It was all about the pitchers on Tuesday night. Giants hurlers gave vaunted slugger Vladimir Guerrero a hattrick of strikeouts and Matt Morris had 2 RBI as the San Francisco Giants defeated the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 3-2.
Morris suffered through some problems early in the game, but was his most effective with runners on base, as the Angels left 10 men on base throughout the game. Only second baseman Adam Kennedy could get a clutch hit against Morris, doubling with catcher Mike Napoli on first to score Napoli and the only run Morris would give up.
But Morris also came around to supply the offense. After getting 3 runs or less of run support in 10 of his 14 starts, Morris doubled with 2 out and 2 on in the 2nd inning, after the Angels John Lackey intentionally walked Eliezer Alfonzo to get to Morris. Both runners scored, and the Giants took a 2-0 lead that they would not relinquish.
The Giants would need at least one more run of support, after the Angels broke through in the 6th to score 1 run against Morris. With 1 out in the 7th inning, Alfonzo doubled into right center past Guerrero, and with 2 out, Randy Winn hit a high Texas Leaguer single that fell in along the line in front of left fielder Garrett Anderson and over third baseman Dallas McPherson.
The run was important, as Napoli homered over the deepest part of the left-center wall in the 8th to bring the game back to just a 1 run deficit.
Thankfully, the rest of the bullpen stepped up, including striking out Guerrero twice to end innings. Jeremy Accardo did it in the 7th, but it was Benitez’s performance in the 9th that electrified the crowd.
Benitez, who has recently expressed some frustration with a seeming lack of confidence in his abilities as closer, got Guerrero to line out loudly to left field in Monday’s win while getting the save. On Tuesday, Benitez was facing the Angels first three batters. After retiring Chone Figgins and Orlando Cabrera, he faced bad Vlad again. This time, Guerrero swung and missed three times and that clinched the save for Benitez.
SFDugout.com Player Of The Game: Benitez is close, but this one has to go to Morris. He wasn’t his most dominating, but he kept the Angels from scoring, which is the name of the game, and then he drove runs in, which is simply a very nice bonus.
Notes: Moises Alou missed his third straight game with back problems...Manager Felipe Alou is considering playing Barry Bonds on Wednesday, although he would normally give Bonds the day off...The Giants have reached an agreement with their 3rd round pick, left handed pitcher Clayton Tanner. Tanner, who graduated this year from Concord’s De La Salle High School, had committed to go to Pepperdine...The Giants and Angels will close out this series, their first meeting since the 2002 World Series, on Wednesday in an afternoon game. Noah Lowry will take the mound for San Francisco, while former Los Angeles Dodger Jeff Weaver will go for the Halos...Anaheim’s starter, John Lackey, started Game 7 of the 2002 World Series against the Giants, and became the first rookie to win a World Series Game 7 since 1909.
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