Giants rally in 8th to get past Dodgers
Bengie Molina felt a tangible difference in the stadium with his former teammate in the stands.
As Barry Bonds watched from a front-row seat, Molina and the San Francisco Giants scratched out a pair of eighth-inning runs to rally past the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4 on Monday night.
Rich Aurilia drove in the tying run on a dribbler up the first-base line and Edgar Renteria put the Giants ahead when he scored on pinch-hitter Molina's slow groundout to third.
"I just had a very productive out," Molina said. "That's all."
Not exactly the sort of powerful offense Bonds provided during his 15 seasons with San Francisco. Baseball's home run king was a surprise guest Monday night, his first appearance at AT&T Park this season.
"Wherever he goes, he's a big presence," Molina said. "He probably changed the game forever. He's a big part of our team and he makes it easy to communicate with him."
Bonds received a warm welcome and waved to fans when he was introduced to the crowd on Star Trek Movie Night, with costumed Trekkies in abundance among the 31,091 in attendance. He sat between team CEO William Neukom and president Larry Baer next to the Giants' dugout.
"There was good electricity from him," Giants closer Brian Wilson said. "He came into the locker room before the game and it was exciting for me."
Wilson said he was influenced by the crowd when he went out to pitch the ninth.
"They were into it and I took their positivity with me," he said. "I tried to be one with the crowd and give them what they wanted to see - not only a win over the Dodgers, but over the first-place Dodgers."
Manny Ramirez's RBI single put the Dodgers ahead 4-3 in the seventh, capping a four-run burst that also included Casey Blake's two-run homer off Barry Zito and Orlando Hudson's RBI single.
Renteria, Randy Winn and Pablo Sandoval each drove in a run for the Giants in the first.
Zito took a shutout into the seventh inning but was left with a no-decision. Merkin Valdez (1-0) got the win and Wilson struck out the side in the ninth for his fourth save.
"I'm still upset at myself for walking (Mark) Loretta and not bearing down on Blake," Zito said. "Sure I was starting to tire, but I have to bear down. It's strictly mental."
Dodgers starter Randy Wolf pitched six solid innings. He settled down after the first, retiring 16 of his final 18 batters. He allowed six hits and no walks.
"I'll keep going out there and throw the best I can. That's all I can do," Wolf said. "We're a good team. We'll recover."
Fred Lewis and Renteria opened the bottom of the eighth with singles, putting runners at the corners. After Winn struck out, Aurilia hit a tapper toward first that was fielded by reliever Ronald Belisario (0-2), who tried to tag Aurilia as he was running up the line.
But the ball popped out of Belisario's grasp as he attempted the tag, allowing Lewis to score and Aurilia to reach safely on a failed fielder's choice.
After a wild pitch by Belisario allowed two runners to advance, Renteria scored the go-ahead run on Molina's slow grounder to third.
Zito had his 13-inning scoreless streak snapped in the seventh and remains winless in his last 10 April starts. He pitched 6 1-3 innings, allowing three runs and five hits.
"He's pitched well against us," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "He worked fast, threw a lot of strikes and knew what he wanted to do."
Dodgers 1B James Loney didn't start because of his .050 average (1-for-20, six strikeouts) against Zito. ... RHP Hiroki Kuroda (strained muscle on left side) received a shot before the game and will begin throwing this weekend. ... The Giants recalled RHP Osiris Matos from Triple-A Fresno and optioned INF Eugenio Velez to their top farm club. ... The Giants sold the contract of INF Scott McClain to the Hiroshima Carp in Japan. ... San Francisco is 7-0 when scoring first.