The Giants half of the first left a sour taste in their mouths. After Michael Tucker garnered a leadoff walk, Omar Vizquel hit a potential double-play ball to first baseman Jeff Kent. Kent missed his target at second and the ball went into shallow left field. Tucker was safe at second, and Vizquel was safe at first. Unfortuantely for the Giants, Tucker got too greedy and raced towards third without any sign from third-base coach Gene Clines. He was promptly thrown out to put a damper on a potential first-inning rally. Vizquel was moved to second on a J.T. Snow groundout but got no further.
After throwing down his batting helmet in protest of a call at first base, Dodgers starter Brad Penny was ejected from the game and relieved by D.J. Houlton. Houlton had no trouble dealing with the Giants in the fourth. In the Dodgers half of the fourth, Antonio Perez hit a two-out single and stole second. He went to third on a wild pitch by Jason Schmidt. After a walk to Jayson Werth, Jason Grabowski hit a single to left, driving in Perez and putting the Dodgers on the board.
The Giants responded a couple innings later with a two-out rally of their own, when three consecutive singles by Snow, Moises Alou and Ray Durham gave the Giants their first run.
With his second error of the night, Kent gave the Giants a huge break when Jason Ellison was safe at first in the seventh. Adam Shabala pinch-hit for Schmidt and hit a single to right, moving Ellison to second. Michael Tucker grounded out to the catcher, moving the runners to second and third. Vizquel became the hero of the night with one swing of the bat, lifting one to right to score three runs and give the Giants a solid 4-1 lead.
Unfortunately for the Giants, their lead was not as comfortable as it looked. Relief pitcher Scott Munter did not quite have his best stuff. With one out, Ricky Ledee walked, and Oscar Robles singled to move Ledee to third. Mike Edwards grounded out to second, scoring Ledee and moving Robles to second. After walking Kent, the Giants went with LaTroy Hawkins. He gave up a ground-rule double to Jason Phillips, but got through the rest of the inning and breezed through the eighth, setting the tables for Tyler Walker, who earned his 14th save of the season.
SFDugout.com Player of the Game: Omar Vizquel His three-run shot really gave the Giants the boost they needed to pull this one off. An honorable mention goes to Jeff Kent. If he werent such an awful first baseman, wed have lost this game!
Tyler Walker has not given up a run since June 19, when he gave up three runs. In that course of about a month, his ERA has dropped from 5.28 to 3.92.
After the Padres loss, the Giants are only 9 games out of first place.
The Padres, at 48-42, remain the only NL West team to be above .500.
Jesse Radin writes for SFDugout.com and has been a Giants follower since 1996. The Blind Observer is Jesse's column covering all things baseball, though mainly about the Giants. Questions or comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
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