It was Ray Durham crossing the plate at the end of the game, but Barry Bonds was once again the name on everyone’s lips as the San Francisco Giants prevailed 5-4 in 11 innings over the division rival and NL Wild Card race leading San Diego Padres.
"I'm swinging the bat good," Bonds said with his usual understatement of things when they’re going well. He swung it well in the first, giving the Giants a 2-0 lead with a 2 run home run to deep right center field.
But it was Durham starting and finishing the game-winning rally. After Bonds flew out to lead off the inning, Durham tripled to right of center and stood on first with one out. The Padres intentionally walked Moises Alou and Pedro Feliz to get to catcher Todd Greene’s spot. The Giants then pinch-hit Mark Sweeney for Greene, and Sweeney got the job done. He hit a slow bouncer towards the hole between first and second. Despite playing drawn in, second baseman Josh Barfield had to run hard to his left to get to the ball, then uncorked a wild throw as Durham slid in safe.
Durham appeared to get clipped by catcher Josh Bard’s cleat, but he seemed to be okay after the game.
"We starve for those situations,” Sweeney said of times when players could hit into productive outs. “It was pretty special to me to contribute."
The Giants had staked out a 4-0 lead, thanks to Bonds’ homer in the first inning and RBI singles by Alou and Greene in the 4th inning. But Schmidt ran into trouble later in the game. In the 6th, Schmidt gave up a leadoff single to Jack Cust, who made it to third on two productive outs and then scored on a Todd Walker single.
But then it was the big hits that cost Schmidt. In the 7th, a leadoff single was followed by a 2 run home run by Termel Sledge to make the score 4-3. Schmidt stayed in the game, and then gave up a leadoff home run to Giles in the 8th to tie the score. He was taken out after walking the next batter. Steve Kline, Vinnie Chulk and Mike Stanton combined in the bullpen for 4 innings of scoreless work.
SFDugout Player of the Game: Bonds. Sorry Ray-Ray, but Barry still paces this team. His home run set the tone and even if he didn’t deliver in extra innings, his very presence convinces people, and maybe even his own team, that they still are in this and have a real chance.Game Notes: The win moved the Giants into a 2nd place tie with the Philadelphia Phillies for the Wild Card race, only 1.5 games behind the Padres. The Giants moved up to 3 games behind the NL West leading Los Angeles Dodgers, with the Padres 1.5 games back in that race. On Sunday, the Giants and Padres meet for the final time of the season, with the Giants having won 11 of the last 12 meetings. The game is starting at 5:05 PM Pacific time to accommodate ESPN television, broadcasting the key playoff game nationally.
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