Peavy a seasoned pro at starting openers

Span out with flu; Blanco plays center field

Peavy a seasoned pro at starting openers

MILWAUKEE -- Jake Peavy's extremely familiar with the charged atmosphere that will envelop AT&T Park on Thursday when the Giants confront the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Not only will it be San Francisco's home opener, but it's also a Giants-Dodgers game, renewing one of sport's greatest rivalries. Peavy, who has started four season openers during his 14-year career, anticipated what he'll encounter.

"It's just like a playoff-game atmosphere, really, is the best way to describe it," Peavy said. "There's a lot of energy and excitement around the game. Once the second inning comes around, everybody's settled into doing what we do. And then you're just trying to figure out a way to win a big league ballgame."

Peavy added that drawing upon his previous Opening Day experiences will help him balance the thrill of the moment with professional obligations. He pitched four consecutive season openers for San Diego (2006-09), posting a 3-1 record with a 1.33 ERA. That stretch included a 7-0 victory at AT&T Park in 2007 over the Giants and newly-acquired left-hander Barry Zito.

Peavy also started and won for the Chicago White Sox in the Tigers' 2012 home opener at Detroit. He yielded two runs and two hits in 6 2/3 innings in a 5-2 decision over Max Scherzer. Probably the highest-profile game Peavy has pitched at AT&T Park was the 2007 All-Star Game. He started for the National League and pitched a scoreless inning before the AL generated a 5-4 triumph.

• Giants center fielder Denard Span was out of Wednesday's lineup with a touch of the flu. The same ailment recently nagged catcher Buster Posey and left-hander Madison Bumgarner.

Gregor Blanco replaced Span in center, while left fielder Angel Pagan occupied the vacated leadoff spot in the batting order.

• The San Francisco Police Department recorded the first home save of the season by recovering the motorized scooter that Giants right fielder Hunter Pence donated to the Greater Bay Area branch of Make-A-Wish. The scooter, which had been autographed by Pence and auctioned for charity last year, was recently stolen from the Make-A-Wish offices. SFPD will return the scooter on Thursday morning in an AT&T Park ceremony, and police chief Greg Suhr and other department officials will be on hand to present it to the winning bidder's family and Patricia Wilson, executive director and CEO of Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area.

Duffy's solo blast

• Third baseman Matt Duffy maintained the Giants' streak of homering in all three games to start the season when he led off the second inning against Milwaukee's Taylor Jungmann with a drive that landed on the left-center-field pavilion. According to Statcast™, Duffy's clout landed 424 feet away from home plate, making it the longest home run of his career. He's beginning his second full season in the Majors.

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