SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Kirk Rueter had the worst run support of San Francisco’s starters, so it was reassuring when he looked up after the first inning and saw a rare four-run lead.
“It just relaxes you,” Rueter said of working with a lead. “You can go out and concentrate on your pitches and try to stay out of the big inning and get groundballs.”
Edgardo Alfonzo drove in two runs for the reigning NL West champions, who are hoping to gain ground on first-place Los Angeles during this 10-game homestand, which includes a four-game series against the Dodgers next week.
The Giants have won eight in a row at home—their longest streak since 11 straight victories from July 7-25, 2003.
“We have to win at home,” manager Felipe Alou said. “We were really behind when it came to playing good ball at home.”
Rueter (3-6) didn’t allow an earned run and also drove in a run with a fifth-inning single, his fourth hit of the year and second RBI. Rueter had lost his last two starts, but got off to a strong start in his 14th outing of the season, retiring the first six Blue Jays batters. He allowed six hits, struck out three and walked two in a game that lasted just 2 hours, 11 minutes—San Francisco’s shortest of the year.
Barry Bonds went 2-for-3 with an intentional walk, a groundout, a double in the third and a sixth-inning single. It was his major league-leading 91st walk—49th intentional. He was replaced by Dustan Mohr in left field in the seventh. Bonds has come out of games early on occasion this season to give him some extra rest, especially before a day game. Bonds said he was exhausted when the team returned from its season-long 14-game road trip.
The six-time NL MVP—who has often complained of being bored this season after walks—made things interesting when he was nearly picked off between first and second in the first. After a throw to shortstop Frank Menechino, Bonds scurried back and slid into first to beat Menechino.
Dave Berg had three singles and drove in two runs for the beat-up Blue Jays. Toronto lost outfielder Vernon Wells to the 15-day disabled list before the game with a strained right calf. Toronto, also playing without injured slugger Carlos Delgado, has lost four straight road games and nine of 12 away from the SkyDome.
“When you lose guys like Wells and Delgado, it doesn’t get any easier,” manager Carlos Tosca said. “But other guys have to step up. There’s no excuses.”
Pat Hentgen (2-6) lost his fourth straight decision and hasn’t won since beating the Royals in Kansas City on May 10. His three innings Wednesday matched a season low, which he also did April 13 at Detroit.
The right-hander allowed seven runs and seven hits, walked two and didn’t have a strikeout to fall to 3-9-1 in interleague play.
Marquis Grissom returned after missing three games with a sore left hamstring. He hit an RBI triple in the Giants’ four-run first. Alfonzo added a sacrifice fly and Feliz followed with his 12th homer of the year, hitting a 3-1 pitch from Hentgen to left just inside the foul pole.
“I couldn’t put the ball where I wanted,” Hentgen said. “And if I don’t spot the ball, I’m hammered. It’s pitiful.”
Pierzynski connected in the third for his fifth homer of the year, a shot that landed on the right-field arcade behind the seats. Pierzynski had been 0-for-6 lifetime against Hentgen before the home run. He also had a fifth-inning RBI single.
Pierzynski was pleasantly surprised by his outing.
“If they have a Toronto uniform on, I don’t hit them,” he said. “I was 0-for-Toronto last year.”
Both of the Blue Jays’ runs were unearned. They scored one in the third following second baseman Ray Durham’s throwing error and another in the seventh after shortstop Neifi Perez made a wild throw to first that got past Feliz andskipped up the photographers’ pit.
Pierzynski has a six-game hitting streak. … The Blue Jays are 1-4 against San Francisco dating back to 2002. … Toronto activated 2B Orlando Hudson from the DL to fill Wells’ roster spot. He had been out since May 28 with tightness in his left hamstring. … It was Berg’s first three-hit game of the year. … The game was five minutes longer than the shortest game ever inthis ballpark—a 2:06 affair on Aug. 3, 2000, vs. Pittsburgh.