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Ortiz wins sixth straight start for Giants

9/25/2002

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Dusty Baker received a courtesy call
Tuesday morning from Colorado manager Clint Hurdle, who explained
why his top two players would not be in the lineup against Los
Angeles.

It didn't matter.

Baker's San Francisco Giants won again, and Hurdle's depleted
lineup beat the Dodgers -- moving the Giants closer to clinching the
NL wild card.

Barry Bonds hit his 45th homer and Benito Santiago drove in four
runs as the Giants defeated the San Diego Padres 12-3 Tuesday
night.

Russ Ortiz won his sixth straight start for the Giants, who have
won four in a row and six of seven to move three games ahead of Los
Angeles in the wild-card race. The Dodgers lost 1-0 to Colorado.

Hurdle let Baker know that Todd Helton's wife was having a baby
and Larry Walker was sidelined with an eye problem. Baker
appreciated not having to learn it just from the box score in his
morning newspaper.

''He said he respects me and the job I do,'' Baker said. ''It
was a manager-to-manager courtesy. He said, 'We're going to get
after them' just the way they got after us.''

Los Angeles has five games left and the Giants have four, plus a
possible makeup game Monday in Atlanta.

Seconds after the final out in LA, the Pacific Bell Park
out-of-town scoreboard was updated with an ''F'' for final score
and fans started chanting ''Beat LA! Beat LA!'' just as they have
been for weeks.

Bonds drove a 1-1 pitch over the wall in right field for a
two-run homer in the seventh off Mike Bynum. It was the 612th
career homer for Bonds, who also drew his major league-leading 64th
and 65th intentional walks, giving him 193 total.

Before his team played Tuesday, Baker stressed it would take
some timely hitting by Santiago in the No. 5 hole -- following Jeff
Kent and Bonds -- for the Giants to be successful in the playoffs.

And Santiago showed just that on a misty San Francisco night, in
which the moisture hovered just above the field for most of the
game.

The veteran catcher was a homer shy of the cycle. He hit a
two-run triple to the wall in right-center off Oliver Perez (3-5)
in the three-run third. After sliding into third, he immediately
hopped up and pumped his fist.

Kent drove in the first run of the inning with a bloop single to
shallow right-center. After a single by Bonds, the pair moved up on
a wild pitch, then scored on the hit by Santiago.

The 37-year-old Santiago also had an RBI single in the fifth and
a sacrifice fly in a four-run sixth. He doubled in the seventh.

He sat out a two-game suspension last week after being accused
of bumping umpire Mark Hirschbeck in a game against San Diego at
Pac Bell on Sept. 15.

''I am fresh,'' said Santiago, who didn't know he was close to
the cycle and says there's still time in his career to do it.
''Maybe the suspension helped me out. I'm 37 but I feel like 29.''

Ortiz (14-10) retired the first seven batters and did not allow
a hit until a fourth-inning single to Phil Nevin.

The right-hander allowed three runs and six hits in 6 2/3
innings, striking out five. He left to a standing ovation when he
gave way to Scott Eyre. Ortiz waved his glove and tipped his hat to
the crowd as a dollar bill reading ''In Russ We Trust'' appeared on
the scoreboard.

Ortiz is one win shy of his career-best winning streak, and he
could match it Sunday against Houston.

''The bottom line is just being consistent with everything,'' he
said. ''Our starting pitching is pretty solid and the way the guys
have been swinging the bats and playing defense, you have to feel
good. We're having a lot of fun but we're still doing our jobs.''

San Diego manager Bruce Bochy coached Santiago early on, before
a car wreck derailed Santiago's career for a short time four years
ago.

''He's done a great job of resurrecting his career,'' Bochy
said. ''He's matured as a player and he's smarter as a catcher and
hitter. I'm happy for him.''

San Francisco's Reggie Sanders hit a solo homer with two outs in
the second that went just over the outstretched glove of left
fielder Ray Lankford.

The Giants' sixth inning featured a bases-loaded walk by Bynum
to J.T. Snow. Bonds and Sanders, who both walked, scored on David
Bell's two-run single, and Santiago had the sacrifice fly that
scored Kenny Lofton.

Perez allowed four runs and six hits in four innings.

Game notes
The Giants' Tsuyoshi Shinjo led off the seventh with a
single to break a four-game hitless streak. ... Bonds has walked 33
times against San Diego this season. ... San Francisco is three
games behind first-place Arizona, the closest the Giants have been
to the Diamondbacks in two months. ... Ortiz has a 2.34 ERA during
his win streak and has a lifetime regular season record of 16-4
after August.