Rewind: Giants vs. Cardinals, Game #2

The St. Louis Cardinals have averaged close to six runs per game this season and sit among the league leaders in virtually every offensive category. So, coming off a game in which they allowed only one run to the most prolific offensive club in the NL, the San Francisco Giants had to fear the law of averages. They hoped to come up with another strong pitching performance and keep the St. Louis hitters in check as they went up against tough ten-game winner Woody Williams.

July 1, 2003 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
San Francisco 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 8 0
St. Louis 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 0

WP J. Brower (4-1) 6IP 5H 1R 1ER 1BB 2SO 0HR 3.83 ERA
LP W. Williams (10-3) 7IP 6H 5R 5ER 2BB 2SO 1HR 3.18 ERA

The Giants scored five runs off of Williams right away. Leadoff hitter Ray Durham doubled down the left field line to open the game, and Neifi Perez picked up his 1000th career hit with an unusual bloop slap bunt over the head of third baseman Scott Rolen. With Durham at third and Perez at first, Marquis Grissom drove in his 39th run of the season with a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Barry Bonds followed the sac fly with a first-pitch double that split the gap in left center, scoring Perez from first, and Benito Santiago brought Bonds home with a ground rule double. With two down and Santiago still at second, Jose Cruz, Jr. stepped into the box with two hits in three career at-bats against Williams, including a home run. After running the count full, Cruz hit his second career bomb off the St. Louis starter and put the Giants up 5-0.

That five-run first inning gave right-hander Jim Brower a significant cushion before he'd thrown a single pitch. Brower, who hadn't made a major league start since late in the 2001 season, was called upon by manager Felipe Alou to spot start against the Cardinals when struggling starter Damian Moss was moved to the bullpen. Brower was on a strict pitch count of 75 pitches, and expected to pitch four or five innings at best.

Brower exceeded expectations, throwing 73 pitches through six full innings and giving up only one run to the potent St. Louis offense. The run came in the second inning, his longest of the game, on an RBI single off the bat of first-baseman Tino Martinez. Brower gave up five hits in total, walking only one while striking out two. He was the beneficiary of a solidly played defensive game, getting help in particular from reserve shortstop Perez on a hard-hit fourth-inning grounder that turned into a double play. After throwing 65 pitches in the first five innings, Brower was sent back to the mound in the sixth to face the heart of the Cardinals' order, with both a lefty and a righty already warming in the bullpen. He responded by throwing only eight pitches to retire Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, and Scott Rolen in order.

Neither team scored a run after the second inning. Williams, who lasted seven innings despite throwing 33 pitches in the first inning alone, gave up only one hit after the first, and relievers Steve Kline and Jeff Fassero combined to blank the Giants over the final two frames. Brower was followed by righties Joe Nathan, Felix Rodriguez, and Tim Worrell, who held the Cardinals to just one hit through the ultimate third of the game to preserve the win for Brower and the Giants.

SFDugout's Player of the Game: Jose Cruz, Jr. has started to look more comfortable at the plate lately, and the San Francisco bullpen performed admirably in the game, but Jim Brower deserves the accolade. He pitched six innings of economic, efficient baseball against a dangerous offensive team and gave his teammates all they needed to hold on for their 50th win of the season.



Stephanie Moy is a diehard Giants fan, born and raised in San Francisco. She loves hearing feedback - good, bad, or otherwise - so if you're so obliged, contact her at a_hole_in_the_bucket@hotmail.com

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