Rewind: Dodgers vs Giants, Game #4

Felix Rodriguez gets a hit, Yorvit Torrealba gets a bunt single, Marvin Bernard makes a spectacular throw to prevent the Dodgers to get into scoring position, and then drives home the game winner... A nail-biter to the end, literally. This is what the Giants-Dodgers rival is all about.

April 13, 2003 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 R H E
Los Angeles 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 14 1
San Francisco 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 11 1

WP J. Brower (2-0) 1.0IP 1H 0R 0ER 1BB 1K 0HR 2.26 ERA
LP A. Ashby (0-2) 0.2IP 2H 1R 1ER 0BB 0R 0HR 6.76 ERA

Bring out the brooms, Giants fans! The Giants have swept the Dodgers in their first match up. The game got started early, and it was a difficult start for both starting pitchers, Jason Schmidt and Kevin Brown. In the first inning, Schmidt gave up a bunt single, a hit, and a walk, but then got a double play ball. After that Schmidt seemed more confident in his pitches.

Throughout the night, the umpires did not make it easy for either teams, but a key call in the third inning turned the game into a 12 inning marathon when it could have been an easy 9 innings. Pitchers and batters on both sides were getting frustrated with the calls. Yet Brown seemed to know the strike zone of home plate umpire, Mark Hirschbeck, and delivered the ball just at the lower outside corner every time, leaving the dumbfounded Giants batters to curse and question as they walk back to the dugout.

In the top of the first inning, Dave Roberts scored on a hit by Caesar Izturis. In the bottom of the first, Ray Durham tagged and went to hird base on a deep flyout from Rich Aurilia. After Barry Bonds walked, Jose Cruz, Jr. hit a sacrifice fly to deep center, which scored Durham and moved Edgardo Alfonzo to third base. J.T. Snow hit a ground ball through a hole up the middle of the infield and Alfonzo scored.

In the top of the second inning, Roberts hit an RBI single to score Alex Cora and tie the game.

In the top of the third, Schmidt pitched a beautiful fastball just a little on the outside corner to Daryle Ward, a pitch that had been previously been called a strike by the home plate umpire. [The umpire ruled it a ball and with disbelief, Schmidt pitched another hittable pitch, but this time Ward got a hit off which scored Shawn Green and Brian Jordan.] If Ward had been called out on the previous pitch, the Dodgers would not have scored those two runs, and the game probably would not have gone into extra innings. This was just the beginning of the umpire's bad calls.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Bonds was walked and Snow got his 13th RBI by bringing Bonds home with a triple. Yorvit Torrealba, who was the Giants' starting catcher as Benito Santiago was given the day off, bunted with two outs and scored Snow to tie the game.

After pitching six innings and battling through bad calls by the umpire, Schmidt was relieved by southpaw Scott Eyre. Eyre pitched a third of an inning and gave up two hits. Joe Nathan relieved Eyre, pitching a solid rest of the 7th inning and all of the 8th inning. Tim Worrell came into the ninth and pitched successfully as well. The Giants just could not find their offensive groove, so the game went into the 10th inning.

Felix Rodriguez came into the game in the 10th, giving up a few hits. None of it did any damage as the Giants went into the bottom of the 10th with the score still tied. With two outs, Rodriguez got a rare chance to bat. To everyone's suprise, not only did Rodriguez get a hit, but he broke his bat into three pieces while doing it. Ladies and gentlemen, tip your hats to Felix Rodriguez for pitching the 10th and 11th inning solidly, and for entertaining us with that amusing single.

In the eleventh inning, Torrealba gave the Dodgers a taste of his defense. Bunts seemed to be a theme that the Dodgers had going for them, but Torrealba put a stop to that as he picked up a bunted ball and threw it to Aurilia covering third base for a force out. Rodriguez earned a strikeout as the runners on first and second attempted a double steal. As soon as Torrealba caught the strike in his glove, he gunned the ball to Alfonzo, who was covering third, for a double play to end the inning. In the bottom of the eleventh inning, the Dodgers sent in their closer, Eric Gagne, who led the NL in saves last season. After getting Alfonzo out, Gagne didn't want to have anything to do with Aurilia because of Aurilia's past success against him, so Aurilia was walked on four pitches. After being thoroughly amused by this, Giants' fans (at least the ones that stayed for the rest of the game) at Pac Bell Park were on their feet, waiting for Bonds to hit one out of the park. Gagne took care of Bonds and Cruz easily and the game went into the 12th inning.

As the game went into extra innings, the home plate umpire continued to be very inconsistent with the strike zone, especially in the outer corner. It seemed like he called the strike depending on whenever he felt like it, not depending on whether or not it was in the strike zone. Three victims of these calls were Marquis Grissom, Snow, and even Alfonzo. Alfonzo, who is regularly a quiet guy, had a few words to say to the home plate umpire after being called out looking on a strike well outside the strike zone. One could only imagine how this game went on into extra innings with the calls that were being made. The Dodgers cleared out their bench and sent in their entire bullpen to face the Giants in the extra innings. The Giants sent out everyone in their bullpen but newcomer Jesse Foppert and lefty Chad Zerbe.

Since the Dodgers were so "go-for-it" with emptying out their bench, Felipe Alou decided to give Marvin Benard a shot and also to give Cruz a little break. Alou didn't expect Benard to produce as much as he did, on both ends. In the top of the 12th, a ball was hit into right field, and, wanting to cut off a runner approaching third base and possibly rounding home, Benard fired the ball to Alfonzo, who caught the ball and tagged the runner out to prevent any Dodger from being in scoring position. Not only was Benard's throw powerful, but it was accurate. It was not thrown too high, but just low enough for Alfonzo to be able to tag the runner out. So much for being cold on the bench for 11 innings.

In the bottom of the twelfth inning, Marquis Grissom doubled and Benard gave the Giants a hit to drive Grissom home for the win. Player of the Game: There is a list of about 6, not including the Giants bullpen, but this honor belongs to the well-deserving Marvin Benard. He sat on the bench for eleven innings and got his chance to shine in the twelfth by not only driving home the winning run, but also making an amazing defensive play to prevent the Dodgers to get into scoring position. Good defense equals good offense. Hats off to Marvin.

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