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San Francisco pounds Braves

Posted: Thursday, October 03, 2002

ATLANTA -- Barry Bonds didn't have to come up big for the San Francisco Giants to get a jump on the Atlanta Braves.

The rest of the San Francisco hitters knocked around Atlanta's heralded pitching staff while Russ Ortiz threw seven strong innings, carrying the Giants to an 8-5 victory Wednesday in Game 1 of the NL division playoffs.

''Obviously, Barry gets most of the attention, and he deserves the attention,'' Ortiz said. ''But we have a really good ballclub up and down the lineup.''

Down 8-2, Gary Sheffield and Javy Lopez homered in the eighth to get the Braves close. Atlanta had its chance in the ninth, but Robb Nen got Sheffield to ground into a game-ending double play with two runners on for a save.

''It doesn't matter how you get it or the way you get it,'' said J.T. Snow, who got San Francisco off to a quick start with a two-run double in the second off Tom Glavine. ''You've just got to get the win.''

Bonds, an overwhelming favorite for his fifth MVP award, was denied a homer in the eighth when Andruw Jones leaped above the center-field wall to make a catch.

It didn't matter to Bonds, who is more concerned about winning his first World Series ring. He smiled as he walked off the field, glancing back to look at the replay on the video board.

Bonds' teams are 0-for-5 in the postseason, losing twice to the Braves in the early '90s while playing for Pittsburgh. But the wild-card Giants grabbed an early advantage in the best-of-5 series over the East champion Braves, who led the league with 101 wins in claiming their 11th straight division title.

''It helps when you get on top early,'' Snow said. ''We pride ourselves on being able to jump on the other team quickly.''

Bonds, who came in with a .196 postseason average, went 1-for-4 with an intentional walk and a throwing error. His teammates, though, did plenty of damage against Glavine.

The Giants scored three runs in the second inning and three more in the fourth, sparked both times by the bottom of the order.

Snow, Benito Santiago and Rich Aurilia each had two RBIs.

''Obviously, you look at their lineup and you don't want Barry to beat you,'' Glavine said. ''I certainly did a good job of that, but some of the other guys stepped up.''

The Braves rallied in the eighth against Tim Worrell. Sheffield, a close friend of Bonds, hit a solo homer and Lopez added a two-run shot, getting a second chance after Santiago dropped a soft popup near the Braves dugout that should have been the third out.

Santiago, an All-Star catcher, redeemed himself somewhat by leaning into a photographer's box to grab Marcus Giles' popup with a runner on to end the inning.

Game 2 is Thursday night, with Kirk Rueter starting for the Giants against Kevin Millwood.

Glavine was making his 31st postseason start -- and perhaps his last in Atlanta. His contract is up at the end of the season, and the Braves will now have to win at least one game in San Francisco to reach the NL championship series for the 10th time in the last 12 seasons.

Glavine lasted only five innings, leaving for a pinch-hitter after surrendering 10 hits. The Giants followed their scouting reports to a tee, going up the middle or to the opposite field with most of his outside pitches.

''I really don't feel overly disappointed about any pitches I threw,'' Glavine said. ''They seemed to take the approach against me, kind of like the whole league does, to just hit the ball where it was pitched. They just hit it where we didn't have anybody.''

San Francisco even scored against Chris Hammond, only the third reliever since 1900 to post an ERA below 1.00 while pitching at least 70 innings.

Santiago hit a two-out, two-run double off Hammond in the sixth to put the game out of reach -- the first runs allowed by the left-hander since June 30.

''We're swinging the bat really well,'' Santiago said. ''We've been playing some good baseball, regardless of who's pitching.''

Ortiz shut down the Braves in just his second postseason appearance. Atlanta managed one hit off Ortiz after Glavine's two-run single in the second, just five hits in all.

Bonds, who won the NL batting crowd (.370), hit 46 homers and set major league records for walks (198) and on-base percentage (.598) during the regular season, was limited to a meaningless single in the third.

Santiago, batting next in the order, had three hits. And the guys behind him contributed five hits and three RBIs.

No. 8 hitter David Bell had an RBI single in the second and, along with Ortiz, sparked the fourth-inning outburst. They hit back-to-back singles with two outs, and the Giants went on to score three runs for a 6-2 lead.

Glavine brought Atlanta within 3-2, singling past third base in the second. It was the left-hander's first postseason RBIs since the 1996 NL championship series.

Unfortunately for the Braves, Glavine had to return to the mound. The 10 hits matched the most allowed by him in a postseason game.

Glavine dropped to 12-14 in the playoffs, missing a chance to break a deadlock with teammate John Smoltz as the winningest postseason pitcher in baseball history.

Notes: The crowd of 41,903 was about 8,000 short of a sellout. ... Hammond had to leave the game with a strained neck after Santiago's two-run double. The pitcher was apparently hurt making a brilliant play on a slow grounder by Aurilia; the next four San Francisco hitters reached base. ... The Giants scored their most runs in a postseason game since an 11-4 victory over Greg Maddux and the Chicago Cubs in the '89 NLCS. Maddux is scheduled to start Game 3 for the Braves. ... Hammond had an ERA of 0.95 during the regular season. His playoff ERA is 27.00.



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