SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Felipe Alou feels nothing like a manager
whose club has won seven of nine games to stay in the playoff
He is dealing with a struggling, disgruntled closer and a team
that has looked so good at times and so bad at others over the
course of his fourth season as San Francisco's skipper.
Steve Kline relieved Armando Benitez in the ninth inning and got the last out of the Giants' 7-6 win over the Diamondbacks. It's the second time this month that Benitez has been taken out in the ninth; it also happened on Aug. 2 against the Nationals. Before that, the last time Benitez was taken out in a save situation in the ninth inning on Sept. 29, 2001 in Atlanta. With a 5-1 lead, Benitez allowed five runs, the last two of which scored on Brian Jordan's game-ending grand slam on a 0-2 pitch from John Franco.
Rookie Eliezer Alfonzo doubled in the go-ahead run in the eighth
inning, Barry Bonds had a pair of hits, and the Giants held on to
beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 7-6 Tuesday night despite another
rocky night of relief pitching.Afterward, the 71-year-old Alou again was answering questions
about inconsistent Armando Benitez."There's a lot of baseball to be played. To that effect, I
believe the manager has to manage," Alou said. "If the closer
needs to be taken out, the closer will be taken out. ... The move
was nothing but a managerial move, nothing but a strategic move."Benitez struck out two batters in the ninth before allowing an
RBI single to Luis Gonzalez. Steve Kline relieved on his 34th
birthday and gave up a two-run double to Chad Tracy before getting
Estrada to ground out to shortstop to end it. Kline earned his
first save in exactly two years -- for the St. Louis Cardinals at
Pittsburgh on Aug. 22, 2004."I don't feel like talking right now," Benitez said.What does he need to do?"Get people out," said Alou, who spoke to Benitez about his
decision. "This is the situation: We lost a number of games in the
eighth and the ninth inning."Johnny Estrada hit a tying, two-run homer in the eighth and
finished 4-for-5 with two doubles, a single and three RBI for
Arizona. But the Giants got to Tony Pena (3-3) in the eighth.
Pinch-hitter Todd Linden followed Alfonzo's one-out double with an
RBI single, then Omar Vizquel doubled in a pair of runs two batters
later.Estrada sent the first pitch he saw from Mike Stanton (5-6) over
the wall in left-center with one out in the eighth to make it 3-3."We just couldn't put things together," Estrada said. "We
can't play like this and expect to be in the playoffs. We're fading
fast. We're not knocking on the door anymore."Ray Durham added an RBI single and extended his hitting streak
to 12 games, driving in his 74th run of the year -- one shy of his
career high in 2000 for the Chicago White Sox. His hitting streak
matches the best this year by a Giants player, also accomplished by
Randy Winn.Bonds went 2-for-3 with a double, single and a walk, a night
after connecting for his 725th career homer.San Francisco starter Matt Cain pitched seven strong innings,
following Noah Lowry's two-hit shutout Monday night. The rookie
right-hander allowed one run and seven hits, struck out seven and
walked one.Brandon Webb, trying to become the NL's first 14-game winner,
received a no-decision after throwing 105 pitches in five innings.
He gave up three runs and four hits, struck out five and walked
four.Webb trailed 2-0 after the first, when the Giants scored two
earned runs but took advantage of another costly error by Arizona.
Vizquel reached on a single, then advanced to third on rookie right
fielder Carlos Quentin's wild throw, into the Giants' dugout area
beyond third base.Quentin got the start only hours after the Diamondbacks dealt
outfielder Shawn Green to the New York Mets for Triple-A pitcher
Evan MacLane, a 23-year-old left-hander.San Francisco scored three unearned runs in Monday night's 5-0
victory.After Steve Finley singled to start the second, Webb didn't
allow another hit until Bonds' two-out single in the fifth. Durham
followed with his RBI single.Estrada homered, doubled twice and singled for Arizona, which
lost its third straight game and fifth in six. Estrada's double to
deep right in the sixth gave the Diamondbacks their first run.Chris Young, called up by Arizona on Friday, had his first
career extra-base hit with a double in the seventh. He replaced
Eric Byrnes in center in the middle of the sixth.
Cain has 135 strikeouts, third most by a rookie in San
Francisco history. ... Webb has gone six or fewer innings in four
of his last five outings. ... Will Clark, watching in the stands,
received a standing ovation when announced after the sixth. He
played the first eight of his 15 big league seasons for the Giants.