|July 20, 2003||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
LP D. Neegle (2-4) 4IP 7H 7R 7ER 4BB 2SO 2HR 7.90 ERA
The Giants came out swinging, scoring a run in the first inning off of Colorado starter Denny Neagle. After getting two quick outs, Neagle gave up a single to Marquis Grissom and then walked Andres Galarraga to set up a two on, two-out situation for hot-hitting shortstop Rich Aurilia. Aurilia cashed in with a line drive single right back up the middle, scoring Grissom from second base.
After going down in order in both the second and third innings, the Giants put up a four-spot in the fourth. Aurilia followed a leadoff walk with his second consecutive line drive single of the game, and then Edgardo Alfonzo walked on four straight balls to load the bases with nobody out. After Pedro Feliz failed to move the runners up, third-string catcher Alberto Castillo, starting his first game of the season for the Giants, fouled off three pitches and then took a ball before sending a 1-2 curveball over the left field wall for his first career grand slam.
The Giants struck again in the fifth inning on a bizarre home run by Grissom, his fifteenth of the season. With Jose Cruz, Jr. at first base after a leadoff single, Grissom smoked a ball deep to to left center field. Colorado left fielder Jay Payton jumped up in an effort to catch the ball, but came up empty as the ball bounced into and out of the glove of a fan in the front row of the center field bleachers and then landed back on the field. With Cruz in to score and Grissom standing at third, the umpiring crew initially called it a ground rule double on account of fan interference, which would have put Cruz back at third and Grissom on second. Felipe Alou came out to argue the call, and after conferring for several minutes, the umpires ruled it a two-run home run, putting the Giants up 7-1.
Meanwhile, the Giants had sent struggling rookie Jesse Foppert to the mound to make his first start since July 9th. Foppert had not made it into the sixth inning since June 11th and had only won one game in that stretch. However, he had an impressive outing, yielding only one hit, a home run to slugger Todd Helton, through the first six innings. He matched a career high in strikeouts with ten and walked just two batters.
Things got a bit rocky in the seventh, as Foppert surrendered a walk and two extra-base hits to the Rockies, including a two-run home run to Preston Wilson. With one out in the inning and Payton on second, Foppert was replaced by southpaw Scott Eyre. Eyre struck out Mark Sweeney but then gave up a bloop double to Juan Uribe, and Payton scored when Feliz overran the ball in shallow left field, making the score 7-4 Giants.
With two outs, Eyre was relieved by Joe Nathan. Bobby Estalella smoked a ball to the warning track in center field, where it was caught on the run by Grissom. On the play, Grissom crashed hard into the wall and had to leave the game with a bruised left kneecap. Nathan then struck out pinch-hitter Larry Walker to end the top of the seventh. The Giants got one back in their half of the seventh off of demoted closer Jose Jimenez on a two-strike, two-out single by Aurilia, his third of the game.
The Rockies threatened again in the eighth. With two down and two on, setup man Felix Rodriguez walked Payton to load the bases. Alou then summoned lefty Jason Christiansen from the bullpen to face Mark Bellhorn. After running the count to 3-1 on a couple of close pitches, Christiansen came back to strike out Bellhorn swinging to record the final out of the inning.
Tim Worrell closed it out in the ninth with a four-run lead to secure the victory and the sweep for the Giants.
SFDugout's Players of the Game: Alberto Castillo, Jesse Foppert, Rich Aurilia, and the bullpen were all heroes in the game. Castillo not only picked up the first grand slam of his career in a game that was tied at the time, but he called a great game from behind the plate. Aurilia continued his hot-hitting of the second half, going 4-4 with two RBI in four outstanding at-bats. He kept his hands quick and stayed inside the ball, going back up the middle three times and once the opposite way. Foppert rebounded nicely from a long stretch of poor starts, pitching beautifully for six innings against a team with a lot of pop. The bullpen made Foppert's start and the lead stand, wriggling out of jams as the Rockies threatened twice in the late innings, but ultimately slamming the door.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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