Giants 6, Reds 1
CINCINNATI (AP)—Dave Miley made the decision without hesitation. Pedro Feliz quickly made him regret it.
Feliz’s two-run homer broke open a scoreless game in the seventh inning, helped left-hander Kirk Rueter (1-3) get out of his rut, and left everyone talking about the pivotal decision to walk Bonds.
“Going into this series, we said he was the guy we were not going to let beat us,” Cincinnati’s first-year manager said. “If another guy beats us, so be it. You don’t know what is going to happen if you allow him to swing the bat, so we didn’t let him.”
Once Miley’s decision played out, the Giants put it away.
Rueter limited the Reds to three hits and no walks in eight innings. He also had an RBI double in the Giants’ four-run eighth, completing his breakthrough performance.
Rueter came in with a 7.06 ERA and no wins in six starts, the worst season-opening slump of his career. He had thrown 118 pitches when he left for a pinch-hitter in the ninth.
“He had us a little out in front with his pitches,” outfielder Ryan Freel said. “I think we fell into his game plan a little bit.”
It was scoreless until the seventh, with Rueter and Cory Lidle (2-2) matching each other in getting quick outs.
“It might have helped me that Lidle was throwing so good, too,” said Rueter, who is 11-1 career against Cincinnati. “I didn’t have time to think. I’d sit down, then have to go right back out there. I stayed in my rhythm.”
Bonds grounded out in his first two at-bats, denied hits by the Reds’ infield shift. When he came to bat with two outs and no one on base in the seventh, shortstop Barry Larkin shifted again.
That’s when the signal for the intentional walk came from the dugout, and Larkin moved back. Bonds, who leads the majors with 25 intentional walks, dropped his head in disappointment and the 34,448 fans booed loudly.
Bonds clapped his hands in celebration after Feliz drove a breaking ball from Lidle over the wall in center for his fourth homer, upsetting the strategy. Miley pointed out that the Giants hitting immediately after Bonds had struggled all season, hitting only .195.
“If we get Pedro out, it’s not a story,” Miley said.
Giants manager Felipe Alou decided before the game to give Feliz a chance to bat behind Bonds. He also gave Feliz some advice.
“I told him most of the guys failed to hit behind Barry because every time they’d walk Barry, they would try to hit the ball out of the park,” Alou said. “I told him to try to hit line drives, and he hit a line drive over the fence.”
Bonds, who missed three games earlier in the week because of a sinus infection, also drew an unintentional walk in the eighth. He leads the majors with 48 walks overall.
Rueter didn’t allow a runner until Brandon Larson doubled with two outs in the fifth. Bonds then threw him out at the plate as he tried to score on Freel’s single to left.
Griffey batted fifth in the Reds’ lineup for the second consecutive game— he hadn’t hit so low in the order since 1990. Griffey was 0-for-4, including a fly out to Bonds on the warning track.
Neither team got a runner through the first four innings, a streak snapped when Larson committed another error at third base.
His wild throw to first on Feliz’s grounder put him on second base with one out in the fifth. Larson has five errors in 11 games since returning from thedisabled list.
Rueter has four career complete games and only one shutout—a one-hitter against the Giants for Montreal in 1995. … The Giants will activate RH Dustin Hermanson off the 15-day DL to start Saturday’s game. Hermanson has been out since April 21 with a strained lower back. RHP David Aardsma was optioned to Triple-A Fresno following Friday’s game. … Larson also struggled defensively last season, committing four errors in 16 gamesbefore he was demoted in April.