Giants 4, Diamondbacks 2
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Russ Ortiz couldn’t have scripted the story line much better.
His old team made enough mistakes in the first inning to give him a quick lead—and he kept it. The only blip on this night was that the pitcher felt a knot in his lower back that kept him from going out for one more inning.
Ortiz stayed calm and collected and even singled to beat the club that cut him last summer and still pays the bulk of his salary, leading the San Francisco Giants past the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 on Friday night.
“I was more anxious than anything,” said Ortiz, who remade himself during winter ball in Puerto Rico. “I was not nervous wondering how I would do. … The only thing I thought about is that I played for them. All the other stuff is just paperwork. I don’t see the paperwork.”
Paperwork being his the big paychecks the D’Backs send his way on the 1st and 15th each month. Ortiz has direct deposit.
Barry Bonds went 2-for-4 with a single and double for his second multihit game of the year to raise his batting average from .306 to .325. The slugger, who hit his 738th career home run Wednesday night and rested Thursday, also scored twice. He is scheduled to play again Saturday in a day game following a night game.
“That’s good,” the 42-year-old Bonds said of how strong he feels and that he’s hitting. “I’m still out there.”
Omar Vizquel, who will receive his 11th Gold Glove on Sunday two days before his 40th birthday, singled in the seventh for his 2,480th hit to pass Cal Ripken Jr. for second-most hits by a shortstop since 1957. Only Vizquel’s Venezuelan countryman, Luis Aparicio, has more hits at the position during the span (2,532).
Bengie Molina drove in two runs, including a single to score Bonds in the fifth for an insurance run. Rich Aurilia singled with two outs in the first to extend his hitting streak to 13 games and Bonds followed with a single.
After that, shortstop Stephen Drew and second baseman Orlando Hudson both called for Pedro Feliz’s high popup and then collided, allowing the ball to spring loose. The error was given to Hudson and two runs came in.
Hudson went 3-for-5 with RBI doubles in the first and third innings and now leads the National League with a .389 batting average. The Diamondbacks lost for the fourth time in five games.
The Giants had chances in the fourth after back-to-back singles by Pedro Feliz and Randy Winn started the inning and a wild pitch that advanced them both, but Davis escaped by retiring three straight.
Ortiz (2-1) allowed eight hits and two runs in seven innings to win his second straight and match his longest winning streak since seven straight victories in the summer of 2004. Armando Benitez, lean and healthy after two injury-plagued seasons, finished for his third save in as many chances. He worked out of a jam after allowing two walks, getting Hudson to ground out on a sinker to end it.
“It’s time,” Benitez, booed all of last year, said. “Armando’s back.”
Ortiz signed a one-year contract in January to rejoin the Giants as their fifth starter five seasons after helping them to the 2002 World Series. He earned his first win since returning to the team last Friday, when he allowed five runs and 10 hits in 8 2-3 innings of an 8-5 victory at Pittsburgh—ending the longest active losing streak in the majors.
Ortiz had gone 0-12 in 31 outings, including 16 starts, since his last win on Aug. 29, 2005, while allowing 79 runs in 86 2-3 innings over that span.
“We weren’t patient enough at times against him,” Arizona skipper Bob Melvin said. “He’s lost weight and it looks like his arm speed is better. He pitched well.”
The D’Backs are paying him more than $7 million this season with San Francisco handling the major league minimum of $380,000. Arizona will owe him through 2008 to cover the remainder of his $33 million contract.
“I’m happy for him. I’m proud of him,” Arizona leadoff hitter and left fielder Eric Byrnes said. He looks pretty good. He’s gotten a lot better. He’s throwing his fastball in the 90s and looks like the pitcher the Diamondbacks signed.”
This was only the eighth start of Ortiz’s career he failed to strike out a batter.
Bonds had 21 multihit games in 2006, none before April 22. … Arizona LHP Randy Johnson, recovering from October back surgery, could be activated as soon as Tuesday or Wednesday from the disabled list. … Giants LHP reliever Jack Taschner worked a perfect eighth and opponents have only one hit in 14 at-bats against him. … Arizona RHP Mike Schultz made his major league debut in the eighth. … This was the first meeting of the season between the NL West opponents. … The D’Backs went 3-6 in San Francisco’s waterfront ballpark last year. … The D’Backs optioned RHP Dustin Nippert to Triple-A Tucson and recalled LHP Dana Eveland from Tucson.