Last season, Damian Moss didn’t win his fifth game until July 19.
He’ll look to beat that by more than two months when he takes the mound for the middle game of the San Francisco Giants’ series with the Florida Marlins at Pro Player Stadium. And he’ll try to do it knowing his team will be without its dominant closer for the rest of the year.
Moss, acquired from the Atlanta Braves in an offseason trade, has been impressive in his first season with the Giants. He has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of his first six starts.
San Francisco will look for similar results from its young left-hander for the remainder of the season, especially after finding out Tuesday reliever Robb Nen—the club’s all-time saves leader—will be out of action until 2004 because of a partial tear to his right rotator cuff.
“This is serious,” team trainer Stan Conte said before Tuesday night’s game against the Florida Marlins. “Is it career-threatening? Yes, it is. Robb knows that.”
If Moss continues to pitch like he has thus far this season, the loss of Nen may not be that devastating
On Thursday, Moss had a 17-inning scoreless streak snapped in San Francisco’s 5-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs. He allowed just one run—a leadoff homer to Alex Gonzalez in the sixth that barely cleared the glove of center fielder Marquis Grissom—and gave up eight hits over six innings before leaving with the game tied at 1.
The Giants opened a six-game road trip on Tuesday with a 4-2 win over the Marlins. Barry Bonds and Benito Santiago homered, as San Francisco won its third straight after a stretch in which it lost five of six.
Santiago, who broke a 2-2 tie with a two-run shot in the eighth, homered for the first time since April 5. He has four for the season.
“I’ve been a fastball hitter ever since I came to the United States,” said the 38-year-old Santiago, a native of Puerto Rico. “I think I’m back on track. I’m making better contact.”
The Marlins, who have lost four straight, have fallen into a tie with the New York Mets for last place in the National League East.
STANDINGS: Giants - 1st place, NL West. Marlins - 4th place (tied), 7 GB, NL East.
GIANTS PROBABLE STARTER: Moss (4-0, 2.21 ERA). In five career games against the Marlins, Moss is 2-1 with a 4.01 ERA.
MARLINS PROBABLE STARTER: Josh Beckett (2-2, 3.63 ERA). Beckett has not allowed more than three runs in any of his past three starts, but he has just one win in that span. On Thursday, he did not receive a decision after allowing three runs and eight hits through 6 2-3 innings of a 4-3 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is 2-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two career games against the Giants.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Giants - Ray Durham, .319 avg. and 4 SBs; Bonds, 10 HRs; J.T. Snow, 22 RBIs; Jose Cruz, 26 runs. Marlins - Alex Gonzalez, .336 avg.; Gonzalez and Mike Lowell, 8 HRs and 24 RBIs; Lowell and Derrek Lee, 19 runs; Juan Pierre, 12 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Giants, 1-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Giants - 1B Snow is hitless in six career at-bats against Beckett. … LHP Moss is batting .154 (2-for-13) this season. Marlins - RF Juan Encarnacion, who missed only his second game of the season on Sunday because of a right forearm bruise, was back in the lineup Tuesday. He went 0-for-3. … SS Gonzalez was scratched from the lineup Tuesday because of a right wrist sprain. X-rays were negative and Gonzalez is day-to-day. … 3B Lowell is batting .111 (1-for-9) in his career against Moss.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Giants - 12-4 on the road; Marlins - 9-7 at home.
INJURIES: Giants - LHP Jason Christiansen (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Ryan Jensen (back, triceps), 15-day DL; RHP Nen (shoulder), 15-day DL. Marlins - OF Abraham Nunez (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP A.J. Burnett (elbow), 15-day DL; LHP Mark Redman (thumb), 15-day DL.