Rewind: Braves at Giants, Game 1

They say the road to hell is paved with good intention. The road to mediocrity is paved with games like this one tonight.

42,277 Bay Area fans had plenty of reasons to feel frustrated this Monday night, as the San Francisco Giants matched hits with the Atlanta Braves but couldn’t get anything going in a 6-1 loss.

The game had all the makings of a slugfest early on. The Atlanta Joneses quickly got the scoring going in the top of the first. Rafael Furcal led off with a dribbler down the third base line for an infield single, then promptly stole second. With two down and Furcal on third, Andruw Jones then clobbered a shot deep into the left field bleachers off of Giants starter Kevin Correia for a 2-0 Braves lead. Then Chipper Jones returned to the lineup after a long stint on the DL in style by sending a Correia offering deep over death valley for his eighth home run of the year to up the score to 3-0.

The Giants could not capitalize on an oft-wild Jorge Sosa in the first inning – a sign of things to come. With walks by Omar Vizquel and Moises Alou surrounding a single by J.T. Snow, the Giant loaded the bases in the first with one out. But Ray Durham popped out, and Pedro Feliz struck out, and the three runners were left stranded.

It was broken record time in the third inning. Andruw Jones again made it miserable for Correia by hitting another two-run shot in the top of the inning for a 5-0 lead. And the Giants again left the bases loaded in the bottom of the inning, but Feliz again ended the threat by grounding into an inning-ending double play amidst a chorus of boos from the SBC faithful.

The Giants finally scrapped together a run the sixth inning. Feliz hit his 17th double of the season leading off the inning, then consecutive groundouts by Mike Matheny and Jason Ellison scored Feliz for to put the Giants on the board 5-1.

Kirk Rueter came on to relieve Correia in the top of the fifth and quickly retired the heart of the Braves order in order. Rueter pitched well, retiring six in a row until allowing a leadoff single to pinch hitter Pete Orr in the seventh inning. Inexplicably, Rueter then proceeded to throw two wild pitches to move Orr to third, then Braves left fielder Kelly Johnson hit a deep sacrifice fly to plate Orr and give the Braves a 6-1 lead.

That would be all the Braves needed, as relievers John Foster, Jim Brower (yes, that Jim Brower), and Dan Kolb each pitched a scoreless frame to flame out the Giants. Fireworks are scheduled for tomorrow, and let’s hope so, since the Giants bats really need a spark.

SFDugout Player of the Game: Matheny. It seems like the Giants catcher is selected for this honor every time this writer covers the game, but it’s well deserved – three hits for the only semblance of a pulse in the Giants lineup. A special mention to Rueter as well, but more on him below.

Durham looked to have a base hit to right in the bottom of the fifth, but injured himself running out the ball to make the final out. He was later diagnosed with a bruised left heel and a large hospital bill… Rueter may have made his argument for a return to the rotation. He pitched the final five innings of one-run ball, quickly retiring the heart of the Braves order twice without incident… Snow collected his 1,000th hit as a Giant with a single in the first inning… Feliz looked absolutely lost in his first two plate appearances against Sosa, swinging and missing at several pitches in the dirt. For the game, he left six runners on base… Former Giant Jim Brower pitched fine in his return to San Francisco in a Braves uniform. Is it just me, or do we find ourselves repeating that sentence (switching in the appropriate name) too often?

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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