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Alou again hits in clutch, but Perez wins it

5/20/2004

CHICAGO (AP) -- The San Francisco Giants got a dramatic home run
of their own from a most unlikely source.

Neifi Perez hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning Thursday,
spoiling another late home run by Moises Alou and lifting the
short-handed Giants to a 5-3 win. Pedro Feliz had another big day
with a homer and two RBI for the Giants, who won their first
series in three tries.

"It's easy in games like this to say, `Ahh, let's just get this
game over with, somebody hit a home run, who cares who it is,"
said Matt Herges, who pitched two scoreless innings for the win.
"But we fought, and lo and behold, Neifi -- beautiful, beautiful.
It definitely surprised me. A pleasant surprise."

The Cubs beat the Giants 4-3 in 10 innings on Wednesday night
when Alou made his father, Giants manager Felipe Alou, pay for a
pitching switch. The younger Alou did it again Thursday, tying the
game with a two-run shot in the seventh after his father replaced
lefty Scott Eyre with Felix Rodriguez.

"He didn't try to ruin my trip," Felipe Alou said. "I think
he's trying to do what he's been doing for a while in the big
leagues. When I went to the mound, I talked to the people involved
in pitching to make sure that we didn't give him a pitch to hit.

"And if we fell behind, turn the page and go to the next guy."

That's just what the Giants did. With Barry Bonds out for a
second day with back troubles, Perez stepped up.

Perez has been struggling lately, going 0-for-16. But after Cubs
closer Joe Borowski walked Michael Tucker with two outs in the
10th, Perez grabbed teammate Yorvit Torrealba's bat and went to the
plate.

He sent the first pitch he saw from Borowski (2-2) into the
right-field bleachers for a two-run homer. It was Perez's first
home run of the year, coming in his 150th at-bat.

"I'm struggling right now," said Perez, who is hitting .201.
"I'm hitting the ball, but somebody's catching it. Thank God that
I hit the home run today. I helped us."

The Cubs had one last chance, with Alou getting another at-bat
in the bottom of the 10th. But Herges (1-2) retired him on a
flyball and Aramis Ramirez grounded out to end the game.

"Neifi did to us what we did to them yesterday. I guess
turnabout is fair play," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "You hate
to lose a series like that, especially in that fashion, but we've
just got to come back to the drawing board tomorrow against St.
Louis."

The Giants are foundering, dropping 11 of their last 15 games
and struggling to keep people healthy. Bonds is out indefinitely,
and second baseman Ray Durham (knee) and backup left fielder
Jeffrey Hammonds (hand bruise) also missed Thursday's game.

But Feliz keeps finding ways to make up for the absences,
hitting .385 with a homer and three RBI in the three-game series
in Chicago.

He hit a run-scoring single in the third, and made it 3-0 with a
solo, first-pitch homer off Greg Maddux in the fifth inning.

Chicago cut the Giants' lead to 3-1 on Derrek Lee's RBI single
in the sixth.

Then it was time for another Alou vs. Alou matchup. Rather than
let his son face a left-hander Wednesday night, Felipe Alou brought
in a right-hander and Moises Alou promptly hit a walkoff homer to
give the Cubs a 4-3 victory in 10 innings.

Despite that, Felipe Alou did the same thing Thursday, lifting
lefty Eyre for Rodriguez in the seventh. Alou worked Rodriguez to a
3-1 count before launching a high pitch up and over the left-field
fence -- the same spot where he homered Wednesday night -- to tie the
game at 3. Fans roared as they saw the ball climb, and they chanted
"Ah-loo!" as he rounded the bases.

But the Cubs couldn't do any more damage.

"Winning by attrition," Herges said. "We outlasted them today
at their place, and that's a huge boost for us."

Game notes
Perez's homer was his first since Sept. 13, 2003. ...
Alou's homer was the 250th of his career. ... The Cubs put Kerry
Wood on the disabled list Thursday, retroactive to May 12. Wood
said he didn't feel any pain or discomfort during a bullpen
session, but the Cubs want to make sure his sore triceps is
completely healed before he rejoins the rotation. ... Maddux threw
a run-scoring wild pitch in the third inning.