Speaking of hangovers, David Wells (12-7) was partly responsible for the Giants' offensive misfires as he pitched 7 1-3 innings of five-hit ball, allowing only the Bonds' solo homer. "The difference was Wells,'' Giants manager Felipe Alou said. "He dominated our guys. Except for Barry's homer, it was a breeze for him.''
It was a breeze for Jason Schmidt's first three innings of work as he retired all nine batters in a row, while striking out five. Then, in the top of the fourth inning, the wheels started to fall off as the Padres, who have single-handedly ruined Schmidt's chances at a Cy Young Award, methodically dissected the Giants' ace yet again.
Ramon Vazquez led off with a double down the right-field line, and then advanced to third on a Mark Loretta single. Brian Giles followed with a fielder's choice to score Vazquez, tying the score at 1-1.
The Padres (80-69) broke the game open in the top of the seventh inning with the big blow coming off the bat of Jay Payton. With Kerry Robinson on third base, Schmidt plunked Ramon Hernandez to set up a first-and-third situation with one out. Payton followed with a three-run blast to left-field, his eighth of the year and 77th for his career, leaving him just 624 short of Bonds' torrid homerun pace.
"I was going for the double play to get out of the inning. I left a slider up and he hit it,'' Schmidt said. "It happened all so fast, but I wasn't as sharp then as I was earlier in the game.''
San Diego tacked on another run in the top of the eighth inning on a run-scoring double by Robinson to make it 5-1, Padres.
With two on and one out in San Francisco's half of the eighth, Otsuka got Deivi Cruz to hit into an inning-ending double play. In the bottom of the ninth, with two on and two out, Hoffman received some terrific defense from Rich Aurilia.
The former Giant reached over the fence near the third base bag to catch a pop-fly off the bat of A.J. Pierzynski to end the game, giving Hoffman his 39th save of the season.
2B Umpire Wally Bell made a horrible call in the Giants half of the third inning when he called Ray Durham out at second base to end a scoring threat. Replays showed that Durham slide into second base clearly ahead of the throw to Padres second baseman Mark Loretta, but Bell punched Durham out anyway. The Giants were up 1-0 at that juncture and the play would have set up a bases loaded situation with Barry Bonds at the plate.
Instead, the ensuing half inning saw the Padres tie the score at 1-1, and then went on to get a shutdown performance from Wells.
Barry and the Giants can just forget about this game though. They have a baker's dozen of games left to play and now that 700 is out of the way, the Giants will have to continue their hot streak well into October.
"Hitting 700 was a great experience, but it's behind me now," Bonds said. "Now we can concentrate on trying to make the playoffs. Like I've always said, it's on to the next thing."
Game Notes: In the top of the fourth inning, Dustan Mohr made a nice running catch in front of the Bank of America sign in "triples alley" to rob Aurilia of a few RBIs… There was a Matt Herges sighting in the top of the ninth inning as he allowed a single, but was unscored upon in his only inning of work since September 3. ..Bonds' 1,839th RBI tied him with Ted Williams for 11th on the all-time RBI list.
SFDugout.com player of the game: Barry Bonds, who probably was the most physically and emotionally drained player on the Giants' roster, but still managed to maintain his focus to blast yet another homerun. The four bases from his homerun added to a career sum of 5,540 total bases, moving him to seventh place on the all-time list for total bases. He is definitely "A Giant among Legends."
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 email@example.com to air out your frustrations or, more likely, songs of praise.
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