Rewind: Giants vs. Dodgers, Game #1

While Matt Cain had plenty of breathing room with an early 5-0 lead, he managed to give up six hits and walk three in four plus innings pitched, yet allowed only three runs. Brad Hennessy pitched solid long relief, giving the Giants three-innings and allowing just one run on one hit. The Giants were fortunate to have strong relief pitching that allowed them to hold on to their initial lead.

Things got started off in the right way for the Giants, as Randy Winn led off the game with a single up the middle. Omar Vizquel followed with a double to left, moving Winn over to third base. Moises Alou, just activated from the DL, hit an infield single to shortstop, scoring Winn with Vizquel remaining at second.

Bonds was walked and Ray Durham hit a fielder's choice to shortstop with Bonds forced out at second. Feliz hit an infield single, scoring Alou and bringing Durham to second. However, the Giants, despite having two runners on with just one out, were unable to bring anyone else in and left the inning with just three runs scored. Unfortunately, Matt Cain was not especially sharp himself. Despite going into his night with a 3-0 lead, he walked two in the first and threw a wild pitch. Luckily, none scored in the Dodgers' half of the first inning.

Dodgers' starter Mark Hendrickson blew through the 9-1-2 hitters in the second, but the third brought him more trouble. Alou stroked a single to left to lead off the inning, and with one down, Durham hit a double to down the right field line, sending Alou to third. Feliz grounded out to score Alou, and Lance Niekro made up for his pop-out in the first with a double to deep right-center, driving in Durham and giving the Giants a strong 5-0 lead.

Despite more early run support, Cain struggled to make it out of the third inning. Rafael Furcal led off with a double to left field, and Kenny Lofton followed with a single, but Furcal was held at third. Nomar Garciaparra hit an infield single, scoring Furcal. Cain was able to get Drew to ground out to second, but both runners advanced. A walk to former Giant Ramon Martinez loaded the bases for Andre Ethier, who was hitting nearly .350. He drove one that sent Alou to the warning track, scoring Lofton for a sacrifice fly and the Dodgers' second run of the night. Cesar Izturis hit a hard liner right back to Cain to end the inning with the Giants' lead intact.

Cain finally had a 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, but he ran into trouble in the fifth. Kenny Lofton hit a pop-up to left center that neither Vizquel, Winn, nor Bonds could get to in time. Had Bonds been younger with good knees, he would have caught the ball when he made the attempt on a slide, but that is no longer the case, and thus Lofton had a single and was on base for the third time. Cain hit Garciaparra with a pitch, putting runners on first and second with none out for J.D. Drew, who hit soft infield single that didn't get past the pitcher's mound to load the bases. Cain was yanked in favor of Brad Hennessey, the Giants hoping to limit the damage and hold onto their shrinking lead.

Hennessey did exactly what he was brought in to do, with Ramon Martinez hitting a grounder to Feliz that resulted in a double play. Lofton scored on the play, but the Giants suddenly had one runner on with two down, a much more favorable circumstance than bases loaded with none out. Hennessey walked one, but got out of the inning having given up just the one run.

The Giants failed to add any insurance runs, despite a good opportunity in the sixth. But fortunately, Hennessey pitched solid baseball and kept the Dodgers from scoring at all until the 7th inning. With one out, he hit Garciaparra with a pitch and walked Drew, putting runners on first and second for Martinez, who hit a single to center to bring the Dodgers within a run. But that was all they would get, as Hennessy made it through the inning and Jeremy Accardo and Armando Benitez shut down the Dodgers for the rest of the night, and the Giants squeaked by with a 5-4 win.

Game Notes: Matt Cain receives his second consecutive no-decision in tonight's game... Brad Hennessey is yet to give up more than four earned runs in an outing, and his ERA stands at 2.50... The race in the West remains tight. The Padres won, so the Giants remain 1.5 games back and in 4th place... Benitez pitched a full inning without allowing a single runner, something he has not done since May 5th against the Phillies in an 8-3 Giants loss.

SFDugout.com Player of the Game: While there were several key players in tonight's game, I have to give the crown to Brad Hennessey for his excellent performance in relief of Matt Cain. He was thrust into a bases-loaded situation with no outs, and he managed to get out of it while giving up just one run. If it wasn't for him, the Giants would have lost tonight's game. Honorable mentions go to Pedro Feliz and Moises Alou, who provided a lot of the team's offense.



Jesse Radin writes for SFDugout.com and has been a Giants follower since 1996. The Blind Observer is Jesse's column covering all things baseball, though mainly about the Giants. Questions or comments can be sent to electricbassguy@gmail.com

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