Rewind: Giants vs Braves Game #2

The San Francisco Giants, who cooled off the streaking Atlanta Braves with a win in the first of three games, were dealt a blow in Game 2. The Braves took their division-leading 24th game of the season and snapped the Giants' six-game winning streak with a 6-3 victory.

May 10, 2003 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
San Francisco 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 3 8 0
Atlanta 1 0 0 0 1 0 3 2 x 6 11 1

WP K. Gryboski (2-2) 1/3IP 0H 0R 0ER 0BB 0SO 0HR 7.07 ERA
LP J. Nathan (4-1) 2/3IP 3H 3R 3ER 0BB 0SO 0HR 1.50 ERA

San Francisco starter Kirk Rueter came into the game with a record of 3-7 and a 5.65 lifetime ERA against the Atlanta Braves. He looked to turn his luck around against rookie pitcher Horacio Ramirez, who was 2-2 with an ERA just under 4 entering Saturday's contest.

Rueter did his part, throwing six strong innings of one-run ball against the team with the second-best batting average in the National League. The only run he gave up came in the first on an RBI single off the bat of Chipper Jones. He blanked the Braves over the next five innings, allowing only three hits while striking out two.

The Giants, meanwhile, could not muster any offense against Ramirez. He shut them out over the first five frames, scattering three hits and four walks, one intentional. In the sixth, however, all it took Andres Galarraga to put the Giants on top was one swing of the bat. With Jose Cruz, Jr. at second base, he crushed a 1-2 pitch over the left field wall to give San Francisco a 2-1 advantage.

The Giants' lead did not last long. After failing to score with the bases loaded in the top of the seventh, the Giants came back out and immediately lost the lead. Chipper Jones tied the game with a home run off of Joe Nathan, who prior to that at-bat, had an ERA of 0.39. First base umpire Jeff Nelson didn't make any friends in the Giants dugout, when a missed strike three call prolonged the inning and gave the Braves an opportunity to complete their comback. With two outs and nobody on, Vinny Castilla checked his swing on a 2-2 pitch. Nathan's appeal to first base was denied, and eventually, Castilla singled. On the next pitch, Javy Lopez broke the tie with his fifth home run of the year, a two-run shot to center. Replays of Castilla's 2-2 offering showed clearly that his bat broke through the hitting zone, but the damage had been done.

The Braves broke the game open in the eighth inning against righty Ryan Jensen, who was pitching fresh off the DL. He gave up two earned runs on two singles and a double and left the Giants four runs behind Atlanta going into the ninth. With a 6-2 lead, John Smoltz came on in a non-save situation and surrendered a run to the Giants on a Rich Aurilia double, but held the lead to secure the Braves' 24th win of the season.

Game notes: Giants leadoff hitter and second baseman Ray Durham left the game in the fifth inning with a sprained ankle after sliding hard into third base. He is currently listed as day-to-day.

SFDugout's Player(s) of the Game: Kirk Rueter and Andres Galarraga. Rueter, although handed with a tough no-decision, pitched well against a lifelong nemesis and lowered his ERA to 2.87 for the year. Andres Galarraga, starting in place of J.T. Snow at first base, continued his hot hitting of the early season with a two-run homer that, at the time, put San Francisco into the lead. He went 2-4 overall with two runs batted in and a run scored.

Stephanie Moy is a diehard Giants fan, born and raised in San Francisco. She loves hearing feedback - good, bad, or otherwise - so if you're so obliged, contact her at a_hole_in_the_bucket@hotmail.com

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