With the excitement and jitters of opening day in the rear view mirror, it was time for the Giants to step on the gas, as the team embarks on a journey that they hope won't end until mid October.
In a battle of bitter rivals the Dodgers avenged their opening day loss Wednesday, with 10-4 giant trouncing. The Dodgers battered the Giants bullpen, which surrendered eight runs in four innings of relief.
The Giants first night game of the season featured a pair of southpaws, with the crafty veteran Kirk Rueter matched up against Odalis Perez. Coming into the game Rueter had 12 career victories against the Dodgers, more than any other active pitcher. After going 9-12 last season, with a 4.73 era, Woody surrendered two runs in his five-inning season debut.
The Giants were missing an enormous presence from its lineup Wednesday night and for once the talk wasnt about Barry Bonds. Felipe Alou was M.I.A., as he was forced to serve a one game suspension after being ejected from a game against the Astros at the end of last season. Alou was tossed for arguing the ejection of Dustin Hermanson, who drilled Jeff Kent.
I have never been suspended before, Alou said. The only game Ive missed as a manager is when my father died and I went to his funeral in 1994. I am fortunate Ive never been sick and missed a game.
Bench coach Ron Wotus filled in for Alou as manager.
The Dodgers got on the scoreboard first in the second inning when Jeff Kent led the inning off with a walk. After a deep pop out to center by Milton Bradely, Olmedo Saenz blooped a single over first base that nearly forced Kent at second. Jason Phillips followed with a booming double over center fielder Marquis Grissoms head, driving in both men on base. Rueter collected himself, struck the next two batters out and wouldnt allow any other runs.
The Giants attempted to get its offense in gear in the fourth inning when Pedro Feliz led off with a walk. With one out Edgardo Alfonso got his second single of the game, putting runners on first and second. Grissom followed with a double of the left field wall driving in Feliz and providing one of only two extra base hits the Giants had in the game.
After his fourth inning at bat Moises Alou left the game because of stiffness in his right calf. Michael Tucker took his place in right field.
The wheels really started to come off for the Giants in the sixth inning. Tyler Walker and Jason Christensen surrendered five runs, including five straight hits extending the Dodgers lead to 7-1. The Dodgers jumped all over the Giants relievers with six hits in the inning, including a two-run homer by Jose Valentin of Christensen.
"I felt ready, but before I knew it, I was backing up the bases, Walker said. I dont know what happened.
Matt Herges was the Giants fourth pitcher of the evening taking over in the seventh inning. He didnt fare any better and continued with the trend of surrendering hits and runs. The Dodgers added three more runs, building its lead to 10-1. Jeff Fassero made his Giants debut in the ninth inning and was the only Giants pitcher not to allow any runs.
Giants fans finally had something to cheer about in the bottom of the ninth by scoring three runs off of Dodger closer Yhency Brazoban. Mike Matheney hit his first home run in a Giants uniform, with a two-run shot down t he left field line. A few batters later Feliz drove an RBI single to center. These would be the final runs of the game that would end10-4 in the Dodgers favor.
"It was nice to see the guys come back and rough up their closer a little," Wotus said. "He wasn't able to finish the game. Hopefully it affects him tomorrow night as well."
Perez went 2-0 against the Giants last season and he continued with his success. The lefty had plenty of run support lasting five strong innings, allowing only six hits and one earned run, while striking out two and walking two.
Besides receiving the loudest negative ovation from the packed crowd, Dodger second baseman Kent had a solid game. The ex-Giant went 2-5, with a walk, two runs scored and a few slick plays in the field. Also having a good game for the Dodgers was Valentin, who went 3-4 making up for his critical error that cost the Dodgers the game on Tuesday.
Even Eric Gagne, who is on the disabled list, saw some action for the Dodgers .The All-Star closer was tossed from the game after heckling home plate umpire Bill Hohn from the dugout on a delayed call in the fifth inning.
In Thursday nights series finale the Giants send Brett Tomko to the hill against the Dodgers lanky right-hander, Jeff Weaver.
Cord has been a Giants junkie since he could blink and is an enthusiast for playing and watching most sports. Getting paid to be around baseball is his ultimate goal and he is confidant it will happen soon. Hit him up at Cordnowell@gmail. com
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