SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Rookie Eliezer Alfonzo climbed the stairs
to the clubhouse entrance to find Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda
there waiting with a congratulatory hug and handshake. Armando
Benitez received his share of high-fives, too.
Alfonzo delivered the go-ahead hit for the second straight game
and Benitez converted a much-needed save, lifting the San Francisco
Giants to a 7-6 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday.
Pedro Feliz ended an 0-for-15 stretch with a tying two-run
double in the seventh and the Giants won for the eighth time in 10
games heading into a four-game series against the NL wild
card-leading Cincinnati Reds.
Benitez came through a day after manager Felipe Alou pulled him
with two outs in the ninth following an RBI single to Luis
Gonzalez. This time, the embattled closer pitched a perfect ninth --
striking out Gonzalez on a slider to end it.
"People expect to see me come into the game and do what I did
today. I expect it," Benitez said. "I take responsibility if I
lose the game. If I make a mistake, I make a mistake. You have to
understand you're human. You're not a robot."
Steve Kline (4-3) pitched one inning for the win and Benitez,
booed yet again when he took the mound, earned his 16th save in 24
chances. He pumped his right fist when his job was done and pointed
to the sky in celebration.
Alfonzo tripled to right-center moments after Feliz doubled to
center against Brandon Lyon (1-3) to tie it at 6. The Giants
completed a three-game sweep of the stumbling Diamondbacks, who
lost their fourth straight and sixth of seven. Alfonzo had a
go-ahead double in the eighth inning of Tuesday's 7-6 victory.
"Today I was so excited," he said. "What I put in my mind is
trying to work every day -- believe in yourself."
Eric Byrnes hit a two-run single in the sixth inning to give the
Diamondbacks the lead and rookie Chris Young had his first major
league homer with a two-run shot in the fourth, but Arizona's
bullpen couldn't hold the lead.
Ray Durham hit a three-run homer to establish a new career high
for RBI in a season and Giants slugger Barry Bonds had
back-to-back multihit games for the first time since Aug. 20-21,
2004, against the New York Mets.
Bonds singled to center in the first to drive in a run and
Durham followed with a shot that barely carried into the
right-field arcade for his 20th home run.
Durham, among a handful of key Giants players set to become a
free agent after the season, extended his season-high hitting
streak to 13 games -- the best by a Giants player this year -- and
matched his career-best homers total that he also accomplished with
the White Sox in 2001.
Durham has a career-high 77 RBI, two more than he had in 2000
The 42-year-old Bonds reached on an infield single in the third,
grounded out to first in the fifth and flied out to center in the
seventh. He had five hits in the series, including his 725th career
home run Monday night that pulled him within 30 of tying home run
king Hank Aaron's record of 755. The slugger doubled and singled
Giants ace Jason Schmidt received a no-decision but is still
11-0 over his last 16 starts against Arizona. He loaded the bases
by plunking pinch-hitter Craig Counsell in the sixth, then Byrnes
followed with a single to center.
Young connected with a drive to left-center moments after
Stephen Drew doubled in a run in the fourth. Drew also scored twice
for Arizona, which will spend Thursday's off day hoping to get
things turned around in a hurry with the first-place Los Angeles
Dodgers coming to Phoenix for a weekend series.
"Realistically, we're in the NL West and anything can happen,"
Gonzalez said. "Last week, the Giants were dead in the water and
now they're back in it. The team that has the last hot steak
probably will win it."
Schmidt was tagged for six runs and eight hits, and he struck
out three and walked two.
Arizona starter Enrique Gonzalez was done after four innings and
his winless stretch reached seven starts since a win July 17
against the Dodgers.
Schmidt's strikeout of Young in the second gave him 1,031
punchouts as a Giant, good for sole possession of ninth place in
franchise history ahead of Mike McCormick (1,030).
Schmidt singled off the wall in left in the second and
doubled off the left-field wall in the fourth for his third career
multihit game and first since April 10, 2005, against Colorado. ...
Schmidt has not lost to the Diamondbacks since Sept. 5, 2002.