Coming off of a disappointing loss on Opening Day, and left to wallow in the disappointment thanks to a rain storm, the San Francisco Giants needed something to lift the spirits.
Say hello to the biggest free agent signing of the offseason, Matt Morris. Say goodbye to the Padres thanks to a 3-1 victory.
Morris pitched 6.1 innings, giving up just a solo home run in the 7th inning, and was the driving force behind the Giants first win of the 2006 season. The Giants struggled somewhat offensively, and ended up being outhit by the Padres 7 to 6. But it was the pitching, powered by three pitchers making their first appearances and one clutch performance by a 2nd year reliever.
After Adrian Gonzalez homered to lead off the 7th and cut the Giants lead to 3-1, Morris got Giant-killer Khalil Greene to foul out but then gave up back to back singles to Vinny Castilla and Josh Barfield. That brought in Steve Kline, making his Giants debut. Eric Young,hit the ball hard to right-center, but Steve Finley (another new Giant) caught the ball in stride. After a Kline walk, groundball specialist Scott Munter came in. Munter didn’t get the ball, but instead struck out Mark Bellhorn with a fastball in on the hands.
Munter handled the 8th, and that brought in Tim Worrell for the 9th. Although Giants fans are used to seeing Worrell closing, this was his first appearance since coming back to the Giants. He struck out Greene to start things out, but things started to look hairy as an infield pop-up dropped for Castilla and Barfield singled. But Worrell got Young to hit into a double play to end the threat.
The Giants offense came courtesy of an old friend, Shawn Estes. Estes made the start for the Giants, and was cruising until the 5th inning when he gave up a single to Omar Vizquel and a freak Ray Durham single that hit the pitching rubber and shot straight into the air, allowing more than enough time for Durham to get to first. Estes walked Barry Bonds to load the bases, which brought up Moises Alou. Alou hit a slow roller off the end of the bat, and Estes came off the mound to field it. Estes thought about throwing home, then thought twice, and lost his grip on the ball before he could throw to first, giving Alou just enough time to beat out the throw.
Lance Niekro followed that by getting a bases-loaded walk from Estes, and Pedro Feliz plated another run despite hitting into a double play.
Bonds started the game in left with Randy Winn in center, but Bonds left the game in the 5th since the Giants home opener is a day game after this night game, and a flight home was still pending. Winn shifted to left field, and Finley came into play center field.
But today, pitching ruled, just as the Giants were constructed to do. And the Giants come home having split two games with the 2005 N.L. West Champs and a 4 game series against the Atlanta Braves upcoming.
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