Rewind: Astros vs Giants, Game #1

The Giants are entertaining the Houston Astro's in a three game series. Lance Berkman had the day off, but they still had power hitters in their line up, like Craig Biggio and now Jeff Kent. Pitching would have to come through for the Giants to keep this game tight.

April 14, 2003 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Houston 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 7 1
San Francisco 0 1 0 0 0 3 0 0 x 4 6 1

WP D. Moss (2-0) 6.0IP 5H 1R 1ER 3BB 3K 0HR 3.24 ERA
LP W. Miller (0-1) 5.1IP 4H 4R 4ER 4BB 5K 1HR 5.53 ERA
S T. Worrell (6) 1.0IP 2H 1R 1ER 0BB 0K 0HR 2.80 ERA

Jeff Kent played with the Giants for 6 years, driving in 100 runs each year and helped to bring the Giants to the playoffs three of those times. Tonight, Kent made his debut in Pacific Bell Park in a Houston Astros uniform.

The starting pitcher for today's game was southpaw, Damian Moss, who was up against Astros' pitcher, Wade Miller. Moss has pitched 10 2/3 innings and has walked 11. So the key of tonight's game? Control. Moss had to have control of his pitches and try to establish himself on the outside part of the plate.

In the first inning, after getting the first two hitters out, Jeff Bagwell hit a bloop into center and this brought out former Giant, Jeff Kent. Among the crowd there were mixed emotions. Some cheered because Kent was a major impact on the team the last six years, others booed due to his comments on the Giants organization in an article that was released during spring training. One thing was for certain, Kent is no longer a Giant and Moss had to get him out. Kent was 3-7 lifetime against Moss with a homer and a double. Luckily, Kent wouldn't get another hit off of Moss, but did draw a walk. So with two outs, two men on base, Moss would face Richard Hidalgo. Hidalgo struck out on one of Moss's nasty changeups, and the Giants would come up to bat.

Marquis Grissom led off the bottom of the first – Ray Durham had the night off due to what was thought to be a groin strain, however he is fine and was available to pinch-hit. The bottom of the first was quiet for the Giants as Grissom struck out, and Edgardo Alfonzo and Rich Aurilia both grounded out.

In the second, Moss gave up a hit to Astros catcher and birthday boy, Brad Ausmus. This would bring up Julio Lugo, who has not seen Moss pitch much, yet is 4-4 against him, one of which is a homer. Lugo just didn't have that luck tonight against Moss, as he struck out and later in the fourth, would hit one right back to Moss.

Barry Bonds started off the Giants in the bottom of the second with a bomb. The first pitch Bonds saw from Miller was launched into McCovey Cove, giving the Giants a 1-0 lead.

Throughout the next couple innings, Moss wouldn't be too consistent in the strike zone, but with the help of the defense, he'd successfully shut out the Astros. In the fifth, Aurilia shined with some spectacular plays - one that was a bare hand pickup of a ball hit softly by Craig Biggio. He fired it to J.T. Snow, who was covering first, to get out Biggio. The Astros wouldn't leave the inning without scoring. With Brian Hunter at second and Jeff Bagwell at first, Kent singled to right center and pick up and RBI. However, Jose Cruz, Jr. picked up the ball and he fired it to the cutoff man, Snow, who threw it to Alfonzo to tag out Bagwell at third ending the inning. But the Astros had already tied the game.

In the bottom of the sixth, with one out, Aurilia knocked the ball up the middle for a base hit. Bonds and Cruz drew walks, loading the bases for Benito Santiago. Santiago had already grounded out and struck out. This time, he had a disciplined at bat and drew a walk, forcing in Aurilia from third. Miller seemed to have lost all his control and was relieved by Ricky Stone. However, Stone wasn't throwing the strikes either as he gave up the fourth consecutive free pass, this time to Snow and Bonds would score. Perez, who had been lacking with the bat lately, hit the ball right to Kent, who tried to turn a double play. But with Snow sliding in hard and wide, he broke it up, which allowed Cruz to score. It was now 4-1 Giants. Last night's hero, Marvin Benard, would pinch hit for Moss and attempt to work his magic again. Unfortunately, it wouldn't happen and he struck out, stranding two.

It was now the seventh inning, and it was the moment that Giants fans have been waiting for. Pitcher, Jesse Foppert's Major League debut. The 6'6" right-handed pitcher did make his debut in Pacific Bell Park, but it was only for a exhibition game against the Seattle Mariners. He pitched one game in Triple-A Fresno before he was called up, delivering 5 innings against Tacoma (Seattle AAA Affiliate), with 9 SO, no walks, 3 hits and only giving up one run. Tonight, Foppert gave an awesome performance; he retired the Astros in order, with ten pitches and one strike out.

The Giants wouldn't be able to score in the bottom of the seventh, despite loading the bases. Stone gave up a hit and two walks, leaving nowhere to place Bonds. But Bonds hit it right to Bagwell at first and they turned a 3-2-3 double play, preventing Grissom from scoring. Cruz walked intentionally - 12th walk of the season. The walk total from the Astro pitchers to 8. Santiago ended the inning with a pop fly right to centerfielder, Biggio.

Foppert pitched the eighth inning and faced the big hitters of the lineup. He struck out Hunter with a nasty curve. Perez, who made a great defensive play at second, would gun down Bagwell at first. Foppert would issue his first walk to Kent – he was the first base runner allowed by Foppert. The inning successfully ended with the Astros held at 1, as Hidalgo would fly out to Grissom.

The Giants got one more chance to extend their lead in the eighth. Snow continued being hot with a shot down the middle, but Perez, who had been hitless, grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. With two outs, Andres "The Big Cat" Galarraga, who was pinch hitting for Foppert, stuck out to end the inning.

Tim Worrell pitched in the ninth, as Robb Nen is still not ready to reassume his job as closer. With two outs, and Gregg Zaun at first, Geoff Blum hit one high to center. The winds carried it over Grissom's head and Zaun would score, bringing the score to 4-2. Biggio, who did have lifetime success (5-14) against Worrell, grounds out to Snow to end the game.

SFDugout's Player of the Game: Jesse Foppert. When a guy makes his MLB debut and delivers an awesome performance, he deserves to be the player of the game. Foppert went 2 innings, with no hits, one walk and two strike outs and has 0.00 ERA. Those are some nice numbers. Honorable mention goes out to the most unlikely subjects. First, the ball dudes of tonight's game. They made some gold-glove performances. Second, to the fan sitting by the right field foul line. Why? He just gave us some laughs through the game, plus who knows if he distracted Hidalgo, who was trying to catch a foul ball for an out. If that was the fan's intention, it sure did work.

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