San Francisco sent out an outfield of Barry Bonds, Steve Finley and Moises Alou – a cumulative average age of 40 years, 309 days – to open Saturday’s contest against the Atlanta Braves, but looked like the team with more spring in their step as they crushed the Bravos, 12-6, at the ballpark on 24 Willie Mays Plaza.
The Giants celebrated the historic feat of fielding the oldest starting outfield by scoring early and often. Alou got the party started in the first inning by hitting a two-run homer, drawing him one homerun short of 300 for his career.
Finley, another Giant approaching the 300-HR mark, showed fans he’s still in great shape as he tripled for the second consecutive game and went 2-for-5 with an RBI, while scoring two runs.
“We were more looking to July when Mo turns 40 for the all-40 outfield,” Finley told the Associated Press after the game. “The three of us played for a long time and take good care of ourselves.
“It's not like we're putting three slouches out there. We can all cover the ground, we can put the bat on the ball and we know where to play. We all have good baseball instincts. You're not losing anything with us out there.”
Giants starter Jamey Wright (1-0) was the benefactor of those good baseball instincts as San Francisco (3-2) played superb team defense, while their offense pounded out eight runs in the first three frames to put the game away early.
Wright, who was making his San Francisco debut, cruised through seven innings and had good command of his hard sinker to induce three double plays, getting help from 10-time Gold Glove shortstop Omar Vizquel.
“I'm a groundball pitcher so I'm trying to not let them hit the ball (to the outfield) to give those guys some rest,” said Wright, who led Colorado last year with 22 double plays induced. “Barry made some great plays out there today and Omar is as advertised at shortstop."
In addition to his much-acclaimed defense, Vizquel’s offense was equally impressive as he went a perfect 4-for-4 with 5 RBI and three runs scored, while reaching base in all five at-bats.
He is now hitting at a scorching .529 clip, five games into the young season, and showing no signs of slowing down. The numbers are even more impressive for a shortstop who turns 39 this month.
San Francisco manager Felipe Alou knows all about the much-ballyhooed collective age of the Giants roster.
“It's not overblown, it's the truth,” said Alou, who turns 71 next month. “I have to hear about my age every day, especially when I first got here. That's one of the issues we have here. We have other issues. To add one more isn't going to bother anybody.”
The Giants hope to add one more win to their four-game set with the Braves in their series finale Sunday. San Francisco will send Jason Schmidt (0-1, 5.14 ERA) to the mound against former teammate John Smoltz (0-1, 9.00).
SFDugout.com Player Of The Game: Omar Vizquel gets the nod for starting in all five games thus far, but is playing tremendous baseball despite nearing 39 years of age. He has displayed his customary gold glove defense, but his hitting and baserunning has helped San Francisco get off to a 3-2 start and atop the NL West division.
Game Notes: Giants Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer Larry Baer celebrated his birthday Saturday. The Lowell High School alumnus turned 48. … Felipe Alou is one win away from tying former San Francisco manager Bill Rigney for sixth on the Giants (SF) list with 270 wins. … Finley is still three homers shy of becoming the fifth member of the 300 homerun/300 stolen base club. … Bonds homerun total remained at 708 as he was homer-less for the fifth straight game to open the season. To his credit, he has hit the ball hard in his mere 10 official at-bats. Teams are still not pitching to him as he has drawn five walks and has been hit by a pitch once.
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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