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Snow's infield single helps Giants stay unbeaten

4/4/2003

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- San Francisco Giants manager Felipe Alou
insisted all spring the defending NL champions could win games with
their legs as often as they do with their customary long drives.

Four games into a so-far unbeaten season, they're winning with
both.

J.T. Snow's infield single off shortstop Royce Clayton's glove
drove in two runs in a go-ahead eighth inning and the Giants
overcame a three-homer inning to beat Milwaukee 7-5 Friday in the
Brewers' home opener.

"You've got to find a way to get it done in the seventh, eighth
or ninth, because that's when most games are decided,'' Snow said.
"We did that today. This is a veteran club and guys don't panic.
We stayed aggressive and got it done.''

Snow drove in four runs and Barry Bonds hit his second homer as
the Giants moved to within two wins of matching their 6-0 start of
last season. The Brewers, who opened 2-9 during a 106-loss season
last year, are still looking for their first win for new manager
Ned Yost.

"It's no fun starting 0-4, but we're not going to roll over and
die,'' Yost said. "We've got 158 games to play.''

Now, the Brewers can't even win their home opener, something
they almost always do. They had won eight of their last nine,
including the first two at Miller Park.

They were in position to win this one, too, leading 5-4 in the
eighth before their bullpen, nearly as wild as starting pitcher
Todd Ritchie was, blew a late lead for the second time this week.
The Brewers couldn't hold a 7-5 lead in their 11-9 opening day loss
in St. Louis.

Jose Cruz Jr. tied it at 5 with a one-out homer in the eighth,
the sixth homer of the game. After Luis Vizcaino (0-1) walked Rich Aurilia, Yost ordered Bonds intentionally walked even though it
moved the potential lead run to second base.

That move proved important after Edgardo Alfonzo walked to load
the bases. Snow worked the count full against reliever Shane Nance,
then hit a liner that a leaping Clayton knocked down. The ball
bounced far enough away that Aurilia scored from third and Bonds
from second.

"I can't tell you what happened. I jumped as high as I could
and it hit me in the palm,'' Clayton said. "I might have jumped
higher than I had to. Just one of those weird things.''

Alou said he has never intentionally walked a batter in that
situation, but said, "I don't have to worry about it because Barry Bonds plays for me.''

"There's no way you're going to let Barry Bonds hit in that
situation,'' Yost said. "We tried to pitch around him all day and
look what he did. We were going to walk him no matter what.''

Jim Brower (1-0), on the roster because of closer Robb Nen's
injury, pitched the seventh for the victory and Felix Rodriguez
followed with a scoreless eighth. Tim Worrell finished for his
third save, with the help of an infield single that wasn't.

With one on and one out, Clayton's grounder hit third base for
an apparent single. But, after the umpires huddled near the
pitcher's mound, they ruled the ball struck his bat twice -- a foul
ball -- and he flied out on the next pitch.

"All of us saw it,'' Alou said. "I saw it, and I'm 67. We
heard it, too. He hit it twice.''

Clayton was hoping the umpires missed it.

"It could have been a good momentum swing but, unfortunately, I
flied out,'' he said.

Giants starter Ryan Jensen, bumped up a day in the rotation when
Alou decided to hold back rookie Kurt Ainsworth until Saturday,
took a 4-2 lead into the sixth but couldn't hold it as Richie
Sexson, Jeffrey Hammonds and Wes Helms homered in a span of four
batters. The three-homer inning matched the Brewers' output in
their first three games.

Before that, Ritchie gave up Bonds' solo homer in the fifth
while walking four, hitting two batters and throwing two wild
pitches, one that allowed Ray Durham to race from first to third
ahead of Aurilia's sacrifice fly in the first.

Ritchie was especially wild in the third, walking Aurilia and
hitting Alfonzo on the left elbow before the first of Snow's
two-run singles.

The Brewers got a run back in the fourth on John Vander Wal's
one-out double and Helms' single. Vander Wal also homered in the
second.

Game notes
Brewers announcer Bob Uecker threw out the ceremonial first
pitch. He will be honored at Cooperstown this summer as the Ford C.
Frick award winner. ... The Miller Park roof was closed on a rainy,
34-degree day. ... The Giants stranded 13 runners. ... The crowd
was announced as 42,570, a sellout, but there were hundreds of
empty seats down both the left and right field lines. ... Brewers
president Ulice Payne, taking part in his first home opener, stood
beside Yost on the baselines and applauded for each player during
the pregame introductions.