© 2006 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.
05/31/06 11:44 PM ET
Giants net victory over Marlins in finale
Schmidt finishes stellar May; Finley clubs 299th career homer
By Rich Draper / MLB.com
MIAMI -- Giants right-hander Jason Schmidt has cast a spell over the Florida Marlins over his career, including two victories in Miami, so it's got to be the humidity in these tropical climes that accounts for routinely making fish flambe here. Right, Schmitty? "I hate the humidity," said Schmidt of the climate after he pitched a five-hitter over 5 2/3 innings in San Francisco's 6-1 victory over the Marlins on Wednesday night at Dolphin Stadium, stopping the Giants' three-game losing skid and upping his lifetime record over the hosts to 7-0 overall and 2-0 here. "Your body feels loose, but it's always a tough place to pitch," said Schmidt, who struck out 10 batters and allowed only five hits but had to fight inconsistency throughout the game until yanked in the sixth with a cramp in his right leg. It was his shortest outing of the season, and Schmidt admitted he was battling the elements and himself, with his control apparently wandering around the spacious ballpark instead of sticking to duty. "The control would kind of come and go at times and I ran the pitch count up quick," he said. "I guess that's what you call effectively wild." The 33-year-old Schmidt, a Cy Young candidate in 2003 and 2004 when he won 17 and 18 games, respectively, then suffered a down season last year, has rebounded well from an 0-2 start to win five consecutive games. Over than span, he sports a 1.36 ERA, and he finished a perfect month of May with a 4-0 record and 1.17 ERA over 46 frames. It was an opportune time for Schmidt to come out with two out in the sixth, as his pitch count had reached 111 and he had given up a run on a Hanley Ramirez triple and a sacrifice fly. But with two strikes on Josh Willingham, a cramp struck the back on his thigh. "It's good," he said. "I feel fine. It happens to me every now and then. I get a few of those each year. I should drink a little more water before I go out there. It's always an issue down here." The biggest issue facing the Giants, however, was the possibility of being swept by the Marlins, floundering in last place in the National League East with a 17-33 record but featuring a spunky cast of young, promising talent. San Francisco is now bobbing above water at 27-26, but at least a quasi-dormant offense perked up to back Schmidt's effort, as Steve Finley cracked a two-run homer in the third, Jason Ellison had a single and solo homer -- his first blast since exactly a year ago -- and Ray Durham socked a pair of RBI singles. "It was great," said Schmidt of the victory. "You don't want to get swept. We've been playing good ball, but we ran into some good pitchers the last few days and even today as well. But the biggest thing was the offense came out and scored early for me and then two more. That took a lot of heat off me." Still, there was a downside to the game, as veteran catcher Mike Matheny took a 100-mph foul ball to his mask and was taken to a local hospital due to dizziness. "He's been hit a lot," said trainer Stan Conte. "He was also hit on Monday night." As a precaution, Matheny will spend Thursday's off-day in the Miami area rather than fly with the team to New York on Wednesday night. "I believe he was going to stay here anyway," said Alou. "I didn't know that happened," said Schmidt. "He's a pretty tough guy -- I'm surprised. I figure it might be a combination of the last few days. He's not going to take a day off. Sometimes you have to force him to come out of a game. He's been taking a beating back there. He's a workhorse." It was also a good night for rookie reliever Jeremy Accardo, who finish the sixth with a strikeout of Willingham, then mowed down the next six batters he faced. Accardo, 24, has fashioned a minuscle 0.90 ERA in his last six outings and he wasn't about to mess around Wednesday with the game on the line. "I went in there and said I'm going right after them," said the right-hander. "Greenie [catcher Todd Greene] was calling fastballs. [I was] mixing them in and out and trying to get it on the barrel. I threw maybe two offspeed pitches. "We went into a little hitting slump, but we knew we'd get out of it. We have a great hitting team, and Schmidt pitched his butt off. He deserved that win."
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.