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Schmidt whiffs 16 batters as Giants preserve tight victory over Florida

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Once Jason Schmidt finally made his way into the Giants' clubhouse after signing autographs, two teammates met him at the door and the rest stood nearby to deliver a most celebratory dousing of beer.

Schmidt matched a 102-year-old club record with 16 strikeouts Tuesday night, fanning his final three batters to escape a ninth-inning jam and preserve San Francisco's 2-1 victory over the Florida Marlins.

His 5-year-old daughter, Makynlee, eagerly waited to greet her dad as he came up the steps -- then he received the royal treatment from his teammates in a scene more resembling a postseason party in October than that of a gem in June.

They cheered, clapped, knocked fists with the star pitcher and even offered hugs and handshakes.

"That's a highlight of my career, coming in here and getting that reception from the guys," Schmidt said. "That surprised me. I guess because I was so locked into the game."

With runners at second and third, the middle of Florida's order went down in succession: cleanup hitter Miguel Cabrera, Josh Willingham, and then Jeremy Hermida to end it.

"I've got to make it interesting, I guess," Schmidt said. "What more drama do you want?"

Schmidt (6-2) finished with a seven-hitter for his 20th career complete game and third this season. He tied the franchise record for strikeouts set by Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson on Oct. 3, 1904, against the Cardinals. Back then, the Giants played in New York.

Giants manager Felipe Alou left his team's fate in Schmidt's hands. The 71-year-old skipper only planned to bring in a reliever if the game became tied.

"It was his game, 16 strikeouts," Alou said. "It was that kind of performance. You don't want to put your hands on that. ... It's been a while since I've seen the cleanup guy come up with the game on the line and three consecutive guys struck out."

Moises Alou hit a tiebreaking double in his first game back from the disabled list and Lance Niekro had an RBI single for the Giants. Schmidt won his sixth straight decision -- and closed it out with a flurry.

He gave up consecutive singles to start the ninth, and a wild pitch put runners at second and third with none out. But Felipe Alou stuck with his ace, who fanned seven of his final nine batters.

The NL pitcher of the month for May after going 4-0 with a 1.17 ERA, Schmidt also broke the San Francisco record of 15 strikeouts accomplished by Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry on July 22, 1966, against Philadelphia. The right-hander received a standing ovation after fanning Hermida for the final out with his 124th pitch.

Schmidt wanted to be less predictable as the game went on, so he turned things over to rookie catcher Eliezer Alfonzo -- and Schmidt only shook off Alfonzo a couple of times. Alfonzo, making only his third major league start, had never caught Schmidt in anything but a bullpen session.

"I was thankful for the opportunity to be behind the plate," Alfonzo said. "I was a little scared I'd put something down he didn't like."

Schmidt improved to 8-0 lifetime against Florida and struck out 10 or more batters for the 28th time in his career and third this season. He struck out 10 in his previous start.

"Nine innings, one run, 16 strikeouts -- I had two of them," Florida's Dan Uggla said. "He's just got explosive stuff."

Niekro lined a tying single to left in the sixth to score Randy Winn, who barely beat a nice throw home by Willingham. Niekro has five RBI in the first two games of this three-game set after driving in a career-best four runs in Monday night's 14-2 win.

Barry Bonds went 0-for-4 with a strikeout one night after hitting his 716th homer to move within 40 of passing home run king Hank Aaron's 755, but the Giants still won for the fifth time in six games.

Felipe Alou planned to give Bonds the day off Wednesday before the Giants open a four-game series against the slugger's former team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, on Thursday night.

Schmidt didn't allow a hit until Willingham led off the fifth with a homer to left-center -- and Hermida's second-inning walk was his lone baserunner before the homer.

Schmidt hasn't lost since his third start of the year April 15 at Los Angeles, a 2-1 defeat.

"We had our shot at him a couple of different times," Marlins manager Joe Girardi said. "We weren't able to get to him."

San Francisco's defense turned a key double play to end the sixth with runners on the corners, thanks to a snappy throw by 10-time Gold Glove shortstop Omar Vizquel.

The Giants welcomed the return of Moises Alou in right field and to bat behind Bonds after Alou had been sidelined since May 5 with a sprained right ankle.

Alou figured it would take him about a week to find his rhythm, but he drove in a run in his third plate appearance. He was leading the NL in batting average at .378 before his injury.

Josh Johnson (4-4), the NL rookie of the month for May, lost to the Giants for the second time in six days. He gave up two unearned runs and five hits in seven innings.

Notes

  • Ray Durham grounded into a double play in the second for the Giants, who have done so 60 times this season.
  • Florida is the only NL team not to beat Schmidt, who is one of six pitchers to have an unbeaten career mark against one team.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Teammates congratulate Jason Schmidt after his 16 strikeouts tie a 102-year-old Giants record.  (AP)
Teammates congratulate Jason Schmidt after his 16 strikeouts tie a 102-year-old Giants record. (AP)

Players of the Game
San Francisco

J. Schmidt
IP 9.0
H 7
ER 1
BB 1
K 16
San Francisco

L. Niekro
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Florida Marlins
Hanley Ramirez, SS4010021.303
Dan Uggla, 2B4020020.306
Mike Jacobs, 1B4010012.236
c-Reggie Abercrombie, PR0000000.231
Miguel M. Cabrera, 3B4000022.349
Josh Willingham, LF4111022.267
Jeremy Hermida, CF3010122.288
Joe Borchard, RF3000032.244
Miguel Olivo, C3000001.262
Josh Johnson, SP2000020.000
a-Cody Ross, PH-RF1010000.345
b-Alfredo Amezaga, PR0000000.268
Totals3217111612
a-Singled for J Johnson in the 8th.
b-Ran for C Ross in the 8th.
c-Ran for M Jacobs in the 9th.
BATTING
HR - J Willingham (9)
RBI - J Willingham (34)
BASERUNNING
CS - M Olivo (2)
FIELDING
E - H Ramirez (8)
Florida Marlins
Josh Johnson (L,4-4) 7.05204602.11
Carlos Martinez 1.01000002.25
San Francisco Giants
Randy Winn, RF3110100.274
Omar Vizquel, SS3000003.316
Lance Niekro, 1B3121100.256
Barry Bonds, LF4000014.250
Moises Alou, RF3011101.376
Ray Durham, 2B4010003.231
Pedro Feliz, 3B3010011.278
Eliezer Alfonzo, C2000121.182
Jason Schmidt, P3000023.069
Totals282624616
BATTING
2B - R Winn (12); M Alou (4); R Durham (7)
RBI - L Niekro (26); M Alou (26)
S - O Vizquel (5)
San Francisco Giants
Jason Schmidt (W,6-2) 9.071111612.53