Rewind: Giants Vs. Padres, Game #1

A mostly well-played game for the Giants, but just not enough offense to beat Woody Williams and the Padres.

Maybe Alex Smith can pull a Deion Sanders and pitch for the San Francisco Giants as well. Hopefully he won’t need to.

On a day in which the San Francisco Forty Niners’ amicable #1 draft pick visited the broadcast booth and Jerome Williams took a trip down to the minors to work on his mechanics, the Giants’ bids at playing catch-up with looping base hits fell short in a 5-3 Padres victory at SBC Park.

Giants starter Noah Lowry lost his second consecutive decision after starting his career undefeated last season, as he gave up eight hits in 5 1/3 borderline effective innings. His troubles began early, with Padres first baseman Phil Nevin doubling home a run in the first. The Giants matched the run in the bottom of the first with an Edgardo Alfonzo bloop double off of Padres starter Woody Williams that plated J.T. Snow, but Giants killer Geoff Blum hit a two-run home run in the top of the second for a 3-1 Padres lead.

After two scoreless frames, the Giants followed with a rally in the fifth. After a leadoff single by Mike Matheny and a sacrifice bunt by Noah Lowry, Ray Durham followed with a sharp single to center that put runners on the corners with one out. An Omar Vizquel broken bat single to left then scored Matheney and moved Durham to third. J.T. Snow followed with a towering popup to shallow left center that no Padre really seemed to want. The ball dropped for a bloop single that scored Durham to tie the game 5-5.

The lead was, alas, short-lived. In the bottom of the inning, the Padres first hit Lowry’s pitches hard, then Blum’s comeback single almost hit Lowry and plated Padres center fielder Xavier Nady as the Padres retook the lead. Blum’s single knocked Lowry out of the game, and another Giants killer, Padres second baseman Mark Loretta, followed by digging out a single from an Al Levine pitch for another RBI single and a 5-3 Padres lead.

The Giants again had a rally going in the bottom of the eighth against former Giant Scott Linebrink, but Linebrink and the Padres escaped unscathed. Trevor Hoffman came on in the ninth and faced four batters, striking out three to end the ballgame.

SFDugout Player of the Game:
Alex Smith. Just kidding – Matheny. Two hits tonight for the hard-working Giants catcher, and a lot of what he contributes on a daily basis just doesn’t end up on the stat sheet. Example: with two runners on and two strikes on Ryan Klesko in the top of the eighth inning, Matheny elected to walk up to the mound and verbally give Giants reliever Scott Eyre the next pitch sign, thereby avoiding any chance of confusion or sign stealing by the Padres on base. Eyre’s next pitch was thrown without a sign from Matheny, and the curve struck out Klesko and retired the side. Sweet.

Game Notes:
Williams’ demotion actually comes at an opportune time in the schedule, since due to off-days the Giants cam go a few weeks without a fifth starter and still keep everyone’s position in the rotation. The key is to get Jerome, who missed a chunk of spring training to tend to his ailing father back in Hawaii, back on track… Levine pitched well in his Giants debut. With a nice sinker and zero runs given up during spring training, it’s amazing he didn’t start the season in the majors, with the Giants or another team… Some really fine defensive plays by the Giants in tonight’s game. Snow dove on his belly to get a force out in the sixth, Moises Alou made a running catch right up against the right field fence to end the same inning, Durham leapt over more than a few anthills to rob his counterpart Loretta of a base hit in the eighth, and Alfonzo picked a hot shot by Ramon Hernandez in the ninth.

Don Shin eats, breathes, thinks, and bleeds in Orange and Black. Pac Bell Park officially opened on his 25th birthday (the one year he decided to move out of the Bay Area!!!). For the 2000 playoff drive, he dyed his hair orange while studying in Korea. He watched Game 6 of the '02 World Series at a restaurant in LA, and couldn't finish his meal afterwards. Feel free to write him at to commiserate, cheer, and complain.

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