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|Ortiz, Giants get jump on Braves
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10/02/2002 3:20 pm ET
Ortiz, Giants get jump on Braves
SF sweats out Game 1 win after righty's solid outing
By Josh Rawitch / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- With all the talk of Cy Young Awards, playoff experience, 11 straight divisional titles and home-field advantage, the pervading thought was that the Giants would waltz into Atlanta and crawl home down by two games. But after praising the Braves' pitching staff for several minutes, Barry Bonds said it best Sunday morning.
"We don't have any Cy Youngs," he said. "We have gutsy players that play."
Apparently, that's all they need. Behind a gutsy performance by Russ Ortiz in just his second postseason appearance, the underdog Giants got off to a fast start and survived two late rallies to take Game 1 from the Braves, 8-5, before 41,903 fans at Turner Field. Ortiz (1-0) earned a victory in his seventh straight start dating back to Aug. 28 while his teammates chased two-time Cy Young Award winner Tom Glavine from the game after five innings.
"I think we just hit his mistakes that he made up in the zone," said shortstop Rich Aurilia, whose two-out, two-run double off Glavine gave the Giants a four-run lead in the fourth inning. "We had a couple big hits with guys in scoring position, but was I surprised that we jumped on them early? No. We've been doing that the past few weeks or so."
If anything, Ortiz and the Giants should have been worried about Glavine's bat. With a three-run lead in the second inning, Ortiz opted to intentionally walk Keith Lockhart, Atlanta's No. 8 hitter, to face Glavine (0-1) with the bases loaded and two outs. Ortiz put a 1-1 fastball just off the plate and the Braves' pitcher slapped it down the left-field line to drive home a pair of runs and get his team back in the game.
"I didn't let it bother me," said Ortiz of giving up a base hit to the pitcher. "I think getting the first game out of the way is huge. One thing we have always tried to do is play well on the road and coming into this ballpark, this situation, I think it's very key to get the first win."
Not only did he get the win, but Ortiz got his revenge against Glavine in the fourth inning when he followed David Bell's single with his own clutch two-out hit. That put runners on the corners and Kenny Lofton singled up the middle to drive home Bell before Aurilia's two-bagger gave the Giants a 6-2 lead.
That was plenty for Ortiz, who spoke Tuesday of hoping to silence the visiting crowd with a strong outing. He did so to the fullest extent. In fact, Turner Field got so quiet at one point that the soft-spoken Ortiz could actually be heard from the second level directing traffic on a second-inning popup near the mound.
Third baseman Bell made that play with ease, but another play in that exact same area caused big problems for the Braves in the sixth inning. With Chris Hammond on the mound, Aurilia hit a swinging bunt that caught the left-hander by surprise. Hammond made a spectacular play to nail Aurilia at first base, but strained his neck while doing so. The next batter, Jeff Kent, doubled and after an intentional walk to Barry Bonds, Benito Santiago doubled to right-center for his third hit of the game, giving the Giants two more runs that turned out to be important.
It was the first time Hammond had allowed an earned run since June 28, a span of 32 appearances and just the second time he had allowed more than one earned run in a game this season.
While Ortiz can't claim numbers like those, his aren't too shabby. Keeping in mind that his winning streak now spans seven starts, not decisions, he'll get a chance to keep it going if a fifth game of the NLDS is necessary. He appeared to have enough left in the tank when Giants manager Dusty Baker opted to lift him after allowing just two runs and five hits over seven innings.
That decision made things hairy for the Giants, as Tim Worrell gave up a one-out solo homer to Gary Sheffield in the eighth inning. Then, with two outs, Santiago nonchalantly tried a basket catch on a popup off the bat of Javy Lopez, dropping the ball and extending the inning. Lopez followed with a two-run homer to left-center field that brought the Braves to within three runs.
"That was a huge mistake for myself," said Santiago, who headed to the mound to apologize to Worrell. "I just said, 'I screwed up on this one, you've got to pick me up.'"
Scott Eyre did that, recording the last out in the eighth inning. Atlanta also staged a rally in the ninth against closer Robb Nen, getting the first two batters on base. But Nen induced a 6-4-3 double play from Sheffield, the potential tying run, to end the game.
Every Giant starter registered at least one hit, with Bonds finishing 1-for-4 with a walk. He could have had a second hit but his eighth-inning homer was robbed by Andruw Jones, who leaped just above the wall in straightaway center field to take away what would have been Bonds' second career postseason dinger. Bonds did not address the media after the game.
That's probably because his role in Wednesday's win was far smaller than that of his teammates, particularly Ortiz. The right-hander came up big in the biggest game of his career.
"I think he was a great choice for the game today with the way he has been pitching the last part of the year," said J.T. Snow, who doubled home two runs in the second inning. "But you've got to feel that way about whoever takes the hill, and we'll feel that way tomorrow when Woody (Kirk Rueter) goes out there."
Josh Rawitch is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at email@example.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
|San Francisco Giants 8, Atlanta Braves 5|
|San Francisco|| AB|| R|| H|| RBI|| BB||SO||LOB||AVG|
2B: Snow (1, Glavine), Aurilia (1, Glavine), Kent (1, Hammond), Santiago (1, Hammond).
RBI: Snow 2 (2), Bell (1), Lofton (1), Aurilia 2 (2), Santiago 2 (2).
2-out RBI: Lofton, Aurilia 2, Santiago 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Bonds, Ortiz, Snow.
Team LOB: 9.
E: Bonds (1, throw), Santiago (1, fielding).
DP: 3 (Aurilia-Kent-Snow 2, Kent-Snow).
|Atlanta|| AB|| R|| H|| RBI|| BB||SO||LOB||AVG|
|Franco, J, 1B
|Jones, C, LF
|Jones, A, CF
|Lopez, J, C
|c-Franco, M, PH
a-Grounded out for Glavine in the 5th. b-Struck out for Gryboski in the 7th. c-Batted for Moss in the 8th. d-Popped out for Franco, M in the 8th.
HR: Sheffield (1, 8th inning off Worrell, 0 on, 1 out), Lopez, J (1, 8th inning off Worrell, 1 on, 2 out).
RBI: Glavine 2 (2), Sheffield (1), Lopez, J 2 (2).
2-out RBI: Glavine 2, Lopez, J 2.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Furcal 2, Jones, C.
GIDP: Franco, J, Sheffield.
Team LOB: 7.
|San Francisco|| IP|| H|| R|| ER|| BB||SO||HR||ERA|
|Ortiz (W, 1-0)
|Eyre (H, 1)
|Nen (S, 1)
IBB: Lockhart (by Ortiz), Bell (by Glavine), Bonds (by Hammond).
Pitches-strikes: Ortiz 107-63, Worrell 21-14, Eyre 3-2, Nen 23-16, Glavine 86-49, Hammond 18-8, Gryboski 30-18, Moss 13-9, Holmes 12-8.
Ground outs-fly outs: Ortiz 7-11, Worrell 2-0, Eyre 0-1, Nen 2-1, Glavine 7-5, Hammond 2-0, Gryboski 0-2, Moss 0-1, Holmes 1-0.
Batters faced: Ortiz 28, Worrell 6, Eyre 1, Nen 4, Glavine 27, Hammond 6, Gryboski 5, Moss 3, Holmes 3.
Inherited runners-scored: Eyre 1-0, Gryboski 2-0.
Umpires: HP: Mike Reilly. 1B: Paul Emmel. 2B: Angel Hernandez. 3B: Jerry Layne. LF: Tim Tschida. RF: Ted Barrett.
Weather: 80 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 7 mph, R to L.
Box score official statistics approved by Major League Baseball and the Office of the Commissioner