SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Despite a skid that knocked them out of first place, the San Francisco Giants are keeping faith in Pedro Feliz and their shaky bullpen. Every bit of that trust was rewarded in a streak-snapping victory.
Bonds’ 23rd homer of the season staked the Giants to an early lead—and the San Francisco bullpen justified general manager Brian Sabean’s faith by preserving the win and snapping Colorado’s five-game winning streak.
Sabean and manager Felipe Alou held a pregame meeting with the Giants’ beleaguered bullpen, which blew a five-run lead and a potential victory for All-Star Jason Schmidt on Tuesday night. Instead of ripping their relievers, Sabean and Alou both expressed confidence in the group despite its bloated ERA and 16 blown saves.
“It’s nice to hear that the people in charge still approve of us,” closer Matt Herges said. “It’s like hearing from your parents that they love you. It’s a wonderful thing.”
Feliz also recovered from a 5-for-29 stretch that kept him out of the starting lineup in three of the previous five games during the Giants’ homestand. He hit a two-run double in the second inning and an RBI single in the seventh.
“Every time I go in there, it’s trying to prove that I can do it,” Feliz said. “I think I do what I’m supposed to do. Maybe they don’t see it that way. … It’s not going to be up every time. It’s going to be up and down. But that’s (Alou’s) decision.”
Bonds hit the first pitch of the second inning into the stands in right-center, a few feet from the sign keeping numerical track of his homers. He scored three runs, going 2-for-3 with two intentional walks.
Bonds has been intentionally walked 67 times this season—just one shy of his major league record set in 2002.
Kirk Rueter pitched 6 1-3 strong innings to win his third straight decision, keeping the NL West race in a California jumble. San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco all are separated by a half-game.
Rueter (5-6) allowed just three hits in the first six innings, but Alou left the workhorse left-hander on the mound too long. Jeromy Burnitz doubled before catcher Todd Pratt homered on Rueter’s 121st pitch to cut the Giants’ lead to 5-3.
Burnitz, the hero of Colorado’s 8-6 come-from-behind win Tuesday night, had three more hits in the Rockies’ first loss since following a five-game losing streak with five straight wins.
San Francisco avoided being swept at home by the Rockies for the first time in franchise history.
“There was some urgency about this game,” Alou said. “Coming from that disaster (Tuesday night), the guys took it hard. I took it hard myself, because we’re not used to that.”
Adam Bernero (1-1) stepped in for scheduled Colorado starter Joe Kennedy shortly before gametime when Kennedy was scratched with a sore shoulder. Bernero, who spent the entire season on the disabled list until last week, allowed nine hits and four walks in six innings.
“It wasn’t a big deal,” Bernero said. “You study hitters even as a reliever. It’s the same game plan. You just go a little longer.”
Kennedy went on the 15-day disabled list after the game.
The Giants scored three runs in the third, loading the bases when Bernero intentionally walked Bonds with runners on first and second. Feliz followed with a two-run double to the left-field corner, and Pierzynski drove home Bonds.
The Rockies’ bullpen fell 1 1-3 innings shy of the franchise record for consecutive scoreless relief innings when Javier Lopez allowed Feliz’s RBI single in the seventh. Colorado had pitched 15 straight scoreless innings of relief.
“It was a very professional performance (by Bernero),” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “He kept us in the game, but it got away from us in theseventh.”
Bernero is the 403rd pitcher to allow a homer to Bonds. “I didn’t think he’d be hacking the first time he saw me,” Bernero said. … The Giants signed their highest pick in the draft, agreeing to terms with OF Eddy Martinez-Esteve, the 70th overall selection. … Rockies SS Royce Clayton, a .129 career hitter against Rueter, was taken out of the starting lineup. Hispopup as a pinch-hitter in the ninth ended the game.