SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Bruce Bochy is all for being aggressive on the basepaths. It worked so well for San Francisco’s skipper during recent winning seasons with the San Diego Padres.
That’s why it’s been tough to see his Giants miss key chances. In Friday night’s 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Omar Vizquel got thrown out trying to steal and Pedro Feliz was nailed at the plate.
“It’s frustrating,” said Bochy, 1-3 so far in his new managerial gig. “They went hard, they created opportunities and it just didn’t happen. Those are the ones that are tough to take. I look at myself in this game, too … I could have done something different.”
Barry Bonds went 0-for-3 on a chilly Bay Area night, when dense fog hovered for most of the game and players could see their own breath—more reminiscent of the old days at Candlestick Park.
Bonds, stepping up to chants of “Barry! Barry!” grounded out to second to end the first, then fell behind 0-2 leading off the fourth before flying out to left with Luis Gonzalez on the warning track to make the catch and fans on their feet and “oohing” thinking it might be career homer No. 736. Bonds, scheduled to take Saturday afternoon’s game off, grounded out in the sixth and reached on Gonzalez’s two-base fielding error in the eighth when the Giants’ rally fell short.
Pinch-hitter Rich Aurilia doubled to start the San Francisco eighth, then Dave Roberts sacrificed him to third. Vizquel drove in Aurilia on a groundout to bring up Bonds with the bases empty. Bonds hit what looked like a routine fly, but Gonzalez backhanded the ball and couldn’t keep it in his glove while also losing his footing on the slippery field.
The Dodgers managed to come up with the key hits after entering the game batting .181—and Penny (1-0) did his part by shutting down the Giants. He allowed 10 hits and a run, struck out one and walked one in seven-plus innings.
“That’s as good as I’ve ever seen Penny mix in his off-speed stuff,” Dodgers manager Grady Little said. “He worked on it in spring training, and he utilized it to the best of his ability. We couldn’t have asked for anything more. He came through tonight, but there was some outstanding defensive work tonight.”
Jack Taschner escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the ninth, then Dodgers closer Takashi Saito got the final three outs for his second save, sealing it by striking out Roberts looking with runners on first and second.
Jeff Kent had an RBI single in the sixth during a stretch of four straight hits against Giants starter Noah Lowry (0-1), including Garciaparra’s one-out double. He scored on Kent’s hit, then Gonzalez followed with a single up the middle and pitching coach Dave Righetti paid Lowry a visit.
“We’ve got staying power,” Kent said. “We can stay in games and find ways to win. This is a solid ballclub. And we haven’t even started to hit, and (Rafael) Furcal hasn’t played yet.”
Los Angeles took the lead in the fifth on Wilson Betemit’s grounder to third on which Feliz fielded the ball and was prepared to throw to first when he saw Matt Kemp running. Feliz tried to set himself and threw off balance to pull catcher Bengie Molina off the plate, allowing Kemp to score.
The Dodgers saved a run in the bottom half. After Feliz singled to start the inning, Randy Winn doubled to the corner in left and Feliz headed for home, but Gonzalez made a great relay throw to shortstop Ramon Martinez, who hit catcher Russell Martin and Martin made a perfect block of the plate with his left leg and tagged a visibly upset Feliz.
Penny praised Martin’s heads-up work, as well as the rest of the defense.
“I’ve been working on being quicker to the plate,” Penny said. “If you give him (Martin) a chance, he’s going to throw people out.”
The Dodgers haven’t lost in San Francisco since their new right-hander, Jason Schmidt, beat Penny on Aug. 18.
Vizquel doesn’t plan to change his approach after being caught stealing after his one-out single in the first.
“I question myself why I’m going to second when Barry Bonds is hitting,” Vizquel said. “I know it looks bad when I’m thrown out. But I can’t just wait for him to hit a home run.”
Lowry made a solid season debut for the Giants, allowing one earned run on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks in seven innings but again was the victim of low run support.
The left-hander faced one more than the minimum through three, throwing 38 pitches and 25 for strikes. After Garciaparra’s two-out single to right in the first, Lowry struck out three of the next four batters. After Penny singled with one out in the third, Juan Pierre grounded into an inning-ending double play.
First-base umpire Bruce Froemming sported a hood over his cap to stay warm, while second-base umpire Brian Runge wore gloves. … The crowd of 43,146 was the largest for a regular-season game in AT&T Park history, topping the 43,069 attendance May 21, 2005, vs. Oakland.