Sunday, March 9, 2008

Giants 3 A's 2

Whatever success the Giants will have in 2008 will probably come in games like today's. The Giants got good pitching for 9 innings and scored just enough runs to eke out the win. Kevin Correia looked solid through 4 innings of work (3K, 3BBm HR, 1 earned run allowed.) Dan Johnson's solo homer wth one out in the 2nd inning seemed to rattle young Kevin (he walked the next two batters), but then Correia righted himself and struck out the next two Elephant batters to end the inning. After that, Correia faced just one batter over the minimum (a 3rd inning walk to Jack Cust.) He left the game with the score tied thanks to Dan Ortmeier's solo blast in the bottom of the 2nd.

Billy Sadler set down the side in order (2 Ks) in the 5th, and in the 6th Bartolome Fortunato got three quick outs after giving up a leadoff double to Emil Brown. Merkin Valdez was greeted by a leadoff home run off the bat of erstwhile Giants farmhand Justin Knoedler in the 7th, but then Merkin dispatched the Oaklands with a fly ball out, a strikeout and a groundout to Brian Bocock at short. (And yes, Bocock certainly is smooooth in the field. The guy just glides to the ball and gets it over to first in a hurry.)

Tyler Walker got two quick outs in the 8th, then gave up a single to Todd Linden (another former Giant in camp with the A's) but then Tyler got the Giants back in the dugout by inducing a lazy fly to center. Closer Brian Wilson looked real sharp in the 9th, getting two strikeouts and a groundout to close things down and give the G-men the W.

The Giants margin of victory was provided in the 7th by Eugenio Velez who led off with a single, stole second (and he would have stolen third if Nate Schierholtz had not fouled off the pitch on which Velez was running.) Schierholtz then blasted a 2 run homer into the "Salty Pavillion" in right. The Giants first run in the 2nd inning came on a Dan Ortmeier single, followed by a stolen base and an RBI double to right by Rajai Davis. Yep, it's the runnin' Giants now -- get used to it.

The victory was possible because the Giants' pitchers sins were few and venial and the Giants were able to cash in a few of their baserunners today (and they did so without the help of the heart of their order -- Aaron Rowand and Benji Molina.)

UPDATE: Pictures from Friday's Game:

One of the many great things about Spring Training is getting to interact with the game all up close and personal. Before Friday's game, Former Giants and A's great Vida Blue was milling around in the stands. Here are some adoring fans getting up close and personal with Vida (who looks to be in better shape than he was during his final seasons in uniform.)

This is the view from our awesome seats behind home plate. This is Aaron Rowand batting in the 3rd inning with Randy Winn on 2nd and Benjie Molina on 1st. Unfortunately, Rowand would strike out. Rowand came to the plate with 5 runners on base during three at bats in the game and failed to advance a single one of them. Rowand hit into a rally-killing double play in the first inning with the bases loaded, struck out here and then flew out in the 6th with a runner at first. Overall, a forgettable day at the plate for the newest Giant. The guys you see in the lower right of the picture (with the hat and the fellow in orange) are scouts who raised radar guns as every pitch came to the plate. From our seats we could look over their shoulders to see the readouts from the gun, which told us, among other things, that Giants pitcher Merkin Valdez was humming the ball in at between 94-96 MPH consistenly during his excellent inning of work.