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Schmidt strikes out 13

5/19/2004

CHICAGO (AP) -- Jason Schmidt's only flaw was his timing.

Schmidt pitched a career-best one-hitter with 13 strikeouts
Tuesday night, beating the Chicago Cubs 1-0 and giving the San
Francisco Giants a much-needed spark. He gave up only Michael
Barrett's infield single in the fifth, then retired his last 13
batters in his sixth career shutout and 14th complete game.

"It was fun to be a part of," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.
"It was awesome. It was one of the best performances I've ever
been a part of."

Too bad for Schmidt it came on the same night Randy Johnson
pitched a perfect game, becoming the oldest pitcher in baseball
history to accomplish the feat.

"That's all right," Schmidt said. "He threw a perfect game.
That's well-deserved. I'm happy for him. That's awesome. I can't
wait to go back and watch the highlights."

Schmidt (3-2) should check out his own, too. Just seven months
after having elbow surgery, the right-hander matched his career
high for strikeouts and dominated a Cubs lineup that was missing
Sammy Sosa. Schmidt never allowed a runner to reach second base and
walked only one while throwing 144 pitches. He even got two hits.

It was his first complete game since June 30, 2003, against St.
Louis, and his first shutout since June 19, 2003, at Los Angeles.
The one-hitter was San Francisco's first since July 29, 1990, when
Scott Garrelts beat the Cincinnati Reds.

"I'll take the shutout and the win any day. I can't argue with
that," Schmidt said. "No-hitters, there's a lot of luck involved.
If I never get one, so be it. I'm not going to lose sleep over
that."

Barry Bonds, back in the lineup after missing a weekend series
against Pittsburgh because of back spasms, scored the only run as
the Giants snapped a four-game losing streak. Pedro Feliz, making
his first start of the year at shortstop in an effort to spark the
offense, hit a two-out single in the fourth for his team-leading
23rd RBI.

It was only the fourth victory in 13 games for the Giants, seven
games behind Los Angeles in the NL West.

"It's just nice to get the win, no matter what," Schmidt said.

Matt Clement (5-3) lost his second straight start for the first
time this season despite allowing only five hits in eight innings --
and only one in his last four innings. He struck out six and walked
two.

But without Sosa, probably headed to the disabled list with a
sprained ligament in his back, the Cubs were no match for Schmidt.

"He just threw an outstanding game," Clement said. "I know I
had no chance of hitting him."

Schmidt retired his first eight batters before Clement reached
on a strikeout-wild pitch. Schmidt set down another three in a row
before walking Moises Alou in the fourth.

With two outs in the fifth, Schmidt thought he got Barrett on a
called strike. But plate umpire Tim McClelland called it a ball,
giving Barrett one more chance.

"I thought it was a strike at the time," Schmidt said. "It
was a close one. It's going to be one of those you think of the
rest of your life."

On the next pitch, Barrett hit a grounder just inside the
third-base line. Edgardo Alfonzo scrambled for the ball, but
Barrett beat his throw to first by a couple of steps.

"It was disappointing, but isn't that the way it always is with
disappointment," Schmidt said. "There's always that one pitch or
one play that everybody says, `What if?"

Schmidt was unhittable the rest of the way, striking out the
side in the eighth. Giants manager Felipe Alou had relievers
warming up in the ninth, but Schmidt finished it.

"Of course the concerns were there," Felipe Alou said. "We
don't want a guy up in a pitch count like that. But he really
didn't have a bad inning. He kept saying he felt good and he kept
getting people out."

And Bonds helped give Schmidt all the offense he needed.

With a gametime temperature of 51 degrees, Felipe Alou made out
four lineup cards, only one of which had Bonds' name on it, and
waited to see how the slugger felt during batting practice.

"The losing streak we were in was the ultimate decision in
playing Bonds tonight," Felipe Alou said.

Bonds didn't disappoint. After San Francisco blew a chance to
score with the bases loaded in the third, Bonds led off the fourth
inning with a seven-pitch walk. He went to second on a groundout
and scored on Feliz's single to center.

"I'll take that help any day," Schmidt said. "We needed a
sparkplug to get things going. Hopefully, this helps."
^Notes:@ Schmidt has struck out 13 four times in his career. ...
Schmidt is 8-5 lifetime against the Cubs, including wins in his
last four decisions. ... San Francisco hasn't lost more than four
in a row since dropping six straight Aug. 12-18, 2003.