In the 5th inning, the Giants finally resembled the team Giants fans remember losing badly in the last homestand. With two runner on and nobody out, Omar Vizquel, Ray Durham and Steve Finley struck out in a row to end the inning with no one scoring.
That would be the only semblance to the team booed over the weekend against Los Angeles, as the Giants swept the Houston Astros with a 10-1 victory on Wednesday night.
"I think sweeping them hurt more than hitting a guy," Matt Morris said, addressing the speculation that the Giants would carry out some retaliation for Astros pitcher Russ Springer’s hideous attack on Barry Bonds the day before. Bonds sat out Wednesday’s game, after playing 8 straight games while continuing his overexposed home run chase. "You don't want to see Barry get hit like that, but the way we played these three games was enough for me,” Morris continued.
Reportedly, umpire Joe West talked to both Astros manager Phil Garner and Giants manager Felipe Alou and they had a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ to not act on any bad feelings.
Apparently, that didn’t include the Giants running up the score, as the Giants reached double digits in runs for the 3rd straight game. It was the first time they had scored 10 or more in 3 straight games since the 2002 World Series team, and the first time it had been done in one series by the Giants since the 1962 World Series team.
With Bonds out, and the team also missing the formerly hot hitting Moises Alou and the heating-up Lance Niekro to injuries, the onus fell upon Morris to throw a good game after giving up 4 or more runs in his last 4 starts since being ejected in the first inning of a start in Colorado. Although Morris responded by giving up just 3 hits and 3 walks in 8 innings, it wasn’t as important as expected.
Durham hit his 3rd home run of the year, a 3 run shot in the 4th inning. It was his first after coming back from his first disabled list trip of the year. Durham also led the team with 4 RBI. And in the 9th, Pedro Feliz homered for the third time in the series, a 2 run shot that sealed the score. That gave Feliz 9 for the season.
Feliz wouldn’t credit the park, however. "I don't see anybody hitting 100 home runs here or have a .500 average," he said. "Sometimes the ball goes out here and not someplace else, but that's not going to make a difference. You still have to hit the ball hard."
"Sometimes you play well in some ballparks," Jose Vizcaino said. "We play well here. Too bad we only come once a year," he said after calling Minute Maid Park home in 2005.
Mark Sweeney, who filled in at left field for the guy Houston fans cheered being attacked, added 3 RBI of his own on a 2 for 4 day with his 6th double of the year. "Hopefully this kind of gets us going," he said. "The good thing, too, is Barry gets two days to relax and then he gets to DH."
The Giants have Thursday off before starting interleague play at Oakland. Felipe Alou has already indicated that Bonds will indeed be the DH for those games.
With a sweep of the defending NL Champs out of the way, and an early end to the season series with the Giants going 5-1, other matters still remain. Like the unsettled issue of Springer’s actions against Bonds. Bob Watson of Major League Baseball has told the AP that the incident is ‘under investigation.’ Felipe Alou was asked if the Giants had sent in a copy of the tape to the league office, he laughed. "I don't believe we have to send in a tape. I believe in North Korea they saw it. They watch ESPN there. That would be an easy thing to find, the tape, with all the coverage of Barry."
But Alou also says that the team is not going to stand idly by if opposing players and teams continue to target Bonds.
"I know one of these days the team we have here is going to have to go out on the field."
SFDugout Player of the Game: Ray Durham. Durham’s 4 RBI and 3 hits led the team, and the oft-injured second baseman once again looked like the very good hitter he normally is. He raised his average 26 points, from .202 to .227. His return to health will be important as Alou and Niekro struggle through injuries.
Notes: In 2002, when the Giants last scored 10 runs in three straight games, it was in 2 games at PNC Park in Pittsburgh and a game at home against the Cubs…The Giants batted around once in each game…Matt Morris picked up his second and third hits of the season. All three have come against the Astros.
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