Rewind: Padres vs Giants, Game #3

The San Francisco Giants, entering Wednesday night's game with the opportunity to clinch a playoff berth as the NL West champs, made it official with a 8-3 win over the San Diego Padres. Combined with a Dodger defeat at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Francisco's 93rd victory of the season eliminated the second-place Dodgers from playoff contention. The Giants became the ninth team in major league history, the first since the Seattle Mariners did it in 2001, to go wire to wire.

September 17, 2003 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
San Diego 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 7 0
San Francisco 0 2 2 0 2 1 0 1 x 8 12 0

WP J. Schmidt (16-5) 7IP 7H 3R 3ER 0BB 11SO 1HR 2.33 ERA
LP M. Bynum (0-3) 4 2/3IP 7H 6R 6ER 1BB 3SO 2HR 8.78 ERA

The Giants were down early against San Diego. Jason Schmidt looked rusty in the early goings, giving up three runs in the first two innings on five hits, including two triples and a home run. However, San Francisco stormed back in the third against Padres starter Mike Bynum. With two out and nobody on base, Benito Santiago singled through the left side of the infield to record the Giants' first hit of the game. Andres Galarraga stepped up to the plate four home runs shy of 400 in his career and helped his cause, smoking a first-pitch line drive way up into the left center field bleachers to cut San Diego's lead to one run. After Schmidt retired the side in order in the third, the Giants struck for two more as Marquis Grissom took the grand tour, following Ray Durham's one-out single with his 18th home run of the season.

Staked to a 4-3 lead, Schmidt locked into a rhythm, striking out the side in the fourth and getting the Padres 1-2-3 in the fifth to set up another two-out, two-run Giant rally in the bottom of the fifth. Back-to-back singles from Durham and Grissom chased Bynum from the game in favor of San Diego's long man, veteran right-hander Joe Roa. Roa received a rude welcome from shortstop Rich Aurilia, who singled to plate Durham and move Grissom over to third base. That brought Barry Bonds to the plate with runners at the corners. After hitting two consecutive pitches deep and foul into the bay, he grounded a single through the shift to put the Giants ahead 6-3.

It was a lead the Giants were determined to hold. Schmidt struck out the side again in the sixth, and the Giants tacked on another run in the bottom of the inning on Jose Cruz's sacrifice fly. Schmidt struck out two more in the seventh to bring his game total to eleven, all of which came in his last five innings of work.

The pitch count eventually caught up with Schmidt, who had thrown 103 pitches through seven strong. He was relieved by setup man Joe Nathan, who needed only eleven pitches to mow down the Padres' 2-3-4 hitters in a tidy eighth inning.

The Giants added yet another insurance run in the bottom half of the frame when Cruz legged out a two-out infield single to score Edgardo Alfonzo from third, making it 8-3 in favor of San Francisco. With the scoreboard reading 2-0 Arizona into the ninth at Dodger Stadium, relievers Scott Eyre and Felix Rodriguez combined to shut down the Padres in the top of the ninth, closing out the win for the National League leaders.

Their magic number down to 1, the San Francisco dugout emptied onto the field. As the Giants finished congratulating one another, the Dodger game feed came on over the scoreboard to show one out in the bottom of the ninth and Arizona closer Matt Mantei on the mound. The Giants joined the crowd of over 40,000 at PacBell Park as spectators, watching as Adrian Beltre sent center fielder Steve Finley chasing a ball in the gap, only to overslide the second base bag and become the second out of the inning. With an emphatic "Beat LA!" chant resonating throughout the stadium, the Giants stood anxiously in front of their dugout, eyes locked on the screen. Jeromy Burnitz, LA's last hope, worked the count to two balls, two strikes before popping Mantei's 2-2 pitch straight up into the air. The Giants watched it land in the glove of catcher Robby Hammock, and then they threw up their hands in triumph as the celebration in San Francisco began.

Game Notes: Mike Bynum went down swinging to end the top of the fourth inning and became Jason Schmidt's 200th strikeout victim of the season. Schmidt is the first Giant pitcher to record 200 strikeouts in a season since John Montefusco did it in 1975.

SFDugout's Players of the Game: Jason Schmidt and Andres Galarraga. For the first two innings, Schmidt looked as shaky as he has all year, giving up a lot of loud contact and surrendering three earned runs. However, from the third inning through the seventh, he was lights out, giving up only two more hits and striking out eleven. He kept the Giants in the game and picked up his career-high sixteenth win of the season. Galarraga provided the spark that his team sorely needed, crushing a two-run homer in the second inning to give life to the fans and to the San Francisco dugout. With that home run, he now stands only three away from 400.

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

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