SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds accepted another shelf's worth of awards, then disappeared into the dugout and left it to his teammates to win without him.
The Giants know they're going to have to find ways to be successful until their injured star returns -- and they did it in their opener, against their rival.
Ray Durham scored the go-ahead run on Jose Valentin's seventh-inning error at third, and Jason Schmidt struck out nine in seven strong innings to lead San Francisco over Derek Lowe and the Los Angeles Dodgers, 4-2, yesterday.
Lowe lost in his Dodgers debut, allowing two earned runs and eight hits in seven innings with six strikeouts and two walks. But his defense couldn't make the routine play when it had to.
"I'm never happy when I lose," said Lowe, who won the clinching games in all three postseason series last season when the Red Sox won their first world championship since 1918.
The Dodgers made fewer errors than any team in baseball last season. But in order to shore up the pitching staff, they made concessions on defense -- allowing third baseman Adrian Beltre and second baseman Alex Cora to depart during the offseason.
And the most prominent pitcher added to the roster paid for the defensive shortcomings yesterday. Lowe pitched seven strong innings and worked out of jams in the third and fifth.
But a single by pinch hitter Michael Tucker in the seventh put the leadoff batter on base for the third time in four innings. The Dodgers missed a double play by an eye-blink on Durham's ground ball to short, and after Omar Vizquel walked and J.T. Snow grounded to first to advance the runners, Moises Alou hit a grounder down the line to Valentin.
"I had a hard time figuring out how hard it was hit," Valentin said. "The ball and the line are the same color. My first game with my new team and a new position. That cost us the game right there."
Lowe was not ready to blame Valentin's misplay for costing the Dodgers the game.
"The guy's giving 110 percent. That's all you can ask," he said. "The way I look at it, I gave up a two-run home run [to Edgardo Alfonzo in the fourth], and there were a ton of guys on base. Those are things I can control."
Vizquel, meanwhile, was superb in his Giants debut.
The nine-time Gold Glove shortstop with the Indians, fighting nerves in the early innings, had a single, a double, a walk, and a stolen base. He also combined with Durham to turn a crucial and difficult double play in the ninth inning -- Durham scooped up a slow chopper by Milton Bradley and made an underhand toss to Vizquel, who then leapt over Jeff Kent and threw out Bradley. Bonds, recovering from two operations on his right knee, is on the disabled list for third time in his career, the first since April 18 to June 9, 1999. Bonds received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd and emphatically declared "I will be back!" when introduced before the game and given four awards.