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Bonds reaches 700, Giants win09/18/2004 12:50 AM ET
By Rich Draper / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- With Barry Bonds' historic 700th homer and the subsequent fireworks and hoopla still etched in their minds on Sept. 17 at SBC Park, Giants fans still had a moment of appreciation for a job well done by another San Franciscan -- rookie hurler Noah Lowry. When the 23-year-old left-hander left the game with two out in the seventh inning, he was given a nice ovation, and while the youngster's effort paled in comparison to the display of affection and excitement of watching history happen with Bonds' earlier blast to left field, they knew it mattered as well. Lowry rung up a little legacy of his own in the Giants' 4-1 victory over the San Diego Padres, allowing five hits in 6 2/3 innings and becoming the first San Francisco hurler to win his first five Major League decisions, one ahead of Juan Marichal, who was 4-0 in 1960. Amazing. Lowry has pitched in 17 games for the Giants -- 11 starts -- and has yet to taste defeat. Even more important, the Giants have now won six straight games and 10 of their last 12, staying in front of the Chicago Cubs by a half-game in the National League Wild Card chase and staying 2 1/2 games behind NL West leader Los Angeles. Lowry has helped his club maintain momentum down the stretch, and while he savored his victory with a self-effacing, adult approach, he felt like a kid watching Bonds join the 700 homer club. "For me personally it's an honor to be here and watch it happen," said the rookie. "And [being 5-0] is something I couldn't have done without all these guys. You look at tonight, they came out and swung the bat [nine hits] and played tremendous defense. For a starting pitcher, what more can you ask for?" Lowry allowed a walk to Ryan Klesko in the seventh and former Giant Rich Aurilia doubled to right-center to spoil the left-hander's shutout bid, but what buoyed his spirit early was watching the Giants go to work against Padres starter Jake Peavy at the onset. Peavy has been ruthless against the Giants this season with a 2-0 record and a 1.03 ERA over four contests, but he was off in the opening frame. Ray Durham led off with a double, Michael Tucker singled and Bonds was hit in the back to load the bases. J.T. Snow was also plunked to score Durham, A.J. Pierzynski drove in Tucker with a single and Marquis Grissom's sacrifice fly to center scored Bonds. "Great defense all day was the key to this game," said Lowry. "We got on the board early and from then on out, we kept the momentum on our side the whole game. I say it every start, but A.J. called another great game, kept the hitters off balance, came in when we had to. We were on the same page all game."
Conversely, Pierzynski praised the rookie for his poise and maturity."Any time we can get a guy to go six or seven innings and give our bullpen a break, we like our chances," said the catcher, who also loved the relieving work of veteran Dave Burba and Dustin Hermanson, who held the Padres scoreless over the final 2 1/2 innings, with Hermanson earning his 14th save. Burba, a 15-year veteran who has seen his share of historic moments, said it was a thrill watching Bonds hit No. 700 but also felt a bit uneasy as he entered the seventh with a run in and two out. "I was very nervous myself," said Burba. "First of all, big game and the fact that Noah pitched a heckuva game and adding the fact Barry hit his 700th homer -- that's part of history and you want to be a part of that. You don't want to be the reason we lost. I was nervous, but I got the job done and gave the team an opportunity to win the ballgame." Hermanson has been the bullpen anchor, being unscored upon in 18 of his 21 relief appearances and also is the first San Francisco pitcher to post at least 10 saves and make 10 starts in the same season since Scott Garrelts in 1986. "Unbelievable game to watch and with Barry hitting his 700th it's definitely a good cap to be able to get a win out of this," he said. "That's what Barry's playing for now. That's what he said in Milwaukee -- we're not playing for 700 home runs, we're playing to win."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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