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Six-run seventh sends Expos into tailspin

5/21/2004

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- Barry Bonds played, which was nice
for San Francisco. The rest of his teammates produced, which was
even better for the Giants.

Bonds drew a leadoff walk to spark a six-run seventh inning
Friday night that carried the Giants to a 6-5 win over the Montreal
Expos.

Bonds played despite a sore back that kept him out of the last
two games. He said he wanted the fans in San Juan -- where the Expos
play 22 of their home games -- to get a chance to see him in action.

"It's a tough situation," Bonds said before the game. "But
I'm going to put a couple back braces on and see what happens."

He played the entire nine innings, but it turned out that most
of his best stuff came before the game, when he hammered balls over
the fence in batting practice, then took time to sign autographs
just a few minutes before the first pitch.

Once the game started, he went 1-for-3 with a walk and never got
the ball out of the infield. His only hit was a squibber that he
beat out for an infield single.

Still, he was the show at Hiram Bithorn Stadium, where a crowd
of 14,325 came out to watch him play, oohing and ahhing at every
swing, and lustily booing plate umpire Rob Drake when he called
Bonds out on strikes in the second.

With San Francisco trailing 3-0, Bonds' walk against Livan
Hernandez (3-3) started the Giants' big rally. After San Francisco
chased Hernandez, then closed within a run, Edgardo Alfonzo had a
two-out, two-run single and Marquis Grissom followed with a two-run
double.

"I wouldn't say it gave us a lift," Grissom said of
Hernandez's departure. "Just some different scenery."

San Francisco batted around, with Bonds hitting a hard groundout
to end the inning.

It marked the first time the Giants have scored six runs in a
game since May 9. Their last six-run inning? "Um, that would be
tonight," Alfonzo said.

Wayne Franklin (1-0) threw just three pitches for the win,
retiring one batter in relief of Brett Tomko. Scott Eyre got out of
a jam with two on and one out in the eighth, and Matt Herges
pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 14 chances.

The big inning may have been just the kind of thing the Giants
needed. They have largely failed to produce anyone to hit behind
Bonds, and that's one reason he has 29 intentional walks and is on
pace to shatter the record of 68 -- which he set in 2002.

Batting behind Bonds on Friday, Pedro Feliz went 1-for-4,
including a single that came after the leadoff walk in the seventh.
No. 8 hitter Neifi Perez, who had a game-winning homer Thursday,
went 2-for-4.

The Giants, who won for the third time in four games, agreed it
was key to get Hernandez out of the game.

"When you get a guy on the ropes, you've got to capitalize on
the mistakes," Grissom said.

Hernandez looked to be in control, and even though manager Frank
Robinson pulled him with a 3-1 lead and the bases loaded in the
seventh, nobody had hit the ball real hard.

"Everything was fine until the leadoff walk," Robinson said.
"We gave him three runs and he started to be picky. It started a
whole avalanche of things."

Hernandez walked slowly to the dugout, taking about 60 seconds
for what usually is a 10-second walk from the mound.

"I wasn't feeling tired," he said.

As soon as he left, things got worse. Reliever Luis Ayala
promptly hit Jeffrey Hammonds, forcing in a run to make it 3-2. One
out later came the big hits by Alfonzo and Grissom.

Game notes
Montreal's Jose Vidro went 0-for-5 and is in a 2-for-30
slump. He grounded into a double play with a man on and no outs in
the ninth. ... Hernandez has worked into the seventh inning in all
10 starts this season. ... Hernandez and Tomko both had hits.