Giants 5, Dodgers 3
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Jason Christiansen figures the Giants received two shots in the arm in a matter of days: Ace Jason Schmidt is back on the mound, and slugger Barry Bonds has resumed rehabilitation on his surgically repaired right knee.
And the Giants can’t help but think that maybe—they’re crossing their fingers and knocking on wood—this banged-up roster will be close to full strength sometime around the All-Star break.
Schmidt showed he is healthy again, all right.
He came off the disabled list earlier in the day, then pitched five effective innings and hit a home run in San Francisco’s 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night.
“I was pumped up to get out there,” Schmidt said. “That was a big relief.”
Schmidt connected for his fifth career homer leading off the third, sending a 2-2 pitch from Jeff Weaver (4-4) over the left-field wall. It was Schmidt’s first homer since last July 1, at Dodger Stadium off Jose Lima.
“I was looking to hit the ball to right field, so that tells you I don’t know what I’m doing,” he said, smiling.
Matheny hit his fifth homer of the season in the fourth, and Weaver was done two batters later and on the way to his second straight loss.
Schmidt had been sidelined since May 10 with a right shoulder strain and hadn’t won since April 10 against Colorado—a span of six starts. Manager Felipe Alou closely monitored his ace, whose mere presence seemed to immediately lift the spirits of his teammates.
“He was awesome,” Matheny said. “That was exactly what we needed from him. It was exciting for him to see, and exciting for us.”
And Tyler Walker’s clutch pitching as fill-in closer is also sparking the Giants. Walker, a burly right-hander who grew up a Giants fan in San Francisco, got two outs in the ninth for his seventh save in eight chances and sixth since May 12. He has retired 19 of 20 batters since replacing the injured Armando Benitez, allowing only a walk.
The bullpen, including 42-year-old lefty Jeff Fassero going on two days’ rest after starting Saturday, pitched four innings of scoreless relief.
“I think all of us are starting to adjust to the fact Armando’s gone,” said lefty reliever Christiansen. “Tyler is doing the job well. It’s hard for us because nobody has specific roles, so it’s about making adjustments.”
The 32-year-old Schmidt (2-2), an NL All-Star the past two years and an 18-game winner last season, allowed three runs and five hits, struck out seven and walked three in an 82-pitch performance.
He had thrown 451 pitches in his previous four starts in only 24 innings.
On Tuesday, Schmidt needed 43 pitches to get through the first two innings, both of which began with leadoff singles. After Cesar Izturis started the game with a hit, Schmidt struck out the side. He escaped a shaky second inning by surrendering only one run.
After Weaver hit an RBI single in the second to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead, Schmidt retired seven straight batters—and he got through the fourth in seven pitches.
He loaded the bases in the fifth when Antonio Perez doubled and pinch-hitter Mike Edwards and J.D. Drew both walked. Schmidt balked in a run, then Hee-Seop Choi hit a sacrifice fly to left to pull Los Angeles within 5-3.
“Basically it boiled down to the home run ball beating us,” Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. “I thought we had a chance when Schmidt started to struggle. We didn’t do anything wrong, we just didn’t get the big hits when we needed them.”
Perez had two hits for the Dodgers, who ended a three-game losing streak with Sunday’s 6-2 win over the Angels.
Giants second baseman Ray Durham returned to the lineup after missing Sunday’s game with a sprained left middle finger, and hit two doubles. He doubled in the second and scored on Alfonzo’s RBI single, then doubled in the fourth.
He has a 13-game hitting streak, the longest by a Giant this year.
Weaver, making his third start against San Francisco this season, was tagged for eight hits and five runs.
The right-hander lost 8-3 last Wednesday against Florida, allowing six runs and 10 hits—including three home runs.
Drew had a precautionary MRI on Monday on his troublesome right wrist. There was fluid in the area, but doctors said it was not enough to keep him from playing. … San Francisco optioned RHP Jeremy Accardo to Triple-A Fresno to free up a roster spot for Schmidt. … Los Angeles placed LHP Odalis Perez on the 15-day disabled list with left shoulder soreness. Wilson Alvarez will pitch in Perez’s place Wednesday and will be limited to 65-70 pitches. … Matheny grounded into his first double play of the season in the second. His predecessor at catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, did it 27 times last season to set a team record.