Feliz said: “They don't want to pitch to (Barry). We wish they pitched to him. It's fun to watch.” Feliz himself made it fun to watch a critical must-win game for the Giants.
With Bonds drawing and matching a career-high five walks, three coming in the intentional variety, Feliz took matters into his own hands. He went 4-for-5, driving home four runs, all of which came in the bottom of eighth inning on a majestic blast off loser Yhency Brazoban (3-1). The hometown crowd of 42,486 erupted as Feliz’s shot went soaring down the left-field line.
“It was a big day for me. I feel excited about the grand slam to win the game,” Feliz said. “When I was running the bases, I was thinking, ‘We already have this game.’
Prior to that at-bat, the game was in the hands of the bullpens as both starters could not make it past the fourth inning. Brad Hennessey went 3 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on five hits, with the big blow coming off Joey Cora’s two-run homer in the top of the fourth, bat-flip and all. The homerun gave the Dodgers a 4-2 lead, heading into the Giants half of the fourth inning.
San Francisco (86-68) proved that it wasn’t “Lima Time” as they knocked Jose Lima out in the bottom of the fourth, scoring runs on a pinch-hit sacrifice fly from Tony Torcato and a Ray Durham double that scored Michael Tucker.
The animated Lima finished with an almost identical line with Hennessey, pitching 3 2/3 innings, while giving up four runs on seven hits. Lima made a bone-headed move in the bottom of the third when he tried to bare-hand a grounder hit directly at him. Lima already had a hairline fracture on his right thumb, but still risked hurting it further on the failed attempt.
“Why couldn't the ball just hit me in the mouth? I can always go to the dentist tomorrow and get new teeth,” Lima said.
With the score knotted at 4-4, Tucker untied the game in the bottom of the fifth with a sacrifice fly to left-field, scoring Feliz from third base to give the Giants a brief 5-4 lead. Milton Bradley followed in the Dodgers’ half of the sixth inning with a homerun off Tyler Walker to tie the score at 5-5.
The score remained tied until the bottom of the eighth when the Giants loaded the bases by tiring Brazoban with their plate discipline. Tucker led off with a liner to right-field and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Dustan Mohr. Pinch-hitter Ricky Ledee battled to draw a walk on a full-count, which Durham followed with a full-count at-bat himself.
Durham ultimately popped out to the first baseman, but not before fouling off three straight pitches to help build Brazoban’s pitch count. J.T. Snow worked a 3-2 count himself as he, too, drew a walk, loading the bases for Feliz.
Brazoban started Feliz, notorious for his first-pitch swinging antics, with a slider away to steal strike one. With Brazoban’s pitch count at 32 for the inning, Feliz sat dead-red on a fastball and got one, launching it to left-field. The Giants’ dugout knew immediately at the crack of the bat and jumped to the top of the dugout stairs to celebrate Feliz’s second career grand slam.
Scott Eyre (2-2) picked up the win with a scoreless inning of work. Dustin Hermanson closed out the ninth inning in a non-save situation to end the game.
The loss dropped Los Angeles’ (88-65) National League West lead to 1 ½ games. The two long-time rivals wrap up their three-game set on Sunday afternoon off the shores of McCovey Cove where the Giants hope to inch closer to the division lead. San Francisco picked up a game on wild-card leader Chicago, who also lost on Saturday, trimming their lead to a half-game.
With two games completed in the crucial series with the Dodgers, that culminates in a season-ending showdown in Los Angeles next weekend, Barry Bonds is ready for more.
“Two great games, guys, that's it,” Bonds said. “Two outstanding baseball games. Move on. Let's play tomorrow.”
Game Notes: Friday night standout Odalis Perez was seen rocking the “Elton John” sunglasses in the Dodgers’ dugout, drawing ridicule from the Fox telecasters… Lima failed to reach base on a strikeout in the top of the second inning. As he ran to first base on a wild pitch, Lima covered his head, in fear of being hit by the throw and slowed down, allowing A.J. Pierzynski to throw him out…¦ Since 2003, the Dodgers are 6-13 at the Ballpark on Third and King… Durham hit another leadoff homerun in the bottom of the first, tying with Paul Molitor for sixth on the all-time list with 33.
SFDugout.com player of the game: Pedro Feliz and his no-doubt-about-it grand slam. Feliz, who Bonds called a “great player,” keeps adding to his career-high in homeruns. Though his inability to hit with runners in scoring position (.233 batting average/.588 on base plus slugging percentage) has hindered him from truly reaching his potential, Feliz delivered on Saturday when the Giants needed him most.
Phil Delacruz was a transplanted Giants fan, buried in the Southland. After four strenuous years in College, studying (read: partying), he’s back in the beautiful “City by the Bay” – San Francisco. Do you think he should move back to LALA land? Or do you like him where he is now and appreciate the good reads? Either way, send him an e-mail at email@example.com to air out your frustrations or, more likely, songs of praise.
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