WP J. Schmidt (13-5) 7.2IP 4H 1R 0ER 2BB 6K 0HR 2.26 ERA
|August 26, 2003
LP D. Oliver (10-9) 6.0IP 6H 3R 3ER 2BB 4K 0HR 5.10 ERA
Jason Schmidt was outstanding, smothering the Rockies’ offense at hitter-friendly
Coors Field. He gave up only two hits through the first seven innings and
didn’t allow a runner past second base. Charles Johnson’s leadoff double in
the third went for naught, as Schmidt retired the next three batters in
order to strand Johnson at second. The Rockies put only one more baserunner
on before Jay Payton’s two-out double in the seventh. With Payton in
scoring position, Charles Johnson came up to bat with a chance to drive in a
run, but he went down swinging on a 3-2 changeup to end the inning and the
The eighth inning brought some trouble for the Schmidt and the Giants, as
Juan Uribe led off with a sharp single to left center field. Schmidt got
the next two hitters, but Greg Norton, 3-7 lifetime against Schmidt entering
the at-bat, singled on Schmidt’s 111th pitch of the night to put runners at
first and second. With two down and two on, Colorado slugger Todd Helton,
hitting up over .350 with 27 home runs on the year, came up to bat
representing the tying run. San Francisco manager Felipe Alou decided to
play the averages, bringing southpaw Jason Christiansen in from the bullpen
to face Helton.
The situation seemed oddly familiar. For the second consecutive start,
Schmidt pitched beautifully deep into the game through unfavorable
circumstances and left with a 3-0 lead. For the second consecutive start,
things got sticky. On a 1-2 count, Helton skied a ball into fairly shallow
right field, where Marquis Grissom and Jose Cruz converged. Cruz, who has
played a stellar right field all year for the Giants, called off Grissom and
held out his glove to make the catch. The ball popped in and out of his
glove and dropped on the grass, allowing Uribe to score and putting runners
on second and third with two down for RBI machine Preston Wilson. Righty
Joe Nathan was summoned from the bullpen to face Wilson, who was in position
to tie the game with a base hit to the outfield. With the Colorado fans
cheering on their heavy-hitting center fielder, Nathan got Wilson to fly out
to left field to leave both runners on base.
Facing Colorado starter Darren Oliver for the third time this year, the
Giant offense didn’t provide much of a cushion for its pitching staff, but
single runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings proved to be enough for
Schmidt and the bullpen.
After being held hitless through the first three innings, Jeffrey Hammonds
coaxed a one-out walk from Oliver in the fourth. Benito Santiago singled,
moving Hammonds to second base. Rich Aurilia followed with a flyout to
center, but Andres Galarraga picked up a two-out RBI with a clutch single to
left field, scoring Hammonds. The inning ended on the play, as Santiago was
hung up trying to go first to third.
Eighth place hitter Pedro Feliz, giving regular third baseman Edgardo
Alfonzo a day off, led off the fifth with a line drive into the left field
corner and stood on second to set up a sacrifice situation for Schmidt.
After Schmidt lay down a perfect bunt to move Feliz over to third, Cruz
struck out. However, former Rockie Neifi Perez picked up his teammate with
a two-out line shot back up the middle, plating Feliz for the second run of
The Giants’ third and final run scored in the sixth on a double play ball
off the bat of Aurilia. Hammonds and Santiago hit back-to-back singles off
of Oliver to open the inning, bringing Aurilia to the plate with runners at
the corners and nobody out. Aurilia grounded a 2-2 pitch right to the
shortstop Uribe, who surrendered a run to turn a tailor-made 6-4-3.
Tim Worrell pitched the ninth for the Giants, giving up a single to Payton
but inducing a double play grounder off the bat of Johnson to record his
28th save of the season and preserve the win for the Giants.
Game notes: Sluggers Todd Helton and Larry Walker both went hitless on the night,
going a combined 0-8 against the San Francisco staff.
With his thirteenth win of the year, Schmidt tied his career high and
upped his record to an impressive 13-5. He also brought his season ERA to
2.26, second-lowest in the Majors.
Schmidt took a liner off the right hip in the fifth inning, but it
certainly didn’t hinder his performance and the pain didn’t appear to linger
with him throughout the remainder of the game.
SFDugout’s Players of the Game: While Neifi Perez and Jeffrey Hammonds
contributed clutch offense and solid defense, the pitching staff was the key
to the game. Schmidt was outstanding in 7 2/3 before giving way to the
bullpen. Jason Christiansen, though the out he induced was not recorded
because of Cruz’s error in the eighth, did his job in retiring one of the
most dangerous hitters in the game. Joe Nathan pitched out of a huge jam
with the tying runs in scoring position and the go-ahead run at the plate,
and Tim Worrell finished it off with a quick 8-pitch ninth.
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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