Rewind: Marlins at Giants, Game 1

A big test of the Giants' viability in an increasingly weak NL West race came with the arrival of the Giants recent playoff rivals, the Florida Marlins. The Marlins came with their best pitcher on their first night, All-Star Dontrelle Willis. But the Giants were ready, both at the plate and in the field.

It has been said that watching Omar Vizquel is like watching Fred Astaire playing the infield. Watching Vizquel piroutte in mid-air in the 8th, relaying a ball played by Ray Durham that he was in no position to field on to first base for a key out, that statement rung truer than ever.

"That play that Ray and Omar made was about as good a play as you'll see," said Giants starter Brett Tomko.

The play, along with a double play where Vizquel gave a backhanded flip to Durham at 2nd in the 3rd inning, almost overshadowed the rest of the game. But the San Francisco Giants, refreshed and energized by the return of Edgardo Alfonzo from the DL, took an 8 to 5 victory over the Florida Marlins and their winningest starter, Dontrelle Willis.

Willis, a bay area native, dropped to 0-2 against the Giants in his career. He only lasted 3 innings, his shortest outing of the season, giving up 7 runs on 6 hits. He has now allowed 23 runs in his last 3 starts.

One of the hits he gave up was to returning third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo. “It’s just nice to be back and healthy,” Alfonzo said after the game. Perhaps, but it was even nicer for him to come back and pick up 2 RBI on a 1 for 3 day, his single a deep drive that got over center fielder Juan Pierre. Alfonzo, who is returning from a quad injury, did not challenge for two on the hit.

Pedro Feliz moved to left field with Alfonzo back, and hit a home run for his third straight game, his 15th of the year.

Brett Tomko, meanwhile, pitched well despite being continually surrounded by trade rumors. He gave up 10 hits and a walk while striking out only 2 through 6 innings, but only gave up 4 runs and got the win. Tomko got rocked by Miguel Cabrera in the first inning for a 2 run homer, and gave up a solo shot by Mike Lowell in the 2nd, but settled down after that.

Tomko also fell on his throwing shoulder after getting to first base on an infield single by Paul Lo Duca in the 3rd, but he stayed in the game. He then took a ball off his foot in the 5th hit by Luis Castillo, but again, he stayed in the game and through the pain. X-rays showed nothing more than a bruise, however.

"You kind of smell you get a lead, and I didn't want to come out of the game," Tomko said. "Wins are too tough to get, and any time you get a chance to get one, if you can handle it, you stay in there." Tomko, of course, spent much of the early part of the season getting no run support at all. His record with this win moved up to 7-10.

But after the game, all the talk was about the outstanding defense flashed by Vizquel and Durham.

"It lifts the spirit up for the team," said Vizquel. "Every good play like that is a burst of energy."

"You don't see that every day," Feliz said. "These are the times you feel good they are on your team. It's great to see it live and not on ESPN."

"This team has been playing well since the All-Star break," said Felipe Alou after the game. "I don't know what the record is, but we've been playing with more determination, more intensity, more aggressiveness. Players of the Game: Ray Durham and Omar Vizquel. Alfonzo or Feliz could easily also be named, but the defense of these two was outstanding, and Durham also went 2 for 3 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI.

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