Rewind: Giants vs. Dodgers, Game #1

Schmidt returns, and he admits he no idea what he's doing. Well, at least it's working.

Ignorance must be bliss.

Jason Schmidt’s successful return from the DL was brief, only 5 innings, but it was capped by Schmidt hitting his first home run since last year. Schmidt said about it, "I was looking to hit the ball to right field, so that tells you I don't know what I'm doing."

Whatever he’s doing, it seems to be right, or at least enough. Enough for a 5-3 win over the hated Dodgers.

Schmidt’s return was a battle, especially in the first couple of innings, with Los Angeles Dodger batters fouling off numerous pitches to run up Schmidt’s pitch count, and a blown call by second base umpire Dan Iassonga led to the Dodgers getting an early run.

The blown call came on Milton Bradley’s steal of second base with nobody out. Omar Vizquel laid a high tag on Bradley which television replays clearly showed beat Bradley tagging the base. The Giants seemed to get some poetic justice when center fielder Jason Ellison threw Bradley out at the plate by at least half the basepath, but the sequence of events would lead to a run. Catcher Jason Phillips walked with Bradley on second, and went all the way to third on Ellison’s throw home. Phillips then scored from third on Weaver’s infield hit, and clearly wouldn’t have if he had been on second.

Luckily, the Giants brushed that aside, and again overcame their difficulties. After the Dodgers got that lead in the 2nd inning, Ray Durham led off the bottom half with a double, and would score on Edgardo Alfonzo’s single. The next inning would see Schmidt’s home run, a solo shot to give the Giants the lead.

In the 4th inning, the Giants found themselves with runners on 1st and 3rd with Mike Matheny up. Matheny attempted to exploit the young Dodgers’ third baseman Antonio Perez, who was playing back, by bunting for a hit and loading the bases for newfound batting threat Schmidt, but the ball rolled foul. So Matheny slugged for himself, and hit a 3 run homer deep into the left center bleachers.

But the game belonged to Schmidt, who did have some control problems, and gave up 2 more runs in the 5th, including balking one in.

“At the end, I had a little bout with control problems and stuff, but it's something to build on and the next game I'll go a little further,” Schmidt said, after the game, but his teammates did not seem discouraged.

"It's nice to have him back," Scott Eyre said. "He pitched five innings and that's a starting block. He'll expect to go more next time -- he's a competitor. Other than the one inning [fifth], he looked pretty darn good."

"He's an ace on any staff, and it's great to have been back," added Matheny. "The thing was, before he went on the DL, he still had better stuff than the majority of guys in the big leagues. But he knew he wasn't right and wasn't helping this team pitching through pain and weakness -- it's a tough deal."

"It was good," said manager Felipe Alou. "There was a lot of inspiration early with the offense. I saw 95 [mph], which we haven't seen all year, and a lot of strikes."

Matheny summed it up, “There's no question it's a shot in the arm." Player of the Game: Schmidt. Who else? His return wasn’t exactly dominating, but it showed shades of the ace that Giants fans are used to seeing, and it’s encouraging. With so many Giants who have gone on the DL or been rusty, it’s a great change of pace to get good news. With the win, the Giants closed in on first place by a half game to 4.5 back of the new front runner, the San Diego Padres (Who beat the Arizona Diamondbacks, who were the first place team coming into today). On a 3 game winning streak and a chance to take over 3rd place from Los Angeles, it’s clear the Giants are still within striking distance of first place in a division that has no dominant team.

Game Notes: The Giants will send Brett Tomko against Wilson Alvarez for Wednesday night. Alvarez is making the start in place of Odalis Perez, who went on the DL with soreness in his throwing shoulder…To make room for Schmidt, the Giants sent Jeremy Accardo to Fresno. Although the move is a demotion, it’s a promotion overall as Accardo had been throwing in AA Norwich when he was called up…Jeff Fassero pitched out of the bullpen after moving back into relief with Schmidt’s return. Fassero started Saturday’s game, and has been very effective, whether as a reliever or spot starter for the Giants, despite being the eldest of a famously old team at 42…Ray Durham, with two doubles, extended his hitting streak to 13 games.

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