The first inning had a rather bitter ending to it, as Randy Winn doubled to deep right, and Omar Vizquel was hit by a pitch, putting runners at first and second for Moises Alou. But Alou hit a double-play ball to third, and the Giants were unable to get any runs despite having a runner in scoring position with no one out.
Early on, the bottom of the lineup was more productive than the top. Todd Greene hit a one-out single to left, and Chad Santos, called up from AAA Fresno in place of Lance Niekro, hit a home run to center, his first major league blast, giving the Giants an early 2-0 lead.
Noah Lowry kept the Padres in check, and the Giants added some insurance in the fifth. It started out rather quietly, with a walk to Santos. Lowry sacrificed Santos to second, and Winn hit a double just a few inches fair down the right field line, scoring Santos and placing himself in scoring position. He stole third without catching the attention of the slow-moving Chan Ho Park, and Vizquel attempted a suicide squeeze, bunting it back to the mound. Park tried to get Winn out at home, but failed, with Vizquel safe at first. Alou hit a hard line drive single to center on a hit and run play, sending Vizquel to third. Barry Bonds hit a deep fly to the warning track in left, easily deep enough to score Vizquel and giving the Giants a strong 5-0 lead.
Even though he wasn't giving up runs, Lowry wasn't crusing, either. He allowed two baserunners in the third, fourth, and sixth innings. He found his rhythm and got the Padres out 1-2-3 in the seventh and the eighth.
Alou led off the eighth with a single, and the Giants got a break when Padres catcher Mike Piazza dropped a pop-up from Bonds. Bonds took full advantage of the situation, and bashed a two-run homer to center. Durham followed suit with his team-leading 16th homer, but Feliz put the two back in a tie for the team home run lead, giving the Giants three consecutive home runs and a 9-0 lead.
Lowry was just two outs away from his first shutout since 2003, but fate was against him. He gave up a single to Alex Gonzalez, and walked Mark Bellhorn. Josh Barfield singled to left, ruining the shutout. Kevin Correia took the reins from here, walking pinch-hitter Josh Bard to load the bases with just one down. Dave Roberts drove in two with a single to center, putting the score at 9-3. Jeremy Accardo was called in to shut things down, and despite giving up a single to Mike Cameron, he got two quick outs to end the game with the lead intact.
SFDugout.com Player of the Game: Noah Lowry. An easy call here. His stat line would have looked a lot better if he had been pulled out after eight strong shutout innings, but there's nothing wrong with three earned runs in eight and a third. He gave the bullpen some well-deserved rest and only threw 123 pitches in what was nearly a complete game. Chad Santos gets an honorable mention, with his first major league home run.
*The Giants are now just a game and a half out of first.
*The Giants have had more power than last year, when Pedro Feliz led the team with 20 home runs. This year he is projected to hit 27.
*The Giants only left four men on base as a team tonight.
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 email@example.com
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