Jung Hoo Lee

Giants' Lee has bittersweet experience in long-awaited MLB debut

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SAN DIEGO -- Jung Hoo Lee has spent years dreaming about what it might feel like to stand on first base after getting a hit in the major leagues. He wasn't really able to enjoy the moment Thursday, and not just because the Giants blew the lead two innings after the first of many singles to center from the new Giants leadoff hitter. 

The ball from Lee's first MLB hit wasn't even fully secured yet when Yu Darvish whipped a throw to first and caught Lee standing flat-footed after a brief attempt to break on the pitch. Within seconds of his first hit, Lee had his first slow jog back to the dugout after getting picked off. 

"I got picked off by Darvish, so I never had that time of feeling like I actually got a hit, so I'm kind of sad about that," Lee said through interpreter Justin Han. 

Lee said he wasn't nervous at all, and he didn't look to be, either. He struck out in his first plate appearance, but then had a 100-mph liner to first, a single, and a well-timed sacrifice fly that gave the Giants a one-run lead in the top of the seventh. 

As Lee spoke to a crowd of South Korean reporters after the game, Logan Webb stood a few feet away and spoke to the team's beat writers. Webb always is hard on himself, but he was surprisingly upbeat after the 6-4 loss to the San Diego Padres on Opening Day. 

Part of that was surely because of Webb's strong season debut, which put to rest any minor concerns about a rough spring. But the Giants also feel they're much better-equipped to handle tough losses than they were a year ago. It's a confident group, and the season-opening gut-punch was quickly shaken off. 

The Giants blew the lead in the bottom of the seventh when Luke Jackson allowed two hits and a walk before departing with back tightness that will send him to the MRI tube. A single and double off Ryan Walker brought three runs home, and the Padres never looked back.

Before that inning, though, there were plenty of positives. Most notably, the defense looked crisper, particularly on the rebuilt left side of the infield. Perhaps that's why Webb, who led the majors in groundball rate a season ago, wasn't sweating the loss. 

"I don't think that's going to be too much of a problem this year," Webb said of the defense. "I think those guys are going to kind of gobble up every ball. It's going to be fun for me to watch and it's going to be fun for me to watch also on the mound, because I don't strike anybody out."

Webb had five of them in six innings, with four coming the first time through the lineup. He kept pace with Darvish, who caught Lee looking to start the game and then threw a slow slider past Jorge Soler for a second strikeout in the first. Chapman also struck out in his first plate appearance as a Giant, but he later singled. 

It wasn't a memorable day for most of the new Giants, but they got some firsts out of the way. Lee said his main takeaway from his first MLB game was just how packed Petco Park was, and he walked away from the ballpark with the ball from his first hit and the day's lineup card.

"He got a big sac fly to put us ahead against a tough left-handed pitcher," manager Bob Melvin said. "For a first game, he gave us a lead [in] the seventh. That's a productive day to begin with."

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