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Bonds hits 617th career homer for 10-1 Giants

4/12/2003

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The combined age of the five San Francisco
Giants who contributed the most to Friday night's win is 184 years.

And if you add in 67-year-old manager Felipe Alou, it's 251.

"We're not feeling old, we're feeling good,'' Andres Galarraga said with a grin.

The 41-year-old Galarraga drove in two runs in a rare start and 38-year-old slugger Barry Bonds hit his 617th career homer as the Giants matched the best start in franchise history with a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The 38-year-old catcher, Benito Santiago, had three hits, and
35-year-old reliever Tim Worrell earned his fifth save in six
chances.

"It's a matter of age,'' Alou said. "By the time you know everything in this game you're too old to play or about ready to die.''

The Giants began the season 10-1 for the fourth time in their history and first since moving to San Francisco 45 years ago. They also won 10 of their first 11 games in 1918, 1932 and 1938 when they were in New York.

Kirk Rueter (2-0), the oldest starting pitcher for San Francisco
at 32, retired 10 of his first 11 batters before Shawn Green
singled to center with one out in the fourth for the Dodgers' first
hit.

Rueter, who combined on a 5-0 shutout Sunday in Milwaukee for
his first win, allowed one unearned run and four hits in 7 2/3
innings. He had even better command and location with his pitches
this time.

The left-hander received a standing ovation when he gave way to
Felix Rodriguez in the eighth and tipped his hat to the crowd of
42,022.

"They kind of let me settle in early and swung at a lot of
first pitches,'' Rueter said. "I felt a lot better than I did in
Milwaukee. I felt good in San Diego but was a little out of whack
in Milwaukee.''

Worrell allowed a solo homer to Adrian Beltre in the ninth.

Bonds homered to right on a 2-0 pitch from Odalis Perez (0-1) in
the second for his fourth of the season. He was thrown out at home
plate on Galarraga's fourth-inning single and Bonds punched the
netting above the photo well by the Dodgers' dugout in frustration.

Alou wanted to give Galarraga some playing time and the slugger
made the most of it. He filled in for regular first baseman J.T.
Snow and hit a two-run single to give the Giants a 3-1 lead in the
sixth.

Galarraga challenges himself to stay ready at all times, taking
extra hitting and running with the pitchers. He found out he was in
the lineup when he arrived at Pacific Bell Park on Friday
afternoon.

"That's a gift for me,'' he said. "It's kind of tough,
especially for me. I used to play every day. It keeps me working
hard.''

The success helps him stay sharp.

"It's amazing. It's contagious right now,'' he said. "Guys are
on base and you get a hit and stay in the groove to help us keep
winning.''

Jose Cruz Jr. went 0-for-3 with a walk to end his 10-game
hitting streak with his new team. He had hit safely in every game
so far. Rich Aurilia also ended his streak at nine games after
going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

An error by second baseman Ray Durham led to an unearned run in
the sixth inning. Brian Jordan's RBI single scored Dave Roberts to
tie it at 1. Roberts had two hits for Los Angeles, which lost
Thursday's opener of the four-game series against its NL West rival
2-1.

Rueter agreed in spring training to a $12 million, two-year
contract extension that runs through 2005. The club considered it a
unique deal because Rueter wanted to remain a Giant and San
Francisco officials appreciated his loyalty to the franchise.

His numbers didn't hurt either.

Rueter went 14-8 last season with a 3.23 ERA in 33 starts for
the NL champions. He became the first Giants lefty to win at least
10 games in six straight seasons since Johnny Antonelli from
1954-59. The Giants won more than 75 percent of his starts last
year, going 25-8.

Perez allowed three runs, six hits and four walks in six
innings, striking out five. He twisted his right ankle in the sixth
while running the bases and had it taped when he left the game
after that inning.

"Some swelling, but I'm fine,'' Perez said.

The Dodgers are pitching well, it's their offense that's
struggling. They are 11-for-63 (.174) so far in the series.

"I wish I had an answer,'' manager Jim Tracy said. "In 12
games we've had 10 starters go into the sixth and seventh inning
with three runs or less. I don't know if you can pitch better than
that.''

Game notes
Bonds stole his second base of the season and the 495th of
his career in the fourth. ... Beltre's homer broke an 0-for-10
slump. ... Snow came in for defense in the ninth inning. ...
Worrell is tied for the NL lead in saves with Pittsburgh's Mike
Williams. ... The Giants have a 3{-game lead in the NL West over
Colorado, their biggest lead since winning the division by 11 games
over Los Angeles in 2000.