Giants and Dodgers Lock Horns

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It’s more than a century old, it began across the country, and it seems that whenever the Giants and Dodgers meet on a baseball diamond, it’s always special.

These longtime National League rivals began their blood feud in New York City when they played at the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field, but their paths crossed this past weekend at Dodger Stadium, with the Dodgers winning two of three after Sunday’s 2-1 win.

In dramatic fashion, the irrepressible Manny Ramirez unloaded a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the eighth inning. Pinch-hitter Garret Anderson walked, and Blake DeWitt ran for Anderson, a one-time Angel.

Ramirez’s blast tied him with Mike Schmidt, the slugging third baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies with 548.

Reliever Ramon Troncoso picked up the victory, and closer Jonathan Broxton notched his first save.

San Francisco is now 8-4, and the Dodgers are 6-6. Though the season is young, the early outlook appears that the NL West will be a dogfight between the Dodgers and Giants, with the Colorado Rockies having something to say before it’s over.

The Giants’ only win occurred Saturday, 9-0, behind pitcher Tim Lincecum, who was stellar on the mound and in the batter’s box, collecting three hits and driving in three.

An ace of the staff, Lincecum showed why, as he limited the Dodgers to four hits and no runs over six innings, while striking out seven and walking two.

A two-time Cy Young award winner, Lincecum (3-0) lowered his earned-run average to 0.90, and fanned two batters in the first, fourth and fifth innings.

The Giants took a 1-0 lead in the second when Lincecum pushed down a run-scoring bunt that brought in Bengie Molina.

In the third, Lincecum laced a two-run single to right-center that was part of a four-run frame. Lincecum also had a base hit to left in the fifth inning.

San Francisco moved ahead 7-0 in the fourth when Molina singled in Pablo Sandoval, who doubled to left.

The Giants added two more runs in the seventh when Eugenio Velez, who had three hits on Saturday, and who smashed a three-run homer the night before, delivered an RBI double.

On Friday night, the Dodgers pounded out a 12-hit attack against three San Francisco hurlers, and held on for a 10-8 win, with Matt Kemp ripping his fourth straight homer, a two-run shot in the first inning.

Andre Ethier then lined a solo homer to right field in the same inning that gave the Dodgers a 3-0 edge. Ethier wasn’t done, this time drilling a grand slam to center field in the second that made it 7-0.

Pitcher Vicente Padilla (1-1) worked seven effective innings, allowing three runs (all earned), along with four hits, seven strikeouts and three walks. Padilla had two previous outings, and failed to impress.

Not this time, because after three frames, Padilla fanned five and was in total control. He ran into some trouble in the fifth inning, when he surrendered a two-run single to Juan Uribe, and Sandoval crushed a solo homer to left-center in the sixth inning.

DeWitt added an RBI single in the seventh to make it 10-3, before the Giants exploded for a five-run ninth inning off Troncoso, and the just-released Russ Ortiz.

This was merely an appetizer. There’s a lot more to come.

Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, and is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a contributor to trufanboxing.com. You may e-mail him at richsports5@sbcglobal.net.

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