Heston's start a bright spot in Giants' loss

Rookie allows two runs (one earned) in seven solid innings vs. Rockies

Heston's start a bright spot in Giants' loss

SAN FRANCISCO -- Chris Heston followed many of his teammates as he took the field Monday. By the end of the afternoon, he had advanced to the forefront.

Heston's seven-inning effort was one of the few redeeming elements for the Giants in their 2-0 loss to the Colorado Rockies. The second rookie to start a San Francisco home opener -- Alan Fowlkes was the other in 1982 -- Heston more closely resembled a veteran as he yielded two runs (one earned) in seven innings. He has recorded a quality start in both of his outings.

The length of Heston's stint matched Madison Bumgarner's Opening Night start for the longest by a Giant so far. If Heston can come close to duplicating this performance, his durability could become commonplace. As he did against Arizona in his previous start, Heston coaxed opponents into hitting his pitch, often a slider or sinking fastball.

Panik starts a double play

The right-hander induced two double-play grounders and concluded innings with four of his five strikeouts, always an emphatic flourish for a pitcher. Heston could have escaped with only one run allowed, but he was unable to hold on to the ball long enough after taking catcher Buster Posey's flip as Nick Hundley charged home following a seventh-inning pitch that got away.

"He looked like he was throwing Wiffle balls up there," Giants third baseman Matt Duffy said. "Everything was moving."

The thrills began for Heston nearly an hour before the game began, when he and the rest of the Giants entered AT&T Park through the center-field gate before pregame introductions.

"That's something I'll remember probably for the rest of my life," Heston said. "It was awesome just to be a part of that."

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Heston began warming up shortly afterward. Catcher Buster Posey tried to calm any nervousness his batterymate might have felt.

"He told me to take deep breaths out there and try to slow it down a little bit," Heston said.

Posey remained a steadying influence for Heston, 27, as the game began.

"Having Buster back there, you trust what [signs] he puts down, and I know if I can make my pitch, it'll turn out for the best," he said.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.