Prior to the series opener against the Dodgers on Friday night, Willie Mays joked that if Barry Bonds didn’t hurry up and hit a home run, he might have to come out of retirement and help him hit a few. The way Bonds and the rest of his teammates are swinging the bats these days, that might not be a bad idea.
San Francisco’s offense remained ice cold and the bullpen suffered yet another meltdown as Steve Kline’s eighth inning throwing error plated two runs in what proved to be the decisive blow in the Giants 6-3 loss to the Dodgers on Sunday afternoon. The Giants touched up Dodgers starter Jae Seo in the bottom of the first. Randy Winn led off the inning smoking a line drive off of the right field wall for a double and then moved to third on a sacrificed bunt by Omar Vizquel. Following an intentional walk to Barry Bonds, Steve Finley drove him in with an RBI groundout, as San Francisco took an early 1-0 lead.
Any positive vibes that existed ended right there however, as the Giants continued the trend of getting shut down by pitchers with soaring ERA’s. This time it was Seo who baffled San Francisco’s offense holding them scoreless over his final five innings of work.
Los Angeles scratched out a run off of Giants starter Jason Schmidt in the top of the fourth. Kenny Lofton began the inning with a line drive single to left-center, just beyond the reach of a leaping Vizquel. After walking Jeff Kent, Schmidt uncorked a wild pitch that went to the backstop putting runners at second and third, Olmeado Seanz hit a sacrifice fly to center scoring Lofton to tie the game 1-1.
The Dodgers took the lead in the top of the sixth when Jeff Kent drilled his sixth homer of the year, a solo shot to left off of Schmidt to put Los Angeles in front 2-1. The homer was one of the few mistakes that the right-hander made on the afternoon as he turned in his fourth consecutive solid outing tossing seven innings, allowing two runs on only three hits. Nevertheless, Schmidt had nothing to show for his effort, thanks to San Francisco’s anemic offense.
San Francisco’s bats finally came to life in the bottom of the seventh against left-hander Odalis Perez. With one out, Pedro Feliz scorched a double into the left field corner and Mike Matheny smacked a single to center, scoring Feliz tying the game at 2.
As has been the case so far this season, the excitement was short lived as the Giants bullpen imploded once again in the eighth. Steve Kline relieved Schmidt and walked pitcher Odalis Perez to lead off the inning. After Rafael Furcal singled to right, Kenny Lofton laid down a bunt that was fielded by Kline. Kline then threw the ball down the
left-field line as Ramon Martinez and Furcal came in to score, giving the Dodgers a 5-2 advantage.
Ray Durham hammered a solo shot to left in the bottom of the ninth to pull the Giants to within 6-3, but that was as close as they would get.
After finishing the homestand 4-3, the Giants will head to Houston to face the Astros in a three game series beginning Monday. Brad Hennessey (2-1, 3.08 ERA) will face Taylor Buchholz (3-3, 3.82 ERA) @ 5:05pm.
Game Notes: Bonds who remains stuck on 713 career home runs, went 0-for-2 Sunday, finishing the homestand 1-for-18… Ray Durham and Mike Matheny used pink bats on Sunday to help promote breast cancer awareness… The 42,984 fans Sunday marked the largest day-game crowd in the seven seasons the stadium has been open. It also was the largest attendance for a three-game series: 128,733 (AP).
SFDugout's Player of the Game: Jason Schmidt turned in another exceptional pitching performance despite getting a no-decision. Schmidt tossed seven innings allowing just three hits and two runs. Pedro Feliz has two more hits to raise his average to .259.
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