Just when the Giants’ season looked to be effectively finished, at least as far as having any playoff hopes alive, they win three games in a row and find new life. Wednesday the Giants outlasted the Padres in a 13-inning marathon that last more than 4 hours. In the end, it was worth it, as an 8-6 victory was earned.
The Padres struck first with a Brian Giles home run in the bottom of the first inning off Giants’ starter Noah Lowry. San Francisco responded immediately, with a Barry Bonds solo blast the following inning. A Josh Barfield sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second made it a 2-1 game.
A solo homer by Todd Greene, his first of the year, in the top of the third evened the game at two runs apiece. That is until a Ben Johnson jack in the bottom half of the inning again put San Diego on top by a run. Mark Bellhorn joined in on the homer barrage with a solo knock himself in the fourth to put San Diego ahead 4-2. Petco Park is known as one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in all of baseball, but the game had already seen five home runs by the end of the fourth inning.
After a couple scoreless frames, Ray Durham doubled home Omar Vizquel in the sixth inning to bring the Giants back to within a run at 4-3. After an intentional walk, San Diego starter Chan Ho Park was removed from the game after allowing three runs over 5 1/3 innings. Lowry’s line was pretty similar, as he surrendered four runs over six innings of work.
The score remained 4-3 until Durham delivered an RBI groundout in the top of the eighth inning to tie the game. Moises Alou deserves the credit here, as he singled, then stole second and advanced to third on Mike Piazza’s throwing error. A rare manufactured run for the Giants.
Another run didn’t cross the plate until the 10th inning, when a Durham RBI single off Padres reliever Jon Adkins gave the Giants their first lead of the game. The hit marked Durham’s third RBI of the contest. After Jamey Wright, Jack Taschner and Vinnie Chulk gave San Francisco three scoreless innings of relief, it was time to turn to Armando Benitez, who after blowing three straight save opportunities, had nailed down saves in back-to-back games entering Wednesday.
Leading off the inning, Ben Johnson promptly knocked a 3-2 pitch out of the park to tie the game yet again. It was Johnson’s second long ball of the night, and Benitez’s eighth blown save of the year. Never has a pitcher with a 2.70 ERA had such a disappointing season as Benitez has this year. His 26/19 K/BB ratio is atrocious, and he has now blown more than one-third of his save opportunities. That won’t get it done.
After a couple scoreless innings from Steve Kline pushed the game into the 13th inning, Eliezer Alfonzo hit a two-out, go-ahead single scoring Durham to give the Giants a 6-5 lead. After an Alan Embree error loaded the bases, the Padres brought in reliever Scott Williamson, who threw four straight balls to Pedro Feliz to plate Shea Hillenbrand and make it a 7-5 game.
The Giants then turned to Mike Stanton to close the door in the bottom of the 13th inning. After a single and a walk made things interesting, Stanton got hot-hitting Mike Cameron to fly out to center to end the game. The Giants have now won the first three of a four game series against San Diego and look to bring out the brooms for Thursday’s series finale.
SFDugout’s Player of the Game: Ray Durham gets the nod, as he went 3-for-6 with a double and three RBI.
Notes: The Giants have held San Diego’s batters to 0-22 with RISP in the series so far. Barry Bonds left the game after he batted in the sixth due to an irritated left elbow.
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