Rewind: Diamondbacks vs Giants, Game #2

Game 2 between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Francisco Giants promised to be a tight one, pitting Arizona ace Curt Schilling against Cy Young front-runner Jason Schmidt. However, although the game was tight, it wasn't the low-scoring pitcher's duel that many expected to see, as neither pitcher was on top of his game.

September 6, 2003 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
Arizona 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 4 9 0
San Francisco 0 0 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 7 2

WP S. Eyre (2-1) 2/3IP 0H 0R 0ER 0BB 0SO 0HR 3.51 ERA
LP M. Mantei (5-4) 2/3IP 1H 1R 1ER 3BB 0SO 0HR 2.68 ERA

The Diamondbacks drew first blood against Schmidt, getting a double from slumping center fielder Steve Finley to lead off the third inning. After Matt Kata struck out on three consecutive failed bunt attempts, Luis Gonzalez drove Finley in with a single into center field and the Diamondbacks had a 1-0 lead.

Schilling couldn't hold it, giving up two runs in the bottom half of the frame. After striking out the first two batters of the inning, Eric Young singled, and JT Snow coaxed a walk. Marquis Grissom, hitting over .300 against Schilling in his career, scalded a 1-0 pitch deep to left field and over the head of Gonzalez, plating Young. The ball caromed past Gonzalez, allowing JT Snow to score all the way from first base to put the Giants ahead 2-1.

The Giants extended their lead with a two-spot in the fourth against Schilling, banging out four singles in the inning. With runners at first and second and one out, Jason Schmidt laid down his 14th sacrifice bunt of the season to put two men in scoring position. Young then picked up his second hit of the game off Schilling, an infield single that brought in Rich Aurilia from third. Snow, hitting well under the Mendoza line against the ace right-hander, followed with a single of his own to drove in the Giants' fourth run of the game.

Staked to a 4-1 lead, Schmidt had a 1-2-3 fifth inning but began to show signs of tiring. Raul Mondesi, who has burned the Giants in recent series between the two teams, smoked the first pitch of the sixth inning over the left center field wall to close the gap to two runs. Schmidt retired the first two batters of the seventh, but then gave up a single to Finley and walked pinch-hitter Felix Jose to put the tying runs on base for Gonzalez. Gonzalez immediately fell behind in the count 0-2 but then fouled off a tough pitch from Schmidt and got a pitch he liked. He stroked it into the right center field gap for a game-tying two-run double, chasing Schmidt from the game. With the tying run in scoring position, Joe Nathan came in from the bullpen and struck out Mondesi on three pitches to strand Gonzalez at second.

Oscar Villarreal came on in the bottom of the seventh and pitched two hitless innings, while Nathan retired the side in order in the eighth and the teams remained tied into the ninth. Tim Worrell entered the game in the top of the ninth, and an outstanding defensive play by the second baseman Young kept pinch-hitter Carlos Baerga from getting on base. It turned out to be a key effort, as Steve Finley then doubled and went to third on a passed ball by Benito Santiago, his second of the game. With a runner at third and only one out, Junior Spivey came up to try to punch a ball through a hole on the drawn-in infield. But Spivey couldn't deliver, striking out on a 2-2 pitch to leave it up to his teammates. As it turned out, it would not be left up to Luis Gonzalez, who received an intentional walk from Worrell to set it up for Mondesi. Mondesi took a first-pitch ball but then swung at the next pitch and grounded into a force out to leave Finley at third.

Rookie phenom Jose Valverde pitched the bottom of the ninth and retired the Giants' 2-3-4 hitters to send the game into extra innings. After Worrell kept the Diamondbacks off the bases in the top of the tenth, Barry Bonds came up to the plate, already with three walks in the game. Despite the omnipresent threat of a game-ending round-tripper off the bat of the league's leading home run hitter, manager Bob Brenly and Valverde opted to pitch to him. Brenly's faith in his young arm paid off as Valverde got Bonds on a groundout and then set down the next two hitters to push the game into the eleventh.

Robby Hammock grounded the first pitch from San Francisco reliever Matt Herges through the hole for a leadoff single. Brenly then brought in pitcher Elmer Dessens, slated to start Game 3 of the series, to try to bunt Hammock over to second. Dessens could not execute, striking out on a foul bunt attempt. Southpaw Scott Eyre then replaced Herges, coming in to face Finley, who already had four hits in the game to help himself out of a slump. However, Eyre retired Finley on a flyout and then got Spivey to ground out to end the inning.

That set it up for a Giant rally in the bottom of the eleventh. Edgardo Alfonzo led off the inning with a single against Arizona closer Matt Mantei, recording the first hit for the Giants since Snow's RBI single in the fourth. Jose Cruz, Jr. bunted Alfonzo over to second base, and then Mantei lost the strike zone. He walked pinch-hitter Yorvit Torrealba, and after Young became the second out of the inning, Mantei walked Snow on four straight fastballs up high, loading the bases. Grissom, who had only sixteen walks through the entire season coming into the at-bat, took a 2-0 fastball for a strike and then took the 2-1 out of the strike zone. With the bases loaded and nowhere to put Grissom, Mantei threw the 3-1 pitch high and inside, and Alfonzo trotted home to score the winning run.

It was the Giants' 26th one-run victory of the season; their 8th in extra innings against just two overtime losses, and their 86th overall win of the year.

SFDugout's Players of the Game: Edgardo Alfonzo, Marquis Grissom, and the bullpen. The quartet of Nathan, Worrell, Herges and Eyre was outstanding, wriggling in and out of trouble to hold Arizona scoreless over the final 4 1/3. Edgardo Alfonzo had the hit that fueled the winning rally, and Marquis Grissom drew only his 17th walk of the year but made it count, picking up the game-winning RBI. Eric Young is also deserving of recognition, making a crucial contribution with his defensive play in the ninth.



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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