener, though the stadium’s retractable roof kept fans warm and dry.
The Giants still got the start they were looking for in an even-numbered year. They won the World Series in 2010, ’12 and ’14.
Peralta was tagged five runs and six hits in four innings.
Giants: Posey is recovering from a flu bug that forced him to sit out a spring training game on Saturday. Bochy said the star catcher was feeling “washed out” of late, while the coaching staff was maligned last week.
Brewers: P Matt Garza’s turn on Wednesday could be skipped after the right-hander left a spring training game on Saturday with shoulder tightness. Manager Craig Counsell said that Garza was due to see a team doctor some time Monday.
Giants: RHP starter Johnny Cueto makes his Giants debut after signing a $130 million, six-year contract in the offseason. Cueto has won his last six starts against Milwaukee.
Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson takes the hill after a solid spring training, going 2-1 with a 1.17 ERA in four starts.