Watch out, San Diego here come the Giants.
In front of an underwhelming Labor Day crowd of 34,871 in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-1 to win their sixth straight contest and continue their surge in the woeful National League West.
What started out as a pitching duel and brilliant defensive displays for both teams turned in favor of the Giants late in the game. Brad Hennessey might have allowed more baserunners than his opposite, a red hot Derek Lowe, but the Giants righty left the game in the seventh with a 1-0 lead.
This slim lead was the result of a sound Giants defense that turned four double plays and killed a rally in the bottom of the sixth inning with a spectacular play from Moises Alou. The Dodgers had at least one baserunner in every inning but the eighth, and the sixth was no exception Robles singled to lead off the inning, then Edwards singled to center to put two runners on with no out. Former Giant Jeff Kent then hit a rocket to left center that seemed destined for extra bases, but Alou made an incredible leaping catch to keep the runners at bay for the first out. Hennessey then induced Olmedo Saenz to ground into a double play to end the inning.
Not to be completely outdone, the Dodgers had some sparkling defensive plays of their own. Former Giant and Gold Glove Award winner Jose Cruz Jr. killed a Giants rally (only this time with his glove) in the top of the sixth inning, as he made a diving catch of Ray Durhams line drive that prevented Randy Winn (who had doubled to lead off the inning) and J.T. Snow (who had walked with two outs) from scoring.
But lousy Dodgers defense (a Los Angeles staple) led to two of the Giants runs, including the first run of the ballgame. After Durham singled to lead off the fifth inning, Todd Linden hit a ball to left field that went under the glove of Dodgers outfielder Jose Valentin for an error. With runners on second and third, Giants catcher Yamid Haads sacrifice fly (and first career RBI) plated Durham for the 1-0 advantage.
The Dodgers finally cracked the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh a bizarre sequence. After allowing a leadoff single to Cruz and a one-out walk to Jason Werth (who walked in all four of his at bats), Hennessey was pulled for reliever Jack Taschner, who promptly walked pinch hitter Antonio Perez to lead the bases. After Jason Phillips was announced as a pinch hitter, Moises Alou then summoned LaTroy Hawkins. Dodgers manager Jim Tracy then pulled Phillips in favor of former Giant Ricky Ledee. Ledee hit a sacrifice fly to shallow center that scored Cruz, but Snow cut off the relay throw and threw out Werth at third to end the inning.
Shoddy Dodger defense coughed up the eventual winning unearned run an inning later. Pinch hitter Lance Niekro singled to lead off the inning, then was replaced by pinch runner Julio Ramirez. After Winn sacrificed Ramirez to second and a walk to Snow, Alou hit a weak grounder to Dodgers third baseman Mike Edwards, who threw the routine grounder into right field for an error that scored Ramirez for a 2-1 lead.
The Giants added an insurance run in the top of the ninth off a rare double steal that scored Durham, who had led off the
After a hitless eighth by the tireless Scott Eyre, Armando Benitez got two quick outs, but committed an error, then walked a batter to put two runners on. But after a lengthy battle with pinch hitter Hee Seop Choi, struck out the big Korean to end the threat and the game.
SFDugout Player of the Game: Difficult to select, since the victory was such a team effort. Its equally difficult to give the distinction to someone without a base hit, but Moises Alous defensive gem was easily the defensive play of the game, and might turn out to be one of the key plays in the Giants stretch drive.
Notes: Bonds took batting practice before the game, and put on an impressive show. According to eyewitnesses (broadcasters and teammates on the KNBR pregame show) he nearly hit a ball out of Dodgers Stadium. KNBRs postgame show speculated that he could rejoin the team as early as this Friday in San Francisco Durham left the game after injuring himself sliding at home as part of the double steal that scored the third Giants run of the game. No diagnosis was immediately available Dan Ortmeier collected his first Major League hit in the top of the eighth inning, when he singled to shortstop only to have Linden thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
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 email@example.com to commiserate, cheer, and complain.
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