SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Despite a skid that knocked them out of
first place, the San Francisco Giants are keeping faith in Pedro
Feliz and their shaky bullpen. Every bit of that trust was rewarded
in a streak-snapping victory.
Barry Bonds hit his 681st homer, Feliz drove in three runs and
the Giants ended their four-game losing skid, beating the Colorado
Rockies 8-4 Wednesday night.
Bonds' 23rd homer of the season staked the Giants to an early
lead -- and the San Francisco bullpen justified general manager
Brian Sabean's faith by preserving the win and snapping Colorado's
five-game winning streak.
Sabean and manager Felipe Alou held a pregame meeting with the
Giants' beleaguered bullpen, which blew a five-run lead and a
potential victory for All-Star Jason Schmidt on Tuesday night.
Instead of ripping their relievers, Sabean and Alou both expressed
confidence in the group despite its bloated ERA and 16 blown saves.
"It's nice to hear that the people in charge still approve of
us," closer Matt Herges said. "It's like hearing from your
parents that they love you. It's a wonderful thing."
Feliz also recovered from a 5-for-29 stretch that kept him out
of the starting lineup in three of the previous five games during
the Giants' homestand. He hit a two-run double in the second inning
and an RBI single in the seventh.
"Every time I go in there, it's trying to prove that I can do
it," Feliz said. "I think I do what I'm supposed to do. Maybe
they don't see it that way. ... It's not going to be up every time.
It's going to be up and down. But that's (Alou's) decision."
Bonds hit the first pitch of the second inning into the stands
in right-center, a few feet from the sign keeping numerical track
of his homers. He scored three runs, going 2-for-3 with two
Bonds has been intentionally walked 67 times this season -- just
one shy of his major league record set in 2002.
Kirk Rueter pitched 6 1-3 strong innings to win his third
straight decision, keeping the NL West race in a California jumble.
San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco all are separated by a
Rueter (5-6) allowed just three hits in the first six innings,
but Alou left the workhorse left-hander on the mound too long.
Jeromy Burnitz doubled before catcher Todd Pratt homered on
Rueter's 121st pitch to cut the Giants' lead to 5-3.
Burnitz, the hero of Colorado's 8-6 come-from-behind win Tuesday
night, had three more hits in the Rockies' first loss since
following a five-game losing streak with five straight wins.
San Francisco avoided being swept at home by the Rockies for the
first time in franchise history.
"There was some urgency about this game," Alou said. "Coming
from that disaster (Tuesday night), the guys took it hard. I took
it hard myself, because we're not used to that."
Adam Bernero (1-1) stepped in for scheduled Colorado starter Joe
Kennedy shortly before gametime when Kennedy was scratched with a
sore shoulder. Bernero, who spent the entire season on the disabled
list until last week, allowed nine hits and four walks in six
"It wasn't a big deal," Bernero said. "You study hitters even
as a reliever. It's the same game plan. You just go a little
Kennedy went on the 15-day disabled list after the game.
The Giants scored three runs in the third, loading the bases
when Bernero intentionally walked Bonds with runners on first and
second. Feliz followed with a two-run double to the left-field
corner, and Pierzynski drove home Bonds.
The Rockies' bullpen fell 1 1-3 innings shy of the franchise
record for consecutive scoreless relief innings when Javier Lopez
allowed Feliz's RBI single in the seventh. Colorado had pitched 15
straight scoreless innings of relief.
"It was a very professional performance (by Bernero),"
Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "He kept us in the game, but
it got away from us in the seventh."
Bernero is the 403rd pitcher to allow a homer to Bonds. "I
didn't think he'd be hacking the first time he saw me," Bernero
said. ... The Giants signed their highest pick in the draft,
agreeing to terms with OF Eddy Martinez-Esteve, the 70th overall
selection. ... Rockies SS Royce Clayton, a .129 career hitter
against Rueter, was taken out of the starting lineup. His popup as
a pinch-hitter in the ninth ended the game.