Rewind: Giants vs. Rockies, Game #3

Schmidt struggled in his return to the mound, looking rusty on his way to walking a season-high seven batters. Still, the Giants triumphed with a 7-4 victory in a game that saw 17 combined walks, 11 by the Giants' pitching. A win is a win, and with less than two weeks remaining in the season, San Francisco will gladly take it.

After dropping six of their previous eight games, including the last two against the Rockies, the Giants can ill afford any more losses with just 1 1/2 weeks remaining in the season. Since the team had given up 32 runs the last two games, San Francisco appeared ready to leave Coors Field, but the Giants prevented a sweep by taking game three 7-4 Wednesday.

With Barry Bonds and Moises Alou both receiving routine days off, the Giants needed Jason Schmidt to return to the rotation in style. Instead, after missing his last scheduled turn with upper back tightness, Schmidt returned rusty, putting a season-high seven men on base via the walk. He did, however, keep the Rockies off the scoreboard through the first four frames. It was not until the fifth when Colorado finally made him pay for his inability to find the strike zone.

After a single and two walks, Brad Hawpe came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs. Unfortunately for the Giants, a bases-clearing triple put the Rockies up 3-0. After yet another base on balls by Schmidt, he was removed from the game for reliever Brad Hennessey, who got Clint Barmes to ground out to end the inning. Schmidt ended his outing with three runs allowed over 4 2/3 innings, and it remains to be seen whether he's truly over his back ailment.

Rockies starter Aaron Cook, in the meantime, was absolutely cruising, tossing six scoreless innings. Ramon Ramirez took over in the seventh, which is when the Giants finally showed signs of life offensively. With two outs and a runner on, pinch hitter Moises Alou delivered a two-run homer to make it a 3-2 game.

Brian Wilson followed Hennessey's 1 1/3 shutout innings with a scoreless frame of his own, providing the Giants' offense a chance to get back into the game.

In the top of the eighth, that's exactly what they did. Back-to-back singles off Rockies' reliever Manuel Corpas, followed by a Ray Durham two-run double gave the Giants their first lead of the game at 4-3. Later in the inning, Barry Bonds pinch hit to face Ray King with the bases full. A sharp single to right scored Fred Lewis, but Durham was ruled out at home by a tremendous throw from right fielder Brad Hawpe. A Todd Greene triple followed, scoring both Omar Vizquel and Steve Finely to make it a 6-3 Giants' lead. Alou then proceeded to double off new Rockies pitcher Mike Venafro, knocking in Greene to make it a 7-3 game.

Vinnie Chulk entered the game for San Francisco to start the bottom of the eighth and allowed one run on a Corey Sullivan RBI double but nothing more. Mike Stanton then came on to start the ninth in hopes of preserving the 7-4 lead. Back-to-back singles had the Rockies thinking comeback, but a strikeout followed by Vinny Castilla grounding into a game-ending double play gave the Giants a 7-4 victory. At least for one more day, the Giants still have playoff aspirations.

SFDugout's Player of the Game: Moises Alou may not have started the game, but it was his pinch-hit, two-run homer that got the Giants back into the game. He finished 2-for-2 with three RBI on the day.



Dalton can be reached at seven3d@aol.com for any complaints, questions or preferably, compliments.

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