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Alou's ninth-inning blast lifts Bonds-less Giants to win

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Left field was the center of attention
again in a San Francisco Giants game -- only this time Barry Bonds
wasn't around.

Randy Winn, playing for the resting Bonds, made two outstanding
catches and robbed Eric Byrnes of a home run to end the top of the
ninth inning. Moises Alou then led off the bottom half with a homer
to left, giving the Giants a 3-2 victory over the Arizona
Diamondbacks on Saturday.

"I think it was a great shift in the momentum," Winn said.
"We had been a little flat. They were pitching well. We were
scraping for everything we had to get. The crowd got into the game
after I made the catches and then it was just a different feeling
in the dugout. Then Moises goes out. That was unbelievable."

Alou gave the Giants their second win this season in seven games
that Bonds has not started. Bonds, expected back in the lineup
Sunday, has 711 homers, three shy of tying Babe Ruth for second
place on the career list.

While the Giants always prefer to have Bonds in the lineup, it
was Winn's athleticism in left field that made this win possible.
Earlier in the ninth, he made a sliding catch in left-center to rob
Shawn Green of a hit.

Winn topped that effort on the next batter. He leaped high above
the wall to rob Byrnes of a potential go-ahead homer, getting a
rare defensive curtain call and hearty congratulations from his
teammates.

"It's probably the best robbing play I've ever seen," Giants
starter Brad Hennessey said. "It was awesome. He timed it
perfectly. Those basketball skills came into play there."

Winn said he can't jump nearly as high as he could when he
teamed with Steve Nash on Santa Clara's basketball team more than a
decade ago, when he said he could easily outjump the future NBA
MVP.

"When you don't play, when you don't run and you don't jump,
you kind of lose that," Winn said. "At one point I could dunk a
basketball. I don't know if I could do it anymore."

Byrnes said he thought he had homered until he saw who was in
left field.

"I thought it was going out," he said. "But Randy is a great
athlete. He is the last guy I'd want playing out there."

Before the fans had a chance to settle down following Winn's
sterling defense, Alou drove a 2-0 pitch from Luis Vizcaino (0-2)
into the left-field seats for his seventh homer of the season and
sixth career game-ending shot.

"After he made a play like that, you want to win the game no
matter how," Alou said. "It was even better we won it right away.
It was a great feeling. It made it a lot more special because of
the catch he made."

Armando Benitez (1-0) pitched the ninth for the win, but the
credit for this one goes to Alou and Winn.

Their clutch play helped overcome a mental lapse by rookie Kevin
Frandsen, who got three hits in his major league debut Friday. With
a runner on first and none out in the eighth, Frandsen failed to
run on an infield popup. Catcher Chris Snyder dropped the ball and
got an easy 2-6-4 double play as a chagrined Frandsen returned to
the dugout.

"I just hit it and stared at the ball," Frandsen said. "I
just froze. It's hard getting cheered all last night to getting
booed off the field today."

Arizona's Juan Cruz was sharp in his first major league start in
more than 2½ years, but didn't get a decision when the Giants
rallied to tie the game in the seventh against Brandon Lyon, who
had allowed only two hits in 9 2-3 innings coming into the game.

Steve Finley started it with a bunt single, moved to second on a
groundout and scored on a two-out single by Lance Niekro.

Cruz, making his first start in the majors since Sept. 19, 2003,
for the Cubs, allowed one run, two hits and no walks in five
innings in place of struggling right-hander Russ Ortiz (0-3, 6.91
ERA).

"Cruz threw great, but five innings was all you can expect,"
Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said. "I wanted to get a fresh arm
in there."

The Diamondbacks took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on consecutive
RBI singles by Green and Byrnes, but Hennessey avoided further
damage when he got Cruz to hit into an inning-ending double play
with the bases loaded.

The Giants got their only run off Cruz in the third. Omar
Vizquel doubled and scored when Winn lined a single that deflected
off Cruz.

Game notes
Alou's last game-ending home run was May 19, 2004, for the
Cubs against Jim Brower and the Giants. ... Hennessey allowed two
runs and six hits in six innings. ... Arizona 1B Chad Tracy doubled
in the first inning to snap an 0-for-16 skid. Tracy added two more
singles. ... San Francisco honored former closer Robb Nen before
the game with a plaque on the portwalk beyond right field
commemorating his 300th career save in 2002.