Series: Game 1 of 4

San Francisco leads 1-0 (as of 4/10)

Game 1: Thursday, April 10
LA Dodgers1Final
San Francisco2
Game 2: Friday, April 11
LA Dodgers2Final
San Francisco3
Game 3: Saturday, April 12
LA Dodgers0Delayed
San Francisco0
Game 4: Sunday, April 13
LA Dodgers4Final
in 12
San Francisco5

Dodgers 1

(5-6, 3-5 away)

Giants 2

(9-1, 3-1 home)

    10:15 PM ET, April 10, 2003

    AT&T Park, San Francisco, California 

    123456789 R H E
    LA 000000001 1 6 1
    SF 01010000 - 2 8 0

    W: K. Ainsworth (2-0)

    L: H. Nomo (1-2)

    S: T. Worrell (4)

    Giants match best start in team history (9-1)

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Kurt Ainsworth's rookie season is off to an encouraging start. In fact, it's almost as impressive as the San Francisco Giants' record.

     Kurt Ainsworth

    Ainsworth pitched shutout ball into the ninth inning as the Giants matched the best start in franchise history with their ninth win in 10 games, 2-1 over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night.

    The right-hander gave up six hits, retiring 17 of 18 batters at one point with an array of off-speed pitches and precise control. Manager Felipe Alou was excited about his 700th career victory, but he was equally enthused by thoughts of Ainsworth's future.

    "I think he's really close to graduation," Alou said. "I really liked the way he pitched in spring training, so I've been expecting this from him. I believe he grew up tonight and gained a tremendous amount of confidence."

    Marquis Grissom hurt his former team with his first homer for the Giants, who are 9-1 for the first time since moving West. The New York Giants also started 9-1 in 1938, eventually winning 12 of 13.

    But after another workmanlike, fundamentally sound victory, the Giants were talking about the sixth major league start for Ainsworth (2-0), who gave another tantalizing glimpse of the potential that convinced them they could trade Livan Hernandez last month.

    Ainsworth retired 12 straight batters in the middle innings, striking out the side in the third near the beginning of the sequence. He finished with a career-best five strikeouts, and gave valuable rest to a bullpen worn out by several days of overuse.

    "If I can give the guys a little bit of confidence in me, that's good," Ainsworth said. "I had no idea I'd go as far as I did, but it was important to give the bullpen a break."

    He got a big cheer when he emerged to start the ninth, and another when he left after allowing Paul Lo Duca's leadoff double.

    "That's the dream of every little kid," Ainsworth said. "It was really special to me."

    Scott Eyre and Tim Worrell finished it, though Lo Duca scored on Worrell's two-out wild pitch. Worrell struck out Fred McGriff for his fourth save in five chances while filling in for injured closer Robb Nen.

    Jose Cruz Jr. extended his hitting streak to 10 games, while Rich Aurilia improved his string to nine games as the Giants handed Hideo Nomo his first career loss in San Francisco in the opener of a four-game series against their biggest rivals.

    Nomo (1-2) allowed eight hits over seven solid innings, but fell to 8-1 in San Francisco since beginning his major league career at Candlestick Park on May 2, 1995. He also was denied his 100th career victory.

    "This isn't frustrating," Nomo said of the Dodgers' lack of run support. "The two runs I gave up were my responsibility. The Giants are a different team from last year, but they're still a very strong team."

    The Giants took the lead in the second inning when J.T. Snow singled home Cruz. An inning later, Cruz kept alive his streak of getting a hit in every game during his first season with the Giants.

    Grissom homered on the first pitch he saw from Nomo in the fourth inning. Grissom spent the previous two seasons in Los Angeles, hitting .277 with 17 homers in 2002.

    Barry Bonds went 2-for-4 with a fifth-inning double off the wall in right field.

    Ainsworth's emergence for the Giants has been expected since he starred for the U.S. national team at the Sydney Olympics, but he hadn't cracked the rotation until this spring. Hernandez was traded to the Expos partly because of the team's confidence in Ainsworth -- and so far, he hasn't let the Giants down.

    "He had a lot of early strikes, and he got ahead of the hitters and worked both sides of the plate," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "Lo Duca was the only guy who stung the ball against Ainsworth."

    Ainsworth also got help from his teammates -- particularly two new acquisitions who aren't supposed to be defensive stars.

    Ray Durham ended the sixth inning with a diving stop and a tough throw from behind second base to nip Shawn Green, while Cruz made a diving catch of Adrian Beltre's fly to right in the seventh.

    Game notes
    The Giants put RHP Ryan Jensen on the 15-day disabled list with back problems. Jesse Foppert, San Francisco's top pitching prospect, is expected to make his major league debut Monday against Houston. ... Attendance was 38,294 _ less than a sellout. ... Aurilia also has a hit in every game he's played this season. ... The Dodgers lost for just the 11th time in 25 games at Pacific Bell Park.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press