Rewind: Mets vs. Giants, Game #3

The sun is out, and it was time to play ball in San Francisco. The Giants took on the potent New York Mets' lineup again for claims to the series. This game was full of hits, stolen bases and shakey pitching. With the troubles that they were having at the plate, the Giants were not about to go down without a fight.

It's just been three days since he's pitched, but Matt Morris took the mound for the Giants in the day rubber match of the New York Mets series. He went up against Brian Bannister, and rookie that the Giants have never seen before.

Morris didn't start out strong without much help from home plate umpire, Gerry Davis. He walked speedster Jose Reyes, but during a long at-bat against Kazuo Matsui, Morris was able to pick Reyes off. Matsui popped out, but on the next pitch, Morris hit Carlos Delgado. However, Morris got David Wright to fly out to end the inning.

The Giants were trying to start a rally of their own in the bottom half of the first inning. Jose Vizcaino singled to gathered his third hit of the season, and advanced to third on Randy Winn's single. Moises Alou continued his hot swinging by smacking a ground rule double to left field to score Vizcaino. Unfortunately, that's all the Giants will score in the first as Steve Finley struck out swinging and Matsui made a sensational catch of Lance Niekro's pop up.

San Francisco came back for more in the second inning when Pedro Feliz led off with a single that was assisted by a Reyes bobble at short. It counted as a basehit, and Mike Matheny doubled to follow. Morris grounded out, and lead off man Omar Vizquel hit a long sacrifice fly to score Feliz, where Xavier Nady made a diving catch almost into death valley. Vizcaino then flied out, and the Giants had to settle again for just one run in the inning.

The Mets got one of the runs back with style in the top of the third. Delgado smashed a ball into McCovey Cove to put New York on board with their first run.

However, the Giants continued to bat around the rookie. Winn led off the inning with a single, and Alou continued his tear with a double down the third baseline. Finley hit a sacrifice fly to center to score Winn, but Niekro grounded out and Feliz flied out, to leave the Giants again with just the one run in the inning.

New York just wouldn't go away. In the top of the fourth, Ramon Castro singled for his second hit of the game. Endy Chavez followed that with a double to left-center, and Bannister helped his own cause with a double down the first baseline to score Castro and Chavez, and to tie the game. With one out, Reyes grounded out, and Matsui popped out in foul territory to end the inning.

The Giants lost another opportunity to score in the bottom of the fifth. Vizcaino and Winn drew back-to-back walks, and Vizcaino advanced to third on Alou's flyout. With runners on first and third, Finley popped out and Niekro lined out to left, which ended another potential rally.

Bannister continued to help his own cause with another double. With two outs, Matsui knocked in Bannister with a double to the left field corner to give the Mets the lead. While rounding the bases, Bannister was injured and limped home. It was later reported that Bannister suffered from a strained right hamstring. Before the Mets got a chance to take him out of the game, the Giants made their own pitching change with Delgado due up. Jeff Fassero came in and promptly got Delgado to flyout.

Aaron Heilman came into the game for Bannister and retired the Giants in order in the sixth.

In the bottom of the seventh, the Giants were starting another rally. Heilman walked Vizquel and gave up a single to Vizcaino. With runners on first and third, Winn struck out on three nasty looking pitches from Heilman. Alou came to the plate and did it again. He hit a grounder into the hole between second and third to bring Vizquel home as the tying run. Finley grounded into a fielder's choice that got Alou out, and up came Niekro, who grounded out to end the inning, leaving the game tied again.

The game continues on in the eighth inning. Chavez singled to lead off the inning off of Steve Kline. Chris Woodward bunted Chavez over, and Reyes doubled to right field. The game was still tied when Julio Franco came into the game, and Tim Worrell was summoned to pitch for the Giants. After becoming the oldest player to hit a homerun last week, Franco tapped a single through the legs of Worrell and through the middle of the infield to knock in two go-ahead runs. Franco even stole a bag during Delgado's at-bat. Wright followed that with a long single that scored Franco from second. Cliff Floyd grounded out to end the inning, but the damage was already done.

The Giants tried to come back again in the eighth against set-up man, Duaner Sanchez. Feliz led off with a single down the third baseline, but Matheny grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Pinch hitter Jason Ellison struck out to end the inning. Armando Benitez came into the game in the top of the ninth to get some work in. He sent down two batters in a row, but the speedy Chavez beat out a soft grounder to get his second infield hit of the game. Chavez stole second, but Benitez struck Woodward out to end the inning.

San Francisco was not done. Vizquel led off the inning against Mets' closer, Billy Wagner, with a single through Wright. He stole second uncontested, but Vizcaino and Winn both struck out swinging. With two outs, Alou grounded to third, and Wright, hurrying the throw, overthrew to first, allowing Vizquel to score. The two run difference with Alou on second set up the perfect situation for Barry Bonds. Bonds came up and added Wagner to the list of pitchers he's taken to the fence. Niekro struck out to end the ninth, and we were heading into extra innings.

The shakey pitching continues. Benitez walked Reyes, who is dangerous on the basepaths. Reyes stole second base, and advanced to third with one out on Jose Valentin's sacrifice bunt. After an intentional walk to Delgado, Floyd came to the batter's box and the two battled. After working the count and fouling off pitch after pitch, Floyd coaxed a walk and the bases were loaded with two outs. After lodging more than 40 pitches, Felipe Alou decided to stick with Benitez for the final out. Nady softly grounded out to first, and the inning and threat was over.

Chad Bradford came into the game for New York in the tenth. He gave up a single to Feliz, and Matheny bunted Feliz over. Ray Durham, used as a last resort off the bench to pinch hit, struck out. With Vizquel coming to the plate, Bradford was replaced by Darren Oliver, who ended up walking Vizquel, but struck Vizcaino out looking, ending another scoring opportunity for the Giants.

More hits came in the eleventh inning. Scott Munter took over for Benitez, and gave up a bloop single to Castro. Castro was bunted over by Chavez, who almost beat out the bunt for a hit. The next batter, Woodward, doubled to left field to knock Castro in as the go-ahead run. Reyes followed that with a single up the middle, and Woodward scored the second run of the inning. Munter was able to get out of the inning without any more damage, but the Giants have to play catch-up.

The Giants got their best shot in the bottom of the eleventh. Winn flied out, and Alou grounded out. Bonds could only make it one run closer with one swing, and he drove one to deep center, but it was an out.

Game Notes: Bonds' shot is career #711, making him three away from tying the Babe... This is the second series loss of the season for the Giants.

SFDugout's Player of the Game: Barry Bonds showed his team how to get it done. It was a frustrating game offensively for the Giants with runners in scoring position, and Bonds sparked the team, and the ballpark, with a shot that sent the game to extra innings. Honorable mention also goes to Moises Alou for continuing his rampage at the plate, and Pedro Feliz, who got out of his slump today with three hits. Benitez pitched himself out of jams and showed signs of slowly becoming a dominate closer again.



Sara Kwan is a writer and co-publisher for SFDugout.com. Got a bone to pick? Just want to say hi? Comments about the article and/or the site? Hit me up: kwanchino@alpha-q.net .

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