Leaving Pacific Bell Park has done nothing to slow down the red-hot San Francisco Giants.
In fact, baseball’s top team has been even better on the road.
San Francisco tries to improve on the best road start in franchise history as it resumes a three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chavez Ravine.
Marquis Grissom homered against his former team and Jason Schmidt pitched into the eighth inning as the Giants cruised to a 5-1 victory over the struggling Dodgers in Friday’s series opener, kicking off a nine-game road trip.
The win improved San Francisco’s record to a major league-best 14-2, making it just the 10th team since 1900 to win 14 of its first 16.
Even more impressive is the Giants’ 7-0 mark on the road.
Barry Bonds went 0-for-3 Friday after having the previous two days off.
The Giants’ slugger and reigning National League batting champ is 0-for-5 in his last two games after a season-high six-game hitting streak.
However, San Francisco has received some unexpected production from its slick-fielding first baseman. J.T. Snow, who leads the majors with 21 RBIs, drove in three more runs Friday, giving him 10 in the last five games.
“It’s a great start for us,” said Snow. “It just puts to rest all the questions that there would have been about some of the guys we lost. This is probably the best thing that we could have hoped for.”
The Giants have won all four meetings with the Dodgers this season, taking three straight one-run games at Pac Bell last weekend before Friday’s easy victory.
Shawn Green’s RBI single provided the Dodgers with their lone run in the opener as Los Angeles lost for the fifth time in seven games.
Los Angeles has failed to score more than four runs in any game during that stretch.
STANDINGS: Giants - 1st place, NL West. Dodgers - 3rd place (tied), 7 1/2 GB, NL West.
GIANTS PROBABLE STARTER: Damian Moss (2-0, 3.24 ERA). Unbeaten in his first three starts, Moss is coming off his best effort of the season. The left-hander allowed one run and five hits over six innings in Monday’s 4-2 victory over Houston. Acquired in the offseason deal that sent right-hander Russ Ortiz to Atlanta, Moss has had problems with his control, walking 14 and striking out nine over 16 2-3 innings. Moss is 2-0 with a 1.65 ERA in two career starts against the Dodgers.
DODGERS PROBABLE STARTER: Andy Ashby (0-2, 6.75 ERA). Ashby, starting in place of injured left-hander Odalis Perez, is hoping for more success than he had in the bullpen in the early going. The veteran right-hander has taken the loss in each of his last two relief outings, including Sunday’s 5-4, 12-inning defeat at San Francisco. Ashby, who went 9-13 with a 3.91 ERA in 30 starts for Los Angeles last year, was being used as a reliever for the first time since 1993, when he was with Colorado. He is 6-12 with a 4.84 ERA in 23 career appearances, including 21 starts, against the Giants.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Giants - Snow, .392 avg. and 21 RBIs; Jose Cruz Jr. and Bonds, 5 HRs; Cruz Jr., 18 runs; Ray Durham, 4 SBs. Dodgers - Paul Lo Duca, .321 avg.; Brian Jordan, 3 HRs; Green 10 RBIs; Dave Roberts, 12 runs and 8 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Giants, 4-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Giants - RHP Robb Nen underwent diagnostic surgery on his right shoulder in Los Angeles on Friday. Nen originally had a cleanup procedure on his labrum last November. He was placed on the 15-day DL before the team’s season opener March 31. … San Francisco relievers lead the NL with nine saves in 10 chances. … With 12 days remaining in the month, 1B Snow has already surpassed his best RBI total in April. He drove in 17 runs in April 1993 for the Anaheim Angels. Dodgers - OF Roberts leads the majors with eight steals. … Los Angeles has been held to two runs or fewer in seven of 17 games. … The Dodgers are 2-2 on their six-game homestand.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Giants - 7-0 on the road; Dodgers - 4-3 at home.
INJURIES: Giants - LHP Jason Christiansen (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Ryan Jensen (back), 15-day DL; RHP Nen (shoulder), 15-day DL. Dodgers - OF Chad Hermansen (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Derek Thompson (elbow), 60-day DL.