After returning from a successful series in the desert against the Diamondbacks, The Giants returned home Monday to take on the hated Dodgers. The Dodgers are off to a great start and their offense is a good reason why.
On a cold Monday night at AT&T park, the stage was set for the two rivals to square off for the second time this season. The Dodgers come in toting their explosive bats against what is shaping up to be one of the best rotations in baseball.
Barry Zito pitched six scoreless innings until giving up a two run homer to Casey Blake in the seventh. Randy Wolf of the Dodgers allowed three runs across in the Giant's half of the first before finding his groove.
Los Angeles rallied in the seventh, taking a 4-3 lead. Orlando Hudson and Manny Ramirez combined for two more RBI's off Giants reliever Merkin Valdez.
Last season, this would have been all she wrote for the Giants. San Francisco's new found "Ground Attack" scratched out a lead in the eighth inning with some very lucky and awkward hitting.
Closer Brian Wilson, fresh off the heels of a blown save in Arizona, came in to close out the ninth. Giants take Game One of the series, 5-4.
Tuesday it was Jonathan Sanchez against LA's Chad Billinsgley. Both starters allowed three runs apiece, but it was Billingsley who outlasted Sanchez, pitching well into the eighth inning for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers scored first on Loney's RBI base hit scoring Andre Ethier in the second inning. An inning later the Giant's scored two runs on more infield hitting by P. Sandoval and Ishikawa.
The two rivals battled back and forth, taking a three-run tie into the top of ninth inning. Veteran reliever Bob Howry was on to face the dangerous Manny Ramirez. Manny doubled and was knocked in by another double by Ethier.
One at bat later, Kemp tripled in Eithier, putting the game away for good. Dodger's take Game Two, 5-3.
By Wednesday, the opposing clubs were poised for war. San Francisco fans filled the stadium, the night's attendance reaching 37,700.
2009 Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum (I never get tired of saying that) was on the hill taking on LA's own Eric Stultz. Lincecum was looking for his second win of the year, and sure pitched like it.
The Giants scored quick on Stultz in the first inning off of a triple by Bengie Molina, scoring Renteria and Sandoval.
Stultz was pulled in the second inning when Renteria drove in Burriss. Edgar Renteria had a nice night at the plate, going 4-5 with two RBI. In fact, the Giants overall had a nice hitting night, putting up nine runs on fifteen hits.
Lincecum was just nasty, not allowing a run until the eighth inning and striking out eight. The Dodgers attempted a comeback driving in a couple of runs against Jeremy Affeldt, who came in relief of the Lincecum.
The Giants held on to win the game 9-4, taking the series from their bitter enemies. It was good baseball, watching a high powered offense pitted against shut down pitching. Two of the games were real nail biters, with both teams rallying late.
The Giants finish finish April 10 and 10, at .500. San Francisco won seven out of their last ten games, after going zero and six on the road early on.
The Giants look to take this momentum into another home-stand against the Colorado Rockies. If San Francisco can manage to take the series from the Rockies they will have won five straight series against division rivals.
This will go far in establishing themselves as a serious contender in the NL West.