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Bonds' big night steals win for Giants

6/24/2003

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Barry Bonds won a showdown with Dodgers
closer Eric Gagne, stole his 500th base and scored the winning run
in an extra-inning game between first-place teams -- all in a span
of about four minutes.

No wonder the San Francisco Giants' superstar slugger couldn't
wait to get home and relax.

Bonds became the founding member of baseball's 500-500 club
moments before scoring on Benito Santiago's single -- and his
resourcefulness gave the Giants a 3-2 win over Los Angeles on
Monday night, putting them back in sole possession of the NL West's
top spot.

"Now is not the time to talk about 500-500," Bonds said, who
became the first player ever with 500 stolen bases and 500 homers.
"I'm exhausted."

All the drama in the latest meeting between the California
archrivals occurred in the late innings. Los Angeles tied it with
two unearned runs in the ninth against Giants closer Tim Worrell,
but Bonds manufactured a run that recalled the younger, speedier
days of the active home run king.

"In that last at-bat, he was dominant without hitting a home
run," Giants manager Felipe Alou said. "I hope people don't judge
Barry only by the home runs he hits. He's a supreme player."

Bonds led off the 11th with a walk in a tremendous matchup
against Gagne (1-2), the Dodgers' hard-throwing closer. Bonds swung
and missed at a 98 mph fastball before getting the call on a 3-2
pitch that angered the Dodgers' bench.

"We weren't trying to give him a leadoff walk. We were trying
to get him out," manager Jim Tracy said. "He can beat you in a
lot of ways, and that's what he did."

On the second pitch to Andres Galarraga, Bonds stole second
without a throw against Gagne's slow delivery to the plate. Bonds had also hit his 500th career homer against the Dodgers.

After a
brief delay while Bonds uprooted the base and waved to the crowd,
Galarraga struck out.

Santiago then singled to left, and Bonds sprinted home to wrap
up the Giants' fourth straight home victory.

"You always want to test yourself against the best, and he's
one of the best that's ever played," Gagne said. "After he walked
... I didn't give (catcher Paul Lo Duca) a chance to throw him out.
He did a good job of recognizing that. That's the kind of player he
is."

Felix Rodriguez (3-0) pitched a scoreless inning for the win.

The Dodgers made a stirring ninth-inning comeback, but the night
belonged to Bonds, who became the 36th player to steal 500 bases.
No other player ever recorded 400 homers and 400 steals before
Bonds, who got a visit from his cancer-stricken father, Bobby, in
the clubhouse before the game.

"Gagne's one of the best closers you'll ever see," Bonds said.
"I thought about (stealing second) because you never know if
you're going to get another chance against him. When I got to
second base, my only thought was that we had a chance to win."

Kirk Rueter pitched six scoreless innings, Galarraga homered and
Marquis Grissom had a run-scoring single for San Francisco (45-30),
which has led the division since opening day. The Giants edged back
ahead of Los Angeles (44-31) in the first of three games.

The Giants have won seven of their last eight against the
Dodgers at Pacific Bell Park. Los Angeles lost for just the third
time in 13 games.

The teams played another tight game following last week's
series, in which Los Angeles held the Giants to five total runs
while winning two of three at Dodger Stadium. The second-largest
regular-season crowd in Pac Bell's history booed the Dodgers with
its usual vigor in the Giants' first home game since June 8.

Everything was going smoothly for the Giants until the ninth.
After Scott Eyre pitched two perfect innings in relief of Rueter,
Worrell blew his fourth save of the season.

The Dodgers had runners on first and second with one out in the
ninth when Larry Barnes hit a textbook double-play grounder. But
second baseman Ray Durham threw wide of second base, allowing
pinch-runner Jason Romano to score and sending Adrian Beltre to
third.

Beltre scored when Cesar Izturis grounded out. Lo Duca nearly
extended the rally with a two-out drive down the right-field line,
but Jose Cruz Jr. made a spectacular diving catch.

Grissom also made two incredible grabs, leaping to catch Shawn
Green's drive at the wall in the eighth, then making a sprinting
stab on Mike Kinkade's drive in the 10th.

Game notes
Izturis extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a
fifth-inning single. He has exactly 11 hits in the streak. ...
Galarraga's homer was the 392nd of his career. ... The Giants got
their 11th sellout of the season with 42,474 fans. ... Bobby Bonds,
undergoing chemotherapy for lung cancer, had an operation last year
to remove a cancerous tumor from his kidney.