Friday marked Buster Posey’s first regular-season game back on the field for the Giants after missing two-thirds of last season with a leg injury. The Leesburg native went 2-for-4 in the 5-4 loss.
PHOENIX — Buster Posey was one swing away from adding another amazing chapter to his growing legacy around the major leagues Friday.
It wasn’t enough that the Leesburg native was playing in his first game back from a potentially career-threatening left leg injury last season during the San Francisco Giants’ season opener at the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday.
No, the baseball gods decided to test Posey, the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year, in the ninth inning in Game 1.
Down, 5-4, in the top of the ninth, Posey came to the plate with the potential game-tying run, teammate Pablo Sandoval, at second base. Posey was 2-for-3 on the night going into the at-bat and was the only Giant other than Melky Cabrera with more than one hit in the game. But Posey grounded out to shortstop on the third pitch he saw from Arizona reliever J.J. Putz, ending the game and Posey’s chance to play hero in his highly anticipated return.
Posey broke his left fibula and tore three tendons in his ankle last season during a home plate collision, but showed no effects of the injury Friday while he was behind the plate and running the bases.
The young star catcher had two singles and also walked in his first game back after the brutal left leg injury sustained in a home plate collision last May 25 with Florida's Scott Cousins.
"Buster looked fine," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "He is not showing any ill effects of what happened, so that is behind us."
Giants ace Tim Lincecum, however, was.
During one stretch of his season-opening performance Friday night against Arizona, Lincecum was untouchable.
The shaggy-haired, two-time Cy Young Award winner fanned five in a row. The start of the game and the end of his night in San Francisco's 5-4 loss were another matter, though.
Now the Diamondbacks have beaten Lincecum four times in a row.
Chris Young and Paul Goldschmidt hit first-inning home runs, then Ryan Roberts' two-run double broke a sixth-inning tie as Arizona's Ian Kennedy beat the Giants for the fourth straight time.
"I left a floating change-up up there in the middle of the plate and a fastball that wasn't executed well," Lincecum said. "With the exception of that first inning I settled down pretty well and did all right, but all right isn't good enough on opening day."
Kennedy (1-0) allowed three runs on nine hits in 6 2-3 innings.
Lincecum had said this week that this could be a "statement" game between two teams that expect to contend for the division title. With 161 games to play, it probably says no more than that Arizona is 1-0 and San Francisco 0-1. But the way it was accomplished reminded a lot of the capacity Chase Field crowd of last year's surprising worst-to-first run by the Diamondbacks.
Sandoval's RBI double with two outs in the ninth pulled the Giants within a run, but Putz got Posey on a grounder to earn the save.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report