SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—After just two games in Dodger blue, Jose Valentin already knows his mistakes and highlights both will be magnified in his new club’s biggest rivalry—and he’s hoping to produce far more hits than misses.
Valentin atoned for his opening-day error with three hits, including a three-run homer, while Olmedo Saenz drove in three runs in Los Angeles’ 10-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.
Valentin and Milton Bradley also had run-scoring triples, and Jason Phillips drove in two more runs as the Dodgers shook off their opening loss with 14 hits and two late-inning rallies in the rematch.
Valentin’s seventh-inning error Tuesday night allowed the Giants’ go-ahead run, but the 11-year veteran responded with an impressive comeback game, going 3-for-4.
“I’ve been through a lot of hard times in my career, and that was just another one,” said Valentin, who signed with Los Angeles in December after hitting a career-high 30 homers for the White Sox. “If I’m in a situation like that again, I’m going to come right back again.”
Los Angeles scored five runs in the sixth, tagging relievers Tyler Walker and Jason Christiansen for five consecutive hits capped by Valentin’s homer. The Dodgers got three more in the seventh on Saenz’s two-run double and Valentin’s triple, which bounced crazily off the brick wall in right field.
Valentin actually expected to see the bunt sign before his homer, but was allowed to swing away. Jason Christiansen’s fastball eventually landed in the tunnel leading to the players’ parking lot down the left-field line.
Saenz, subbing for Hee Seop Choi at first base, went 3-for-4 with a walk.
“We have a number of professional players on this club, a number of guys that understand what a 162-game season means,” manager Jim Tracy said. “The important thing for us to do is to keep our heads above water and keep ourselves close, knowing we’ve got a pretty good team on the disabled list right now.”
Maybe the Dodgers won’t have as much trouble scoring runs as everybody expects this season—and maybe the Giants’ bullpen isn’t quite as solid as they expected.
Mike Matheny hit a two-run homer in the ninth for the Giants, who floundered while manager Felipe Alou served a one-game suspension. Moises Alou, his son and right fielder, also left in the fifth inning with tightness in his right calf.
The Dodgers’ reconfigured lineup had little trouble getting to Kirk Rueter, who struggled through five innings for the loss, and the Giants’ bullpen.
“I felt ready, but before I knew it, I was backing up the bases,” said Walker, who allowed four straight hits without getting an out. “I don’t know what happened.”
Jason Repko, playing left field and hitting second in his major league debut with the Dodgers, got a sixth-inning double for his first hit. Repko, whose family was watching in the stands, would have got his first RBI as well, but Cesar Izturis missed third base on his way to the plate.
Odalis Perez pitched five solid innings for the victory, allowing six hits and three walks. He’s 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA in his last four starts at SBC Park.
After presenting a pitching award to Jason Schmidt before the game, Felipe Alou left to serve his suspension for an incident late last season in which former reliever Dustin Hermanson hit Jeff Kent with a pitch.
Bench coach Ron Wotus managed the Giants in Alou’s absence—just as Tracy did a few times in Montreal, when he was Alou’s bench coach. Alou hadn’t decided whether to watch the game from general manager Brian Sabean’s box, or simply head across King Street to his apartment just beyond the left-field stands.
“Tell him I said to go across the street, in case he feels compelled to say something,” Tracy said before the game. “Because when he does, it’s pretty darn good.”
Wotus’ chance to run the club didn’t go smoothly: Rueter, who rarely complains, thought he should have pitched another inning.
But Wotus was encouraged by the Giants’ three-run ninth against reliever Yhency Brazoban.
“It was nice to see the guys come back and rough up their closer a little,” Wotus said. “He wasn’t able to finish the game. Hopefully it affects him tomorrow night as well.”
Eric Gagne was ejected in the fifth for arguing balls and strikes from the dugout. The punch line? Gagne is on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained elbow. … Giants 2B Ray Durham was a last-minute scratch from the lineup because of a mild groin strain and his poor career record against Perez. … RHP Steve Schmoll made his major league debut for the Dodgers in the eighth.