At long last, Cruz finds McCovey Cove


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Since Jose Cruz Jr. joined the San
Francisco Giants, he's wanted to hit a home run into McCovey Cove.

He considers it a meaningless feat, really -- but when he did it
Tuesday, it felt good.

Cruz homered and drove in four runs and Jim Brower pitched 4 1-3
strong innings in relief of injured starter Kirk Rueter as the
Giants defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 8-3 on Tuesday.

"That was a thrill," Cruz said. "It's been my goal for this
year to get one. To do it, you have to crush the ball. It's just a
neat thing to do, like hitting one into the upper deck at Yankee

San Francisco shut down the NL's top offense for the second
straight day to sweep the two-game series in a whirlwind 20-hour
homestand. The Giants, who beat St. Louis in the NLCS last season,
went 5-1 against the Cardinals this season, holding them to seven
runs in the five wins.

Brower (5-1) retired 10 in a row during one stretch after Rueter
left in the second inning with a strained left shoulder. Brower
added a single in the second and made a nice slide into home to
beat the throw by shortstop Edgar Renteria as San Francisco took a
4-1 lead.

"The slide is the most memorable thing," Brower said.

Brower allowed two hits and struck out two in the longest outing
by a Giants reliever this season. He was being considered for a
spot start Thursday so that Jason Schmidt could take an extra day
of rest and start Friday instead. Now, manager Felipe Alou said he
is still undecided on Thursday's starter.

"I've been given chances the last couple weeks to work myself
into different situations where they can rely on me," Brower said.
"I just think, 'Get the next guy out.' Being in the bullpen, I've
developed that kind of mentality."

Rueter, looking for his first victory in more than a month, was
hurt after throwing a pitch to Dan Haren. Second baseman Ray Durham
and shortstop Neifi Perez both rushed to the mound to check on the
left-hander. Rueter walked off the field with assistant trainer
Dave Groeschner.

Rueter, 0-2 in six starts since June 6, threw 30 pitches and had
a 3-1 lead when he left the game. Preliminary results of an MRI
showed no structural damage, but it wasn't immediately known how
long he will be out. He is on anti-inflammatory medication and will
travel with the team to Colorado.

In the first inning, Cruz hit a 3-2 pitch from Haren (0-2) over
the right-field fence and into the water of McCovey Cove for the
32nd "splash hit" in Pacific Bell Park's four seasons. The Giants
have 28 of those, including 24 by slugger Barry Bonds.

Only two of San Francisco's three runs in the first were earned
after a throwing error by St. Louis third baseman Scott Rolen. In
the sixth, Rolen left the game with back and neck stiffness. His
neck began to spasm while he argued with an umpire in the third

Cruz hit a sacrifice fly in the second to score Durham, and
Edgardo Alfonzo had three hits and an RBI for the Giants, who have
won seven of nine. Cruz also made a great catch against the wall in
right field on a hard-hit ball by Rolen in the first.

"That fence, you don't know what it's doing," Cruz said.
"It's brick, it's chain-link and it's padding. Then it curves."

Pinch-hitter Andres Galarraga homered in the eighth for the
Giants, the 393rd of his career.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was ejected in the third for
arguing a close call at first -- the fourth time he's been tossed
this season.

"They did everything better than we did," La Russa said of the
series. "They held our offense down. I think it was more them than
it was us. They just made good pitches."

Bo Hart hit a leadoff triple to the wall in right-center in the
first and scored on Jim Edmonds' sacrifice fly as St. Louis took a
1-0 lead. Albert Pujols added an RBI double in the seventh and J.D.
Drew hit a run-scoring double in the ninth.

Haren, who made his major league debut June 30 after being
called up from Triple-A Memphis, was tagged for six runs and five
hits in 1 2-3 innings.

Game notes
Bonds got the day off to rest. ... St. Louis RHP Matt
Morris threw in a bullpen session Tuesday. Morris is battling
tenderness in his throwing shoulder and made his first start in 10
days Saturday at Chicago. "I felt great," Morris said of his
session. "No discomfort at all. It's exciting." ... Alou will
return to his native Dominican Republic during the All-Star break
to visit his ill mother and attend the memorial service for his
older brother, Francisco Rojas, who died Friday. ... The Giants'
Marquis Grissom reached base four times. ... Galarraga got his
fourth career pinch-hit homer.