NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION SERIES

Marlins blanked by Schmidt, Giants


San Francisco's Rich Aurilia gets a high-five from teammate Yorvit Torrealba after scoring.

The Associated Press
Published: Wednesday, October 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 at 11:08 p.m.
SAN FRANCISCO - Jason Schmidt's phenomenal season is a product of his playoff experience last fall, when he emerged as the biggest star of a pitching staff that really didn't have one.
These days, Schmidt is the San Francisco Giants' unquestioned ace - and he gave the young Florida Marlins a taste of tough postseason pitching.
Schmidt pitched the Giants' first playoff shutout in 16 years, throwing a three-hitter for a 2-0 victory in Game 1 Tuesday.
"I felt like I learned a lot more in the last two games of the World Series than I did my whole career," said Schmidt, who has allowed just seven runs in his last four postseason outings. "I couldn't wait to get back to the postseason."
Schmidt outdueled Josh Beckett while Bonds and the Giants took advantage of a costly error by fill-in Florida third baseman Miguel Cabrera to score the go-ahead run.
After retiring Derrek Lee on a grounder for the final out, Schmidt twirled on one leg before his teammates surrounded him in celebration.
The right-hander is feeling so good he'd appreciate the chance to face Barry Bonds - and after the gem Schmidt just pitched, he might have a decent shot at shutting down baseball's most feared slugger.
"I would challenge him," Schmidt said playfully.
At 68, Felipe Alou wound up a winner while managing his first postseason game and 72-year-old Jack McKeon lost in his playoff debut, then couldn't get to the interview room because fans grabbed at his jacket and hat while he worked his way down a crowded hallway.
Bonds barely had two feet in the batter's box when catcher Ivan Rodriguez's glove shot out to signal an intentional walk, showing just how serious the Marlins were about not getting beat by Bonds.
Instead, the Marlins beat themselves with one bad throw.
Bonds wound up 0-for-1 with three walks. Chad Fox intentionally walked Bonds with nobody on base in the eighth, and he came around to score on Edgardo Alfonzo's double.
Bonds proved last postseason that he could carry his team - the five-time MVP hit .356 with eight homers, 16 RBIs and 27 walks as the Giants reached the World Series for the first time since 1989 - but the Marlins don't plan to let that happen if they can help it. When he was intentionally walked in the first, the crowd of 43,704 began booing lustily.
On a day the teams combined for only six hits, the Giants scored their first run on a misplay. Cabrera charged in on Alfonzo's fourth-inning bunt and made a wild throw to first. By the time the ball had stopped it was in the bullpen dirt and Rich Aurilia was headed for home.
Game 2 in the series is today.

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