SAN FRANCISCO -- The "Beat L.A.!" chants started immediately following the final out as fans eagerly diverted attention from an ugly afternoon of San Francisco Giants baseball.
The 1993 home season concluded yesterday with a 5-3 loss to the Colorado Rockies, a bitter defeat that ended a seven-game winning streak and allowed the Atlanta Braves an opening with their 6-3 win over the Houston Astros.
A crowd of 39,377, which pushed the Giants' record attendance to 2,606,354, had little else to cheer except the upcoming four-game series at Dodger Stadium.
Rookie Salomon Torres yielded four runs in less than three innings and the Giants squandered two bases-loaded situations in dropping a game behind Atlanta in the National League West.
"We've got to go down there and play better than this," Will Clark said while packing for Los Angeles and, perhaps, departing the home clubhouse at Candlestick forever.
Now, the focus shifts to the Dodgers, beginning tonight with the opener of a series that will determine the Giants' fate. Considering the Giants' 3-6 record against Los Angeles this season, the prospects aren't encouraging.
"We've got to win all four and hope they [the Braves] lose one," Barry Bonds said. "We had our chances with the bases loaded, but we just didn't get there."
Bonds isn't privy to much of the history behind the Giants-Dodgers rivalry, but the upcoming series affords Los Angeles an opportunity for redemption.
The Dodgers have been knocked from pennant and division races by the Giants five times since 1951, most recently in 1991. Manager Dusty Baker discounts history as a factor.
"There aren't too many players on either of these teams who remember that," Baker said. "Royce Clayton, Bill Swift and Barry haven't been part of it. Mike Piazza and Eric Karros haven't.
"We've won 11 out of 13, and no matter how much you want to win every game, it's impossible. We just have to forget this and go to L.A.
ZTC "I've known [Rockies manager] Don Baylor for 25 years. He's going to Atlanta to try to beat the Braves just like he tried to beat us. They're 0-10 against the Braves, so it probably means more to them to play Atlanta than to play us."
The Rockies finished 3-10 against the Giants with the help of two bases-empty homers by Daryl Boston, clutch pitching and a crucial call from plate umpire Bruce Froemming.
Trailing 4-1, the Giants loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth on two walks around a single by Dave Martinez. Kirt Manwaring bounced into an inning-ending force.
Rockies starter Kent Bottenfield was in even deeper trouble in the fifth with the bases loaded.
Matt Williams was ahead 3-0 in the count when Bottenfield's next pitch appeared high and outside. But Froemming called it a strike, drawing a look of disbelief from Williams, who bounced into a double play on the next pitch. Williams refused to comment, but Baker said: "If that pitch is a ball, we score and the bases are loaded for Barry."
NL WEST RACE
Team ... ... W ... ... L ... ... Pct. ... ... GB
Atlanta .. .. 101 .. ..57 ... .. .639 .. ... --
San Fran. .. 100 .. .. 58 ... ... .633 .. ... 1
# Yesterday's results
Colorado 5, San Francisco 3
Atlanta 6, Houston 3
Date ... Atlanta ... ... ... ... ... San Francisco
9/30 Houston ... ... ... ... ... ... at Los Angeles
10/1 Colorado .. ... ... ... ... ... at Los Angeles
10/2 Colorado .. ... ... ... ... ... at Los Angeles
10/3 Colorado .. ... ... ... ... ... at Los Angeles