Rewind: Mets vs. Giants, Game #3

Kirk Rueter, better known to adoring fans as "Woody," recaptured his gunslinging ways as he rounded up the New York Mets on Sunday afternoon, helping the Giants win, 3-1, to salvage the rubber game of the three-game set at the ballpark on 3rd and King.

Rueter (7-9) pitched seven superb innings, allowing only five hits and one run. He threw 61% of his pitches for strikes and often threw inside to keep batters honest. Sunday's win marked the 68th time in Rueter's career in which he followed a Giants' loss with a victory.

"I didn't want to have to get on a plane and fly five hours thinking about two straight losses,'' Rueter said. "You want to do what you're supposed to do. Yesterday was a rough day and I didn't want to give up four or five runs early.''

The Giants did not need to score that many runs the way Rueter pitched, but teammate Ray Durham made it a point to get the scoring started early. Durham led off the bottom of the first inning with a homerun off Matt Ginter (1-3) to give the Giants a 1-0 lead. It was Durham's seventh leadoff homer of the season and 32nd of his career, placing him seventh on the all-time list behind Paul Molitor, who hit 33 in his Hall-of-Fame career.

After Michael Tucker struck out, Edgardo Alfonzo singled, which Barry Bonds followed with a towering blast to right field to give San Francisco (69-57) an early 3-0 lead. The hometown crowd of 42,359 was treated to a rare Sunday start by Bonds, who hinted that he is stepping it up to another gear for the stretch run.

"You just have to play,'' Bonds said after the game. "This is the time you have to step it up and play regardless of how you feel. Being in the race helps. There's a little over a month left and you better dig deep.''

Bonds' deep homerun was his 35th of the season and the 693rd of his illustrious career, drawing him ever-so-closer to the 700 club. Only Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron have chartered that territory.

"I'm just happy we won," said Bonds, who at one point in the series, reached base seven consecutive times. "We needed a faster game today after a long day."

The game was indeed faster on Sunday, which was imperative for the Giants, who needed to get a head start on their upcoming road trip. San Francisco remains a half game up on the Chicago Cubs for the Wild Card race.

"We're staying in it, even in the division race,'' Bonds said. "There's no dominant team and we're keeping pace. Right now we're being consistent.''

New York's lone run came off the bat of Richard Hidalgo in the fourth inning, who hit his 21st homer of the year. The Mets (59-63) fell to eight games behind the Giants for the Wild Card and have dropped four of their last seven contests.

Dustin Hermanson struck out a red-hot David Wright to end a threat in the eighth inning and pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning, en route to his fifth save of the season.

Notes: J.T. Snow continues to be out with an inflamed left elbow, but it is believed to be an infection of the bursa sac, a result of baseball-related trauma, and not a bug bite... Jason Schmidt was scratched from his Tuesday start against the Florida Marlins for precautionary measures... Wayne Franklin will get the nod in Schmidt's place...The streaking Giants have won nine of their last 11 games.

SFDugout Player of the Game: Kirk Rueter, whose performance in the next few weeks will help determine how far the Giants will go this season, gets the nod. If San Francisco has any hopes of extending their season further than the 162-game schedule, Woody must continue to pitch well and, not to mention, justify his steep salary.



Phil Delacruz was a transplanted Giants fan, buried in the Southland. After four strenuous years in College, studying (read: partying), he's back in the beautiful "City by the Bay" – San Francisco. Do you think he should move back to LALA land? Or do you like him where he is now and appreciate the good reads? Either way, send him an e-mail at phildelacruz@aol.com to air out your frustrations or, more likely, songs of praise.

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