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Giants score four in ninth to win, stay in race

DENVER (AP) -- Barry Bonds withstood the pain and played on what
should have been a day off. Moises Alou hustled out a pair of
triples on his aching, 39-year-old legs.

Those gutsy efforts helped the San Francisco Giants get the only
thing they were looking for when they came to Denver for the
weekend -- a chance at the playoffs as they head into the final week
of the season.

Bonds went hitless in a surprise Sunday start, but the Giants
still kept their slim postseason hopes alive by scoring four runs
in the ninth for a 6-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

Combined with San Diego's 4-3 loss to Arizona, the Giants pulled
within four games of the Padres in the NL West with a four-game
series at San Diego starting Monday.

"It's going to be tough," Giants first baseman J.T. Snow said.
"Can we do it? Yeah, we can do it. We need to play our best
baseball and get some luck and get some things to go our way. You
never know. Crazy things have happened."

Pinch-hitter Julio Ramirez hit the go-ahead single -- his first
major league hit since 2002 -- off Rockies closer Brian Fuentes
(2-5) in the ninth, as San Francisco improved to 8-2 in games Bonds
starts.

The win and the Padres loss kept San Diego's magic number at
four. It also ensured the Giants (73-82) will be mathematically
alive until at least Tuesday and could actually pull even with a
sweep of the Padres.

"We won't have to look at the scoreboard anymore, and we will
have a good series, have some fun and play good baseball," Alou
said of the upcoming games against the Padres.

Alou, who has been less than 100 percent much of this season
with leg problems, had a single to go with the first multi-triple
game of his 15-year career. He scored after the first triple for a
2-0 lead in the second. The second triple scored two runs in the
ninth to make it 5-2 and chase Fuentes.

"I woke up a little sore today in my calf and I told my dad,
`If you can give me a break every once in a while, that would be
good," Alou said of the conversation with Giants manager Felipe
Alou. "I must have known that I was going to get on base today."

Still running gingerly on his surgically repaired knee, Bonds
normally wouldn't start in a day game following a night game. But,
given San Francisco's dire playoff circumstances, Felipe Alou asked
the slugger if he could go and Bonds said yes.

He finished 0-for-3 with a walk, failing to get the ball out of
the infield, before being lifted for a defensive replacement in the
seventh.

He popped out to short and second -- the second popout with two
runners on -- and drew a walk against Rockies starter Byung-Hyun
Kim. With a runner on first in the seventh, Bonds faced lefty
reliever Randy Williams and grounded out to first.

Bonds left Coors Field -- where his 24 homers are the most of any
visiting player -- still stuck on 707 career homers, seven behind
Babe Ruth for second on the all-time list. He finished with two
singles, two walks and an RBI in the three-game series.

"You'd think if you handled him, your chances of winning are
better," said Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, whose team lost two of
three to the Giants. "We were able to handle him. We weren't able
to handle some of the other guys."

Felipe Alou knows what a difference it makes having Bonds in the
lineup.

"I talked him into playing today more than anything," Alou
said. "We got him four at-bats as opposed to a pinch hit."

The manager said the slugger would be able to play and start as
long as the Giants are in the race. Once they're done, though,
Bonds probably is, too -- at least as a starter.

Tyler Walker (5-4) pitched the eighth to get the win. Closer
Armando Benitez worked the ninth for the Giants in a non-save
situation.

Randy Winn had three hits for San Francisco, including his third
leadoff homer of the season.

Todd Helton homered in the fourth for Colorado to extend his
hitting streak to 12 games.

Kim, competing for a spot in Colorado's 2006 rotation, allowed
two runs and six hits in five innings.

Giants starter Matt Cain went six innings, allowing one run and
three hits before being replaced by LaTroy Hawkins, who walked the
leadoff hitter in the seventh and allowed the game-tying run on an
RBI triple by pinch-hitter Aaron Miles.

Game notes
With the loss, the Rockies finished their home schedule at
40-41. They play their last two series at Atlanta and the Mets. ...
The Giants improved to 10-10-1 in their 21 series since the
All-Star break. ... With a closing-day crowd of 31,746, the Rockies
drew 1,914,389 this season, the lowest total in the 13-year history
of the franchise.