Giants 5, Expos 4

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—The San Francisco Giants’ sixth straight win might have come at a price after ace Jason Schmidt left in the ninth with an injured right groin.

Schmidt’s status for his next start was unclear and the team said he would be re-evaluated Wednesday.

“I have no idea, we’ll see,” Schmidt said when asked if he expected to miss a turn.

J.T. Snow singled in the winning run with one out in the ninth to lead the Giants over the Montreal Expos 5-4 on Tuesday night.

Barry Bonds homered twice and Schmidt pitched eight strong innings, but his bullpen blew his chance to become the majors’ first 16-game winner. The Giants maintained their lead in the NL wild-card race.

Snow singled to right off Luis Ayala (4-9) and right fielder Juan Rivera tried to throw out pinch-runner Ricky Ledee at the plate, but the ball sailed into the stands behind home plate.

Snow extended his season-high hitting streak to 11 games, the club’s longest this year, with a fourth-inning single. He also singled in the fifth and is batting .513 (20-for-39) during the stretch.

He can’t explain his recent success.

“There’s no magical answer,” he said. “I’m seeing the ball pretty well at the plate.”

Kirk Rueter, Monday’s starting pitcher, hit a pinch-hit bunt single in the ninth—his second career pinch-hit appearance—then Ledee ran for him. The last Giants pitcher to record a pinch hit was Allen Watson on June 18, 1996, against Florida.

“Once I didn’t see a throw, I knew something happened,” Rueter said of the bunt between the mound and the first-base line. “My main job was just to get it down.”

Dustin Hermanson (5-5) blew his first save in five chances, but earned the win. He came on in relief of Scott Eyre with one out in the top of the ninth.

Eyre was called in to relieve Schmidt, who left after coming out to start the ninth and throwing a couple warmup pitches.

He hurt his groin when he hustled to cover first base on an inning-ending double play in the eighth.

“You always want to go back out,” Schmidt said. “I knew when I warmed up. You’re always concerned. I’ll take it day to day.”

Eyre walked pinch-hitter Rivera, then got Nick Johnson to ground into a fielder’s choice. Hermanson entered and gave up an RBI double to Alex Gonzalez. Pinch-hitter Tony Batista then singled for the tying run.

Schmidt allowed two runs—one earned—on four hits in eight innings, struck out seven and walked two.

He was at the mound to start the ninth, but then trainer Stan Conte, pitching coach Dave Righetti and manager Felipe Alou came out to check on him and he left the game after 115 pitches.

Bonds hit a solo homer leading off the second and a two-run shot in the fourth, giving the 40-year-old slugger 33 homers this season and 691 for his career. It was his third multihomer game of the year and 67th of his career, tying him with Mark McGwire for second on the career list behind Babe Ruth (72).

Sun-Woo Kim became the 408th pitcher to allow a homer to Bonds, who ranks third on the career homers list behind Ruth (714) and Hank Aaron (755).

After allowing back-to-back one-out singles to Gonzalez and Brian Schneider in the second, Schmidt retired 13 of the next 15, including 11 straight during one stretch.

Snow walked in the seventh and went to third on a two-base error by pitcher Joey Eischen when he overthrew first base on a pickoff attempt. Snow then scored on Edgardo Alfonzo’s sacrifice fly to right, sliding headfirst into the bag.

But he was originally called out by plate umpire Jerry Crawford on a throw home from right fielder Terrmel Sledge to catcher Schneider—even though Schneider didn’t have the ball. It was on the ground near the third-base line.

Snow slammed his batting helmet to the ground in anger and was immediately issued an equipment fine. Bonds argued and Alou sprinted out to holler at Crawford. Then, the play was overturned and the run counted.

That prompted Expos manager Frank Robinson to come out for an explanation and Crawford ordered Montreal’s players back on the field since they’d gone into the dugout thinking it was the third out.

Montreal lost its third straight following a seven-game winning streak.

“Comebacks are fine, but then to go out and give it away it doesn’t mean anything,” Robinson said.

The Expos took a 1-0 lead in the first with an unearned run.

Kim allowed three earned runs and six hits in six innings, struck out one and walked three.


Snow stole his fourth base of the year in the fifth. … Robinson remained five wins shy of reaching 900 career managerial victories. … Alou is hoping for at least 70 pitches from Wayne Franklin in his start in the second game of Wednesday’s doubleheader. Franklin will be activated from the disabled list before the game. He’s been on the DL since July 29 with a lower back strain.

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