With the attention off Barry Bonds for one night, Noah Lowry got his chance to shine.
Fully recovered from a strained oblique, Lowry allowed single runs in the first and third innings, but for the most part was in control of the ballgame, making more than a few Astros hitters look silly with his superb changeup.
“Mentally, it feels good,” Lowry (1-0) said. “All the hard work, it feels like it’s paying off. It couldn’t have gone any better.”
It could have gone a lot better for Oswalt (5-2), but the Giants were thankful that it didn’t. The two-time 20-game winner had his velocity, but struggled mightily with his command, looking nothing like the pitcher that shut out the Giants 8-0 in the second half of a doubleheader at the beginning of the season.
Oswalt allowed single runs in each of the first two innings, and then the wheels fell off in the bottom of the fifth. After allowing a leadoff triple by Randy Winn, Steve Finley hit a one-out grounder to Lance Berkman, whose throw home was too late to get Winn. Pedro Feliz then did his best Bonds impression, launching a home run to deep left field to score two more runs and gave the Giants a 5-2 lead.
But the Giants weren’t done in the inning, as three more successive hits followed a single by Todd Greene, a triple by Mark Sweeney, and a single by Lance Niekro resulting in two more Giants runs and chasing Oswalt from the game.
Leading 7-2 going into the ninth inning, the Giants turned out to need most of the five-run lead. Two successive two-out hits a single by Orlando Palmeiro and a double by Craig Biggio off of reliever Jeremy Accardo pushed a run through to make it 7-3. Manager Felipe Alou decided to go to Tim Worrell to get the final out, but instead got a two-run home run by pinch-hitter Mike Lamb to make the game really interesting. Alou tried the bullpen again and turned to Armando Benitez, who finally shut the door by getting Lance Berkman to ground out to end the ballgame.
Not the prettiest of endings, but a win is a win.
SFDugout’s Player of the Game: Lowry. With Matt Morris, Matt Cain, and Jamey Wright struggling, it was crucial for Lowry to come back from the DL and be an effective starter. He gave the Giants exactly that. Huge kudos also to the much-maligned Feliz, who really stepped up big without No. 25 in the lineup. Now about that bullpen…
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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