Giants 3, Braves 2
“He’s our No. 1 starter, he’s supposed to stop the bleeding,” Bonds said. “That’s why he’s the No. 1 guy.”
Bonds still needs more help from the rest of the lineup to force teams to pitch to him. The slugger went 0-for-1 with three walks, two intentional, leaving the six-time NL MVP with 667 career homers. He’s already walked 30 times this year.
“Boring,” Bonds said.
Schmidt (1-2) became the first of San Francisco’s top three starters to win this year—lefty Kirk Rueter is 0-2 and right-hander Brett Tomko is 0-1. Schmidt allowed two runs and six hits in five innings. He struck out six and walked four.
Schmidt won 17 games last season and led the NL in ERA, but the Giants had not scored a run for him this year until going ahead 3-0 in the third inning.
“That was really nice,” he said. “It was like last year’s team that would come out and score three runs off the bat.”
Mark DeRosa hit a two-run homer to pull the Braves to 3-2 in the fifth, then four Giants relievers kept Atlanta hitless the rest of the way.
This was certainly a solid start to a series for the Giants, who had lost nine of 11 and have dropped three straight series only a year after leading the NL West from Day 1 on the way to 100 victories.
“Outstanding—that was huge,” Schmidt said. “Four innings is a long way to go for any bullpen. Ours is stretched out right now and they came up huge.”
Bonds struck out swinging to lead off the second, was intentionally walked in the third and again in the fifth with runners on first and second. He then walked on four pitches in the eighth.
He hasn’t homered since he had his streak of consecutive games with a home run snapped at seven last Wednesday, one short of tying the major league mark.
Bonds trails only Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) on the career home run list.
Last Wednesday, Schmidt lost 11-0 to the San Diego Padres.
This time, the right-hander calmly worked out of jams by utilizing his effective off-speed pitches. With one out in the third, Schmidt walked DeRosa, then gave up a single to Marcus Giles. Schmidt then struck out J.D. Drew and Andruw Jones to end the threat.
Schmidt faced more trouble in the fifth following DeRosa’s second homer of the season. Giles singled for the third time, then Drew struck out. Jones walked before Schmidt got Adam LaRoche to ground out to second.
“He clutched up when he was in trouble and made good pitches,” Giles said.
Horacio Ramirez (0-2) then intentionally walked Bonds, drawing loud boos from just about everyone in the ballpark.
The Giants got consecutive extra-base hits and an RBI single with two outs in the third to take a 3-0 lead—a run-scoring triple by Ray Durham, an RBI double by Edgardo Alfonzo, and Pedro Feliz’s single that scored Alfonzo.
Ramirez, a 12-game winner last year as a rookie, allowed six hits and three runs in 6 1-3 innings.
“I haven’t been able to stay away from that one inning that has cost me the game,” Ramirez said. “There’s nothing you can do about it. I like these low-scoring games. We’re facing a lot of good pitchers. I’m sure I’ll win a few games I shouldn’t.”
The crowd booed lustily again after the seventh ended with a disputed call at the plate. Alfonzo hit a slow roller that was picked up by pitcher Kevin Gryboski, who threw out Alfonzo at first. First baseman LaRoche then fired home and plate umpire Mike Reilly ruled catcher Eddie Perez’s tag on Deivi Cruz wasin time.
Giants 1B J.T. Snow was a late scratch because of flulike symptoms. Feliz started in his place. … The Giants swept the Braves in three games here last season. … The Giants are 8-12, and April is shaping to be their first losing month since May 2001, a string of 17 straight months—the longest such stretch in the majors, ahead of Atlanta’s 11. … Cruz had a pinch-hit double only hours after the Giants purchased his contract from Triple-A Fresno. … Itwas San Francisco’s first win this season when scoring four or fewer runs.