Five Giants' homeruns, ignited by Ray Durham's ninth leadoff homer of the season, helped power the San Francisco assault. Durham's blast increased his career total to 34, tying him with Devon White for fifth on the all-time list. Pedro Feliz, Marquis Grissom, Deivi Cruz, and Jason Ellison also went deep for the Giants.
During the game, however, San Francisco watched their season end at Los Angeles when the scoreboard indicated a Houston Astros victory over the Colorado Rockies, 5-3, clinching the National League wild card for the resurgent Astros.
"It's hard to reflect on the whole season -- it was a meaningful game until the third inning, and it was kind of a letdown after that," said Giants starter Jason Schmidt. "All in all, as a team we had a great year."
Schmidt himself had a great year and would have made an excellent campaign for the NL Cy Young award if not for a groin injury that hampered him down the stretch. He highlighted his strong 2004 season with his career-high 18th win on Sunday by throwing six innings of shutout ball, while striking out nine and walking two.
The nine strikeouts raised Schmidt's season total to 251, surpassing Juan Marichal's mark of 248 set in 1963 as the most in San Francisco history.
Another Giants All-Star to make history on Sunday was Barry Bonds, who became the oldest player to win a batting title by finishing the season with a .362 mark. Bonds also broke his own record of most walks in a season with 232 and an on-base percentage of .609 shatters his old record-setting numbers in 2002.
"Now you guys can go to the Dodgers and the Angels and the Yankees and Boston and Houston and go bother them," said a dejected Bonds. "We controlled our own fate, we lost yesterday. That's the bottom line. I mean, you're upset, but you move on. It's life. It's baseball. Just turn it off and go to the next thing."
Sadly for Giants fans, the soonest the "next thing" will take place would be April 5, 2005, when they open the 2005 season against these very same Dodgers at 24 Willie Mays Plaza. Otherwise, the orange black faithful will have to wait until after the World Series has concluded, when potentially available players can file for free agency, to see some action. God knows it's a long time from now until Opening Day 2005.
Game Notes: Jesse Foppert made his first and only appearance in 2004 when he pitched a scoreless inning in the bottom of the eighth. He will pitch in Puerto Rico for the winter… Ellison's homer in the top of the ninth was his first as a major leaguer. He will head to Mexico for winter ball… Dustan Mohr, who suffered a strained left patellar tendon last Wednesday in San Diego, has recovered from what seemed to be a serious injury… Giants' manager Felipe Alou and Giants' President Peter Magowan congratulated Dodgers' manager Jim Tracy after the game on L.A.'s first division title in nine years.
SFDugout.com players of the game: Despite falling one game short, the nod goes to the entire San Francisco Giants team for their resilience and perseverance. The Giants started the season 15-23, but proceeded to win 10 in a row to right their ship in-season. The season ultimately ended in a disappointing loss on Saturday and mid-game on Sunday, but the Giants should not hang their heads because they battled all season and remained competitive despite what the so-called baseball experts had to say about them, some which picked San Francisco to finish dead last in a wide-open NL West.
Phil Delacruz was a transplanted Giants fan, buried in the Southland. After four strenuous years in College, studying (read: partying), he's back in the beautiful "City by the Bay" – San Francisco. Do you think he should move back to LALA land? Or do you like him where he is now and appreciate the good reads? Either way, send him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org to air out your frustrations or, more likely, songs of praise.
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