Eighth-inning standoff enlivens Torres' opener

Eighth-inning standoff enlivens Torres' opener

Eighth-inning standoff enlivens Torres' opener
LOS ANGELES -- Andres Torres' first career Opening Day start fell short of his fondest hopes as his San Francisco Giants dropped a 2-1 decision Thursday to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"We have to come back tomorrow," said Torres, delivering his typical response after a Giants defeat.

That resilience was evident even as Torres went 0-for-4. His eighth-inning at-bat demonstrated his refusal to give up, one of the defining traits of a career that enabled him to weather 11 professional seasons with five organizations before he found a home with San Francisco in 2009.

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Though the Giants couldn't capitalize on pinch-hitter Mark DeRosa's leadoff walk in the eighth inning when San Francisco trailed, 1-0, Torres strived, albeit fruitlessly, to help the rally mushroom.

He and Dodgers reliever Hong-Chih Kuo engaged in the evening's most intense pitcher-hitter confrontation, a 12-pitch standoff that ended when Torres flied out to right. Torres fouled off a pair of 2-2 pitches and took ball three before fouling off four full-count deliveries.

"I felt better in that at-bat," said Torres, who struck out against Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw in each of his first two plate appearances. "I saw the ball better."

In Torres' third trip to the plate, he hit a ball that briefly appeared destined to be an RBI single. Tim Lincecum was on first base, having forced out Pablo Sandoval with a sacrifice-bunt attempt, and Brandon Belt was on third with two outs in the fifth inning.

Torres smacked a one-hopper to the left of shortstop Rafael Furcal. The ball had the trajectory of a base hit but lacked the pace. Furcal speared it and threw to second base to retire Lincecum.

"I thought I had it," Torres said, though he proceeded to point out -- literally -- why he didn't. Torres picked up a bat and fingered an area near the label.

As anybody who has swung a bat knows, that was a little too far from the precious hitting zone.

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.