SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. The names on the backs of the jerseys are the same, and the Giants made it clear Saturday that their game will remain the same, too.
The defending World Series champions scored their first run of the spring in familiar fashion. Angel Pagan led off the fourth inning with a single, stole second, took third on a groundout to the right side by Marco Scutaro and scored when Pablo Sandoval singled to right. Small ball and pitching won the Giants a championship last fall, and in front of a sellout crowd at Scottsdale Stadium, it led to a 4-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
"That was right where we left off," manager Bruce Bochy said, smiling.
There was, however, one glaring difference in the first Giants game since the World Series. Sandoval, under orders to work on his conditioning all spring, was surprisingly put into motion on a hit-and-run and rumbled home from first when Jackson Williams lined a double into left field. As he approached the dugout, all Sandoval saw was laughing teammates.
"I was just hoping he wouldn't fall," Pagan said. "That's a long run for him."
Sandoval said it got longer as it wore on.
"I stepped on third base and home plate was moving away," he joked.
For a team that counts chemistry as one of its greatest assets, Sandoval's mad dash was a reminder of how much fun these Giants have when they're winning. Bochy even got into the act, saying he told Sandoval that it looks difficult to carry a piano around the bases.
"And then he stopped to play a song between third and home," Bochy said.
The levity and the Angels' Double-A lineup made for a quick, easy day for the defending champions. After an intense October, they're here to stay healthy and get in their work before embarking on what they hope will be a similar path. Sandoval spoke for many when he said he doesn't want the goals to change, and emphatically stated that he doesn't care if he hits more homers or drives in more runs than he did last year.
"I play my game and see what happens," he said. "That was our game (today)."
Nobody enjoyed the familiar style more than Pagan, who knows he'll get plenty of opportunities to run with the patient Scutaro hitting behind him. There's a reason Pagan talked to Scutaro every day when the two were free agents in November.
"This is how we won," Pagan said. "We play the game right. We all know we're not a home run-hitting team, but if we play the game the right way, we can be as deadly as the home run-hitting teams."
Notes Ryan Vogelsong said he accomplished everything he needed to in two innings of work. He gave up two hits but no runs in his first tuneup for the World Baseball Classic.
Hector Sanchez was held out because of shoulder soreness, but Bochy said the injury isn't serious and Sanchez will return to throwing Monday. Sanchez said he hurt his shoulder while playing winter ball.
Brandon Crawford, Andres Torres and Gregor Blanco had the day off and will highlight today's lineup, along with Brandon Belt, who was Saturday's designated hitter. Bochy said the rest of the regular position players would get today off.
Highly touted prospect Gary Brown is in line for a long look in the outfield this spring and got off to a good start, roping a double to left in his first at-bat. He scored on two groundouts.