SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The names on the backs of the jerseys are the same, and the Giants made it clear Saturday that their game will remain the same, too.
The defending World Series champions scored their first run of the spring in familiar fashion. Angel Pagan led off the fourth with a single, stole second, took third on a groundout to the right side by Marco Scutaro and scored when Pablo Sandoval singled to right. Small ball and pitching won the Giants a championship last fall, and in front of a sellout crowd at Scottsdale Stadium, it led to a 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
“That was right where we left off,” manager Bruce Bochy said, smiling.
There was, however, one glaring difference in the first Giants game since Game 4 of the World Series. Sandoval, under orders to work on his conditioning all spring, was surprisingly put into motion on a hit-and-run and rumbled home when Jackson Williams lined a double into the left-field corner. As he approached the dugout, all Sandoval saw was laughing teammates.
“I was just hoping he wouldn’t fall,” Pagan said. “That’s a long run for him.” Sandoval said it got longer as it wore on.
“I stepped on third base and home plate was moving away,” he joked.
For a team that counts chemistry as one of its greatest assets, Sandoval’s mad dash was a reminder of how much fun these Giants have when they’re winning. Bochy even got into the act, saying he told Sandoval that it looks difficult to carry a piano around the bases.
“And then he stopped to play a song between third and home,” Bochy said.
The levity and the Angels’ Double-A lineup made for a quick, easy day for the defending champions. After an intense October, they’re here to stay healthy and simply get their work in before embarking on what they hope will be a similar path. Sandoval spoke for many when he said he doesn’t want the goals to change, and emphatically stated that he doesn’t even care if he hits more homers or drives in more runs this year.