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05/29/06 10:47 PM ET
Durham's homer not enough for Giants
Morris gives up three runs in six innings in loss to Marlins
By Rich Draper / MLB.com
MIAMI -- It may have been a quality start by pitcher Matt Morris, but there were few quality at-bats by the Giants in Monday night's 5-1 loss to the Florida Marlins at Dolphin Stadium. There was listlessness by the Giants' offense -- perhaps triggered by a long flight from the West Coast and a 2:30 a.m. ET arrival Monday in Miami -- with manager Felipe Alou saying "it was good frame of mind but no body to retaliate -- it was really, really dead." Alou saw only tired bodies in the hour-earlier-starting-time (6:05 p.m. ET) contest, yet even Morris wouldn't use the time zone as an excuse, although for the Giants' bodies, it was essentially 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Yawn. But Morris (3-6) didn't fly here a day early as some starters often do, and the right-hander still looked sharp overall, allowing three runs over six frames. He gave up a solo homer to Mike Jacobs in the fourth inning and two RBI singles to Josh Willingham -- following a rare Alou intentional walk to hot-hitting Miguel Cabrera -- and Jeremy Hermida in the sixth. "I felt good, but just didn't get the result I wanted," said Morris, now 1-6 with two no-decisions over his last nine outings. "[The quality start] doesn't mean anything -- you want to come in and win the first game of the series, but we just couldn't pull it out." As for winging eastward with the club, it was of no consequence, said Morris, saying he has to take advantage of his opportunities every fifth day, regardless of the circumstances. No problem, either, facing a Marlins lineup featuring a lot of kids and unknown faces. You go out there and make pitches no matter the lineup you're facing," he said. "I tried to do that tonight and came out on the short end. We were behind all game pretty much and couldn't get anything going. A flight in earlier wasn't going to do anything for me." Morris, as are the Giants, is disappointed in the veteran's lack of success this season, especially when he won his first two games and has pitched well at times, albeit sporadically. He did shut down the Houston Astros on an eight-inning one-hitter May 17, but lost to St. Louis at AT&T Park last week, as he faced his old teammates for the first time. Against the Marlins, he was definitely better, but the results were far too familiar. Frustrated? "Sure, sure," said Morris. "You come to a new team and you want to lead by example on the field. Right now, whether I pitch bad and lose or pitch decent and lose, it's just not where I wanted to be." Still, lack of run support hurt, and Morris gave credit to opposing pitcher Scott Olsen (3-3), who surrendered only a seventh-inning solo homer to Ray Durham and scattered five hits overall. "We didn't really square up any balls and Ray finally put us up on the board -- other than that he pitched a great game," said Morris. "You can't take anything away from him and just say we messed up." Morris at 31 knows well enough not to try to reinvent his pitching style, yet he tried to do just that over the past month, eventually realizing it was an exercise in futility. So he's back where he started, doing what he has always done. "I've already tried to reinvent the wheel," said Morris. "Every start, I tried to make an adjustment but went back to what made me successful. Bottom line is I've got to stick with that." As for those somnambulistic wooden instruments, veteran outfielder Steve Finley said it may have been the cross-country flight or the few days off the past month. The club didn't play last Thursday, but a makeup game against Houston on May 18 cost the Giants some rest, forcing them to play 27 straight days. That'll keep those eyelids heavy and the bats weighing a ton. "It's just the nature of the business you're in," said Finley. "We were a little flat today, yeah, but whether it was from travel, who knows what? But you gotta give Olsen credit, too. He was throwing a four-seamer 93-94 [mph], a good two-seamer and changeup. "We didn't do a whole lot of damage, but some days you're tired and go 4-for-4." Slugger Barry Bonds went 1-for-4 with a fourth-inning single. He is expected to play Tuesday night but not start Wednesday's night game.
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.