Ishikawa swings weight off his shoulders

Ishikawa swings weight off his shoulders

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants first baseman Travis Ishikawa did more than drive in three runs when he tripled in the first inning on Opening Day against the Brewers.

He also lifted a big weight off his shoulders.

"It was huge," Ishikawa said. "Again, anything I can do to help the team win. It was nice to get that first hit out of the way, get the game off on the right foot.

"I've had times before when I've gone probably a week without getting my first hit of the season. You start to press. You start to worry. But to be able to make solid contact and help the team out, that's the most important thing."

Ishikawa won the starting job with a solid Spring Training, displaying slick fielding, solid hitting and surprising power. He hit .302 with seven home runs, tying for the Cactus League lead.

Just don't expect him to be a huge home run threat now that the games count. He doesn't.

"I'm still at a point where I'm just trying to make solid contact, trying to put the ball on the barrel as many times as I can," said Ishikawa, who was out of the starting lineup on Thursday for the first time this season.

"When I try to hit home runs, that's when I'm going to go downhill. Like in Spring Training, I was trying to make solid contact, trying to see the ball. If they go out, that's great."

Entering Thursday's game against the Brewers, Ishikawa was hitting .333. And yes, he was still searching for his first home run.

Eric Gilmore is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.