Giles Hot, Lawrence Not

Brain Giles going 5-for-5 with three doubles and a grand slam by Ramon Hernandez wasn't enough for the San Diego Padres as Brian Lawrence again struggled, giving up four runs on eight hits in three innings. The rest of the bullpen was of little help in a 15-11 loss to the Chicago White Sox.

"Today was one of those days when everything they touched fell in," Bochy said of Lawrence's performance. "This infield is rock-hard so a lot more balls get through here. The outfielders don't get as good jumps here because they don't see the ball as well here. But still if you make the pitches you can pitch well." As Lawrence struggles, his counterpart opening day is ready:

"I feel ready for the season opener," Hideo Nomo said through an interpreter.

"Hideo threw the ball extremely well," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "He got a little tired in the sixth, but we wanted to extend him."

Nomo, who underwent off-season shoulder surgery, says he feels just as good physically as he has any other spring. He will take the mound when the Dodgers open the season Monday against the San Diego Padres.

The White Sox pounded out 25 hits, registering three runs in four separate innings. Paul Konerko led the attack for the Sox. He had four hits, two homers and three RBI's. Aaron Rowand also had four hits and three RBI's. Sandy Alomar Jr. added a homer of his own for the Sox.

The Padres kept the game close throughout with 16 hits, led by Giles with his five hits and Hernandez with his grand slam. Mark Loretta also added a home run and provided three RBI's.

Phil Nevin was back in the lineup, going 1-4 with a run scored.

"It was a relief for him to have a clean game," manager Bruce Bochy said.

Notes: With the Padres not needing a fifth starter until April 17, left-handed pitcher Sterling Hitchcock will begin the season with Single-A Lake Elsinore, Padres officials announced Wednesday.

The Giants added left-handed reliever Kevin Walker, who was claimed off waivers from the San Diego Padres on Wednesday.

The Atlanta Braves released outfielder Gary Matthews Jr. on Wednesday, just hours before they would have been obligated to pay him his entire salary for 2004.

Minor League rosters were expected to be set on Wednesday, but the timetable has been pushed back and may not be ready until Friday. Several players were released on Wednesday with Jon Benick the only name known on the list, according to the North County Times.

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