Giants open one-game lead in wild-card race


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Barry Bonds delivered the big hit for the San
Francisco Giants -- no surprise there.

And the bullpen made it stand up.

No surprise there, either.

Bonds' two-out, two-run double highlighted a four-run second
inning Tuesday night as the Giants beat Los Angeles 6-4 for a
one-game lead over the Dodgers in the NL wild-card race.

Five relievers combined to pitch four scoreless innings after Kirk Rueter (13-8) struggled through a shaky five innings to earn the victory.

``We're not at the top of the league in pitching for nothing,''
Giants manager Dusty Baker said.

Actually, the Giants rank second in the NL and third in the
majors with a 3.66 team ERA, and their bullpen is one of baseball's

``I'm not telling my team anything,'' Baker said following the
Giants' 20th win in 29 games. ``I'm just telling them to go out
there and play. I really don't have to say very much. They know how
I want them to play, they know how to play.''

The teams each have 11 games left, including matchups on
Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Bonds opted not to speak with reporters following the
three-hour, 52-minute game. The Giants won despite stranding 14

``It's tiring, you go mind-melt after a while, playing these four-hour games,'' San Francisco's Rich Aurilia said. ``It's a lot easier when you win.''

The Dodgers won the opener of the four-game series 7-6 Monday
night in a three-hour, 32-minute affair.

``When you get opportunities, you're not going to come through all the time,'' Aurilia said. ``I guess we came through enough tonight.''

Dodgers catcher Paul Lo Duca helped thwart the Giants with a
spectacular, sliding catch on pinch hitter Damon Minor's popup just
before tumbling into the Los Angeles dugout in the seventh.

``We played well tonight, but we got beat,'' Lo Duca said. ``That's the bottom line. They got out in front of us and we scratched and clawed our way back, but we just couldn't catch them.

``They've got a tough bullpen, but if we go out and play the
next two nights like we played tonight, I guarantee you we'll

Rueter allowed eight hits and four runs before Jay Witasick,
Felix Rodriguez, Scott Eyre, Tim Worrell and Robb Nen combined to
give up two hits and no runs.

The Dodgers' bullpen was excellent, too. But it was too late.

Nen worked a 1-2-3 ninth for his 39th save in 47 chances. It was
his 310th career save, tying Goose Gossage for 12th place on the
all-time list.

``There's a lot of emotion in these games,'' said Worrell, who
certainly displayed some after striking out Adrian Beltre with a
runner on first to end the Los Angeles eighth with the Giants
leading 5-4.

Bonds, 1-for-2 with three walks including two intentional, hit a
2-0 pitch from Omar Daal (11-9) to the left-center field alley to
drive in Kenny Lofton and Aurilia. The hit made it 4-1 and chased

``I didn't want to leave any pitches out over the plate to Bonds
because we don't want to get beat by that guy,'' Daal said. ``I was
trying to throw that pitch away, but I left it right down the
middle of the plate.

``I'm not perfect. This was just a bad game for me.''

Aurilia's single drove in the first run of the inning to snap a
1-1 tie, and Benito Santiago greeted reliever Giovanni Carrara with
an RBI single to cap the burst.

Santiago, who went 3-for-4 with a walk, hit a two-out, RBI
single in the first to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.

The Dodgers tied it with an unearned run in their half when Lo
Duca alertly scored on Shawn Green's sacrifice fly -- a popup caught
by backpedaling second baseman Jeff Kent.

The Dodgers got another run in the second on an RBI single by
Cesar Izturis.

Marquis Grissom hit his 16th homer with two outs in the fifth,
and the Dodgers' cut San Francisco's lead to 5-4 in the sixth when
Green scored while Beltre was grounding into a forceout.

The Giants added an insurance run in the ninth when Reggie Sanders doubled and later scored when pinch hitter Bill Mueller struck out on a wild pitch by Eric Gagne.

Game notes
Daal allowed five hits and five runs 1 2/3 innings -- his shortest outing of the season. He threw 57 pitches while recording only five outs. He struck out three, including J.T. Snow with the
bases loaded to end the first. ... In his last three starts, Daal
has given up 21 hits and 14 runs in only 10 innings. ... The
Dodgers dropped to 24-14 against left-handed starters. ... Rueter
is 1-2 against the Dodgers this season and 8-8 lifetime. He raised
his lifetime record in September to 22-9. ... ... Carrara, who
pitched 3 1-3 shutout innings, walked Bonds intentionally with two
outs and nobody on in the fourth. ... A one-out single by Beltre in
the fifth went through left-fielder Bonds' legs, but Beltre was
thrown out trying to reach third. ... Bonds raised his NL-leading
batting average to .373. He has a 30-point lead over Colorado's
Larry Walker.