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Swisher's ninth-inning RBI triple rallies A's past Giants

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Although Barry Bonds showed he still has a
spring in his step with his first stolen base in nearly two years,
the Oakland Athletics bounced back a whole lot better than the San
Francisco slugger's legs.

Nick Swisher drove in the go-ahead run with a ninth-inning
triple, and the A's rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Giants on
Friday night in the entertaining opener of the Bay Bridge Series.

Bonds surprised almost everybody in the Giants' fog-shrouded
waterfront park when he stole second base and scored on Pedro
Feliz's single in the eighth to put San Francisco up 3-2.

The 41-year-old star is baseball's only player with 500 career
homers and 500 stolen bases, but the steal was just his seventh
since getting No. 500 on June 23, 2003 -- exactly three years ago.

What's more, reliever Chad Gaudin made a pickoff throw to first
base on the play -- but Bonds stole second anyway.

"It wasn't something I expected," Gaudin said with a
bewildered look. "I don't know, when was the last time he stole a
base?"

That would be Aug. 16, 2004.

Bonds drew three walks, including a bases-loaded pass in the
third inning -- but after his romp around the bases, he went to the
locker room before the ninth. Manager Felipe Alou said Bonds
probably wouldn't play Saturday, though trainer Stan Conte said
Bonds could have stayed in Friday's game.

"He was struggling when he came off after scoring the run,"
Alou said. "I don't think it's good for him to play tomorrow. I
don't see how he could be all right (for Saturday's game)."

While still marveling at Bonds' steal, Swisher and his teammates
rallied in the ninth against Giants closer Armando Benitez (4-1),
scoring two runs in the A's 12th victory in 14 games.

After Jason Kendall and Bobby Kielty hit one-out singles, Mark Kotsay tied it with a sacrifice fly. Swisher then drove home Kielty
with a triple to right-center, thrilling the A's fans in the
bipartisan sellout crowd.

Swisher slid headfirst into third base, then clapped his hands
as he popped up on his knees.

"It's just a great game to win, especially in front of 43,000
people," Swisher said. "It was funny, because you have half of
them yelling at you, and half of them cheering. But that's how
these crosstown rivalry games are supposed to be."

Benitez, who blew his fourth save, again was booed heavily by
the home crowd. Alou voiced his firm support for Benitez after the
game.

"He's a great hitter," Benitez said, referring to Swisher.
"The pitch was in a good spot, and he got the base hit. Nothing I
could do. ... They got me today. We'll see about tomorrow."

Kiko Calero (2-1) got one out in the eighth, and Huston Street
pitched the ninth for his 18th save in 22 chances.

San Francisco took two of three from the A's at the Coliseum
last month in the opening leg of the Bay Bridge Series -- and Bonds
hit his 714th homer, tying Babe Ruth for second place on baseball's
career list.

Until Bonds' sprint around the bases, the atmosphere was more
entertaining than the baseball on '80s Night. Both teams wore the
loud, softball-style uniforms of their 1982 counterparts, and the
Giants welcomed back Crazy Crab, the human-sized crab mascot
introduced at Candlestick Park in 1984 as a sarcastic protest
against mascots.

Bonds looked sharp in his deer-hunter orange top, but he had two
fielding misadventures in the early innings. He made up for them
with an impressive catch to end the sixth, backhanding Antonio Perez's fly on a dead run.

Jason Schmidt threw 122 pitches over seven innings for the
Giants, striking out six -- putting him third among San Francisco
pitchers with 979 strikeouts. But he allowed four hits and five
walks. The Giants' ace blew a two-run lead in the sixth when Jay Payton tied it with an RBI double, keeping Schmidt winless in his
last three starts.

Joe Blanton yielded seven hits, three walks and two runs over
six innings in another good start for the A's. Ray Durham tripled
and scored San Francisco's second run in the fifth.

Justin Duchscherer, an All-Star reliever for the A's last year,
pitched a perfect seventh inning. He was activated from the
disabled list earlier in the day after missing 42 games with right
elbow tendinitis.

Game notes
Schmidt moved up two spots on San Francisco's career
strikeouts list during the game, passing Mike McCormick (976) and
Bobby Bolin (977). Schmidt is 10th overall in franchise history.
... After the game, players from both teams signed their retro
jerseys and gave them away for an online charity auction. ...
Reliever Jay Witasick went on the A's disabled list for the second
time this season with ankle problems. ... Giants OF Moises Alou
might be headed for the DL after missing his fifth straight game
with an inflamed joint in his lower back. Conte said a decision on
Alou's fate will be made soon.