Giants 6, Athletics 0

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Jerome Williams joined the San Francisco Giants six weeks ago as a stopgap starter. The 21-year-old with phenomenal control looks more like a permanent big leaguer with every pitch.

Williams threw a seven-hitter for his first major league shutout, and Barry Bonds hit his 634th career homer as the Giants beat the Oakland Athletics 6-0 Friday night.

Williams allowed just one runner to reach second base and needed just 96 pitches—73 strikes—in an incredible exhibition of pitch placement. In the final three innings, 28 of Williams’ 31 pitches were strikes, and he didn’t throw a ball in the ninth.

“He came here as an emergency guy,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said. “He’s not an emergency any more. … Ever since he got here, we’ve been talking about his ability to throw strikes. He put it right where Benito (Santiago) gave him the target. You don’t see too many young guys controlling the fastball like he does.”

Williams retired the side in order in the ninth, punching his fist into his glove and taking a long look at his standing ovation after striking out Ramon Hernandez to end it. During an interview a few minutes later, he got a shaving-cream pie in the face from his teammates—a sure sign Williams (2-1) has arrived.

Williams was the first Giants rookie to pitch a shutout since Mike Remlinger did it in 1991. He was the youngest Giants pitcher with a shutout since Pete Falcone in 1975—and this wild ride is just starting to sink in.

“It’s crazy,” Williams said. “At the start of this year, I thought I’d get a September callup. Now I’m up, and I just pitched a complete-game shutout.”

Williams considered that thought for a moment. It made him chuckle.

“I feel comfortable, and I’m pitching very well,” he said. “If I keep going, I’ll probably be staying here.”

Pedro Feliz had a homer and a two-run single, and Jose Cruz Jr. homered and made another unbelievable catch as the Giants evened the Bay Bridge Series at two games apiece. Oakland won two of three at the Coliseum last weekend.

After getting 21 runs and 31 hits in their previous two games against Texas, the A’s were baffled by Williams for the second time in seven days. Last Saturday, Williams pitched into the seventh inning while picking up his first major league victory in Oakland.

“That’s impressive for anyone, regardless if you’re 21 or 41,” A’s manager Ken Macha said. “(Throwing) 75 percent strikes is amazing. He got ahead of us and did a great job. They also made great plays in the field, and consequently, we ended up with nothing.”

Bonds led off the sixth inning with his 21st homer of the season, putting Ted Lilly’s pitch into McCovey Cove beyond the right-field arcade. It was the first homer in a week for the defending NL batting champion and MVP, who went 1-for-8 in San Francisco’s series against Los Angeles earlier in the week.

Lilly (5-6), who got a win over the Giants last Sunday despite pitching poorly, couldn’t shut down San Francisco for the second straight start. After retiring the Giants’ first seven hitters, he allowed Cruz’s solo homer to left in the third.

“They’re aggressive, and they swing the bat with a lot of confidence,” said Lilly, who’s 2-4 over his last seven starts. “Eventually I’ll get back on track. I’m getting tired of trying to fight through a game.”

Lilly allowed seven hits and three walks while striking out six.

Shortly after Lilly was called for a questionable balk in the third inning, Feliz got his two-run single. Before the game, Alou benched struggling Edgardo Alfonzo in favor of Feliz, who hit three homers in the final two games of last weekend’s series in Oakland.

Feliz added a solo homer in the eighth.

Oakland’s Scott Hatteberg grounded into two double plays and also got picked off first base on another double play. In the third, Cruz made a spectacular running catch in right field on Miguel Tejada’s liner—and then made a perfect throw to double up Hatteberg.

Last Monday, Cruz made a gorgeous diving catch that stopped a ninth-inningrally by the Dodgers.

Notes

Bonds’ homer was estimated at 442 feet. … While Lilly was pitching for the Yankees last season, Bonds hit a homer that landed halfway up the upper deck in right field at Yankee Stadium. It’s considered one of the most impressive homers ever hit in The Bronx. … A’s OF Jermaine Dye probably will miss the series after having a cortisone shot in his troublesome right knee. Dye is hitting just .185. … Giants LHP Damian Moss won’t make his next scheduled start, instead pitching out of the bullpen for a week. Moss (7-6) has struggled since starting the season 5-0. … Attendance was 42,604—thethird-largest crowd in Pac Bell history.

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