Spencer Bivens

Giants' Bivens dazzles with win in ‘dream' MLB debut vs. Angels

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SAN FRANCISCO – Spencer Bivens didn’t have much time to do any studying or prep work trying to get a feel for the Los Angeles Angels’ lineup. After receiving a late call notifying him that he was getting called up to the Giants from the minors, the 29-year-old pitcher didn’t arrive in the city until 3 a.m. and had a difficult time trying to catch a few winks.

None of that seemed to matter once the well-traveled right-hander took the mound for his MLB debut. Bivens pitched three very strong innings of relief after opener Erik Miller’s one inning of work, giving the Giants exactly what they needed while earning the win in Sunday’s 13-6 victory at Oracle Park.

“It doesn’t really feel real,” Bivens said in the Giants’ clubhouse afterward. “I’m just waiting to wake up from a dream. It’s unbelievable. I really don’t have words for it. It’s nothing like I imagined it and that’s even better that it’s that way.

“I feel like pregame was harder, just getting into the building and being here and really realizing you’re here. Just trying to stay calm and easy. God was with me a little bit today.”

Undrafted coming out of college, Bivens spent time pitching in France and in independent leagues before latching on with the Giants in 2022. He worked his way through the minors and was 4-0 with a 2.81 ERA in Triple-A with the Sacramento River Cats this season before getting the call up to the big leagues.

Bivens was dazzling in his debut. He allowed just one hit, a solo home run to Nolan Schanuel, who was the second batter to step in against him.

“It was like really high and then really low really quick," Bivens said of his emotions after the home run.

That really was the only mistake that Bivens made. He had four strikeouts and didn’t walk anyone while pitching his way into the Giants’ history books.

Bivens is the oldest player in franchise history to win in his debut since Ace Adams did it in 1941. Bivens also is the first Giants pitcher to throw at least three innings and win in his debut since John Montefusco in 1974.

“To be able to watch him go out there today and have the success that he did was really, really cool,” Giants catcher Patrick Bailey said. “He did an excellent job with execution. Threw a ton of strikes, threw a couple of right-on-right changeups that I don’t really know if he’s really done, and they were nasty.”

Bivens’ big moment came with his mom sitting among the sold-out crowd of 41,008 at Oracle Park, who cheered every out that the lanky right-hander made.

Bivens was pitching so well that manager Bob Melvin debated sending him out for another inning. That idea was squelched when the Giants’ bats exploded for nine runs in the bottom of the fourth.

Bivens, who was called up after Kyle Harrison’s injured ankle prevented him from starting, might have pitched himself into a permanent spot on the staff.

The Giants are expected to get several of their injured starters back in the next few weeks, and someone will have to go to make room. Given his inexperience at this level, Bivens would appear to be the logical choice to send down, but his dazzling debut might change things.

“With what he’s been through in his career, that’s about as good as it gets,” Melvin said.

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