Rewind: Pirates vs. Giants, Game #2

Morris takes to the mound against a team he has always dominated against, while the rest of the team looks to pick up in the absence of Bonds and Durham. Without his usual battery-mate, Morris turned in a solid outing to what many would hope to be a beginning of a string of good starts by him.

Coming off the series opening victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates, the San Francisco Giants have won five of their first seven games in the month of June. Last month, in their first seven games San Francisco was a dismal 1-7. Tonight, with hurler Matt Morris on the hill, the Giants looked to keep their June hot streak going. However, with both Barry Bonds and Ray Durham out of the lineup, it will be up to the San Francisco bench to keep their momentum going.

Morris' career against Pittsburgh is nothing but phenomenal. The right hander has a 10-2 record with a 2.25 ERA lifetime against the Pirates. All things look in order for the Giants to add another win to their record.

Unfortunately, the past didn't reflect the present in the first inning. Pirates' lead-off man Nate McLouth slapped a first pitch single to center field. McLouth would later find himself on third base after stealing second and throwing error by rookie catcher, Eliezer Alfonzo. McLouth, directly after a Sean Casey double to left, would score for the first run of the game.

The Giants were shut down in order in their half of the first inning to Pirates' starting pitcher Victor Santos. Santos' counterpart, Morris, quickly regained his composure in the second. Morris retired two of the three Pirates' batters and forced the other into an easy groundout.

San Francisco's bats remained quiet until the bottom half of the third. Jose Vizcaino led off the inning with a single to left. After Vizcaino, was the rookie catcher, Eliezer Alfonzo. The rookie left a good impression on Santos, as he blasted a shot to left center for an RBI triple. With Alfonzo sitting comfy on third, it was now Randy Winn's turn to produce some runs. And produce, Randy did. Winn hit sacrifice fly deep enough to score Alfonzo from third. After three innings of play, it was now, 2-1 in favor of the Giants.

However, whatever goes around, comes around. In the Pirates' half of the fourth, Morris allowed a lead-off single to Sean Casey. Letting Casey get aboard proved to be costly. After Casey, it was the Giant-killer, Jason Bay. Bay crushed a 2-0 Morris delivery into the left center bleachers to make it a 3-2 ball game.

In the bottom of the sixth, it looks as if things were turning around for San Francisco. With Omar Vizquel on first, via a single, Steve Finley stepped up to the plate. Finley lined a shot down the first base line, which appeared to be fair but the first base umpire called it foul. In frustration, Finley returned to the batter's box only to strike out swinging. Following Finley it was the always dangerous Moises Alou. Alou, then blooped a single to left field. In the process of the hit, Vizquel rounded for home but got held up and was picked off by Pirates' shortstop Jack Wilson. That ended the uneventful sixth for the Giants.

The score remained 3-2 all the way through the ninth. In the bottom of the ninth, San Francisco had the middle of the lineup due up. First up, it was Steve Finley. Finley took an 0-1 delivery from reliever, Mike Gonzalez and grounded out to first for the out number one. Up next it was Alou. Alou fought off Gonzalez for one out single. Jason Ellison came in to pinch-run for him as Todd Greene pinched-hit for Mark Sweeney. Greene flied out to center for the second out of the inning. After Greene's out, it was now down to Pedro Feliz. After working the count even 1-1, Feliz drove a ground-rule double to put runners on second and third. After a Vizcaino walk, it was once again down to the rook, Alfonzo. Alfonzo, quickly fell behind in the count and struck out under the pressure. No worries rook, there's always next time. 3-2 in favor of the Pirates.

SFDugout's Player of the Game: After struggling as of late this season, Morris was really solid tonight, even without Mike Matheny around. If the Giants were to take anything away from tonight, it would be hope that their offseason pitcher acquisition will keep performing up to their expected standards of him.



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