SAN FRANCISCO — — Brandon Belt entered the ballpark in a towed boat wearing his trademark captain’s hat as he tossed baseballs into the stands in a festive pregame scene. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch and then hit a walk-off home run hours later in the eighth inning.
His San Francisco Giants held on to bite their nails to save opening day as fans hugged and cheered in relief.
Austin Slater doubled with two outs in the 10th inning for the first RBI of his career, and the Giants beat the Miami Marlins 6-5 on Friday night.
“It was pretty crazy, almost like a little bit of a blur,” Belt said.
Thairo Estrada hit a tying home run to start the bottom of the ninth off Anthony Bender. Slater then outpointed Anthony Bass (0-1), scoring Darin Ruf. He marked San Francisco’s first opening day win since beating the Padres on April 6, 1987 at Candlestick Park.
Jazz Chisholm Jr. put Miami ahead with a one-out, two-run homer in the top of the ninth as the Marlins capitalized against the San Francisco bullpen once Logan Webb left the game.
Jacob Stallings homered in the eighth and had an RBI single in the ninth off closer Camilo Doval to power the Miami rally. Close losses are nothing new for these Marlins: Their 29 one-run losses in 2021 matched a franchise record, also achieved in 1998 and 2014.
José Álvarez (1-0) recorded the final out of the 10th.
After Joey Wendle walked to start the seventh and Webb came out, Stallings greeted Dominic Leone with a two-run homer.
Rookie catcher Joey Bart also homered, his first in the majors, to back up Webb’s latest impressive performance.
“He was great. He did really well today. I’m really excited for him,” Webb said. “I grabbed him before the game and said, ‘Hey, let’s do something special.’ He’s a special guy and a special player.”
Webb allowed five hits, struck out three and walked one, leaving with a standing ovation in the seventh inning, concluding the first opening day of his career. Bart earned the nod behind the plate from manager Gabe Kapler. The receiver was the second overall pick in the 2018 draft.
Webb, 11-0 in 23 starts since losing May 5 at Colorado, has emerged as the No. 1 starter for the defending NL West champion Giants. At 25 years and 141 days, the right-hander became the youngest Giants pitcher to start on Opening Day since Madison Bumgarner was 24 years and 242 days old in 2014.
“Logan owned the mound like he did for four months last year,” Kapler said.
San Francisco won a franchise-record 107 games last season to edge out the division rival Dodgers only to lose to Los Angeles in a thrilling five-game NL Division Series. They played that series without their emotional leader, Belt, after he broke his left thumb when he was hit by a bunt-square pitch Sept. 26 at Colorado.
Belt, who turns 34 on April 20, hit .274 with 29 home runs and a career-high 59 RBIs, then signed a one-year, $18 million deal for 2022.
Belt and shortstop Brandon Crawford each made their 11th career starts on opening day, tying Robby Thompson for the most in San Francisco history.
Crawford could do without seeing his friend on a boat again.
“I don’t want to see him again,” Crawford said, smiling.
Belt and Ruf hit RBI singles in the third off Sandy Alcantara. The right-hander made his third career opening day start and became the third pitcher in Marlins history to start three consecutive opening days, joining Josh Johnson (2010-2012) and Josh Beckett (2003- 05).
Alcantara struck out four and walked five in five innings. He is 0-2 in his career against the Giants in six appearances and five starts.
Marlins: LHP Sean Guenther underwent Tommy John surgery Thursday in Los Angeles, performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. … INF Jose Devers was placed on the 10-day disabled list with right shoulder impingement syndrome. RHP Dylan Floro also went on the disabled list with right rotator cuff tendinitis. He threw a 25-pitch bullpen session.
Giants: INF Tommy La Stella went on the 10-day disabled list with inflammation of his right Achilles tendon, a move retroactive to Monday. INF Evan Longoria, recovering from surgery on his right hand, also went on the disabled list retroactive to Monday. He worked pulling balls out of a machine. OF LaMonte Wade Jr. was placed on the disabled list with left knee swelling retroactive to Monday.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
RHP Pablo López pitches for the Marlins on Saturday against LHP Carlos Rodón making his Giants debut. He received a two-year, $44 million contract from San Francisco last month.