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|Giants edge Braves in Game 5
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10/08/2002 00:27 am ET
Giants edge Braves in Game 5
Bonds homers, leads team into NLCS vs. Cardinals
By Josh Rawitch / MLB.com
ATLANTA -- Five times in his career Barry Bonds had come face to face with postseason elimination, and five times he had come up empty. With two hits and no runs batted in over 16 at-bats during those games, Bonds had become known as a player who could not perform under playoff pressure.
So much for history.
Bonds homered and scored twice Monday, Russ Ortiz pitched another solid game, and the Giants stared down a ninth-inning Braves rally to become the first team in National League Division Series history to wipe out a two-games-to-one deficit, upsetting the Braves 3-1 in Game 5 at Turner Field to advance to the NL Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
"Right now I'm just a little bit shocked because I've never been past the first round," said Bonds. "I don't know how to respond right now. I don't know [whether] to be happy or to just sit here."
Ortiz (2-0) followed up his gutsy Game 1 performance with yet another solid outing, holding the Braves to four hits and one run over 5 1/3 innings while earning a victory for the eighth consecutive start.
"I felt real relaxed, kind of like I did the first game so I felt like I was going to be able to go out there and hit my spots and I did for basically the first five innings," said Ortiz. "You just can't say enough about this team. A lot of people counted us out but we never did and we ... took care of what we needed to do and we got the job done."
Bonds, who had never before won a postseason series and entered Monday's game with a .198 career average in the playoffs, singled off Kevin Millwood in the second inning and reached second base on a groundout by Benito Santiago. Two batters later, Reggie Sanders ripped a base hit up the middle off Millwood to give the Giants a 1-0 lead.
Millwood (1-1), who was starting on three-days' rest, made few mistakes while striking out seven batters in five innings. But one of his biggest was a full-count fastball over the plate that Bonds crushed in the fourth inning, sending the ball deep into the left-center-field pavilion for his third homer of the series, the most by a Giant in a postseason set since Jeffrey Leonard went deep four times in the 1987 NLCS.
"I'll take a big hit for this [but] we're not playing for Barry," said second baseman Jeff Kent. "I'm sorry. This is a whole team effort. There's a lot of guys in here that did a lot of good things for this series. Barry contributed, you bet. But our pitching staff did a phenomenal job."
Atlanta did its part to try to minimize Bonds' production throughout the series, retiring Jeff Kent for the last out of an inning seven times in five games, forcing Bonds to lead off the next frame on each occasion. He had hit two meaningless homers in the first four games, but came through in the clutch in Game 5, finishing the series with a .294 average (5-for-17) and four RBIs.
Against Ortiz, the Braves certainly had their chances. In the fifth inning, a one-out error by David Bell and two-out walk to Julio Franco put runners on first and second for Gary Sheffield. A wild pitch allowed both runners to advance and Sheffield walked to load the bases. But after a conference on the mound with pitching coach Dave Righetti, Ortiz got Chipper Jones to ground sharply to shortstop Rich Aurilia, who made a nice play on a bad hop to get the force out at second.
"It hit something right before the base and it took a bad hop on me," said Aurilia. "I don't know how it ended up in my glove. I just stuck my glove out and it ended up in there."
Ortiz was not as lucky in the sixth. Andruw Jones led off with a single and after Javy Lopez struck out, Vinny Castilla singled to put runners on first and second. Giants manager Dusty Baker turned to Aaron Fultz, who allowed a single to pinch-hitter Mark DeRosa, cutting the Giants lead in half.
But Felix Rodriguez got the final two outs of the inning before the Giants loaded the bases with nobody out against All-Star left-hander, and former Giant, Mike Remlinger. Darren Holmes took over and allowed just a sacrifice fly to Kenny Lofton for a key insurance run, but that was enough breathing room.
Tim Worrell pitched just his second two-inning stint of the year, blanking the Braves in the seventh and eighth, before Robb Nen closed things out to earn his second save of the series.
That save wasn't exactly easy, however. Jeff Kent made a nice pickup of Rafael Furcal's leadoff grounder but threw wide of first base, causing J.T. Snow to come off the bag. Franco followed with a base hit to right, advancing Furcal to third. Sheffield, the potential winning run, struck out swinging at a Nen blazer before Chipper Jones bounced to Snow, who stepped on first base and caught Franco in a rundown between first and second. Snow tossed to Aurilia, Aurilia applied the tag and the Giants began celebrating.
"I think everybody kind of wrote us off but we just went out and battled and played hard," said Nen. "We stayed positive in the clubhouse and always think we can do what we want to do. This is what we're here to do. We've still got a long way to go, but [we'll] enjoy this, and after tonight look forward to the Cardinals.
As it had all season, the Giants bullpen came through when it had to, showing why it posted the second-best ERA in the NL behind Atlanta. St. Louis finished third in that category and that's exactly where the Giants are headed, as they open up the NLCS at Busch Stadium Wednesday, the team's first appearance in the series since 1989.
Catcher Benito Santiago, who predicted before the regular season ended that his team would not only make the playoffs but upset the Braves, made another prediction during the postgame celebration.
"We're going to win," he said. "I know that I've got to respect [the Cardinals] but this was a hard team to beat. The way we played yesterday and it carried over until tonight, that's great. I think we're going to beat those guys."
Josh Rawitch is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at email@example.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
|San Francisco Giants 3, Atlanta Braves 1|
|San Francisco|| AB|| R|| H|| RBI|| BB||SO||LOB||AVG|
a-Batted for Rodriguez in the 7th. b-Struck out for Dunston in the 7th. c-Walked for Worrell in the 9th.
2B: Lofton (1, Millwood), Snow (2, Remlinger).
HR: Bonds (3, 4th inning off Millwood, 0 on, 0 out).
RBI: Sanders (1), Bonds (4), Lofton (2).
2-out RBI: Sanders.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Bell, Kent, Aurilia, Lofton.
Team LOB: 7.
CS: Bonds (1, 2nd base by Smoltz/Blanco).
E: Bell (1, throw), Kent (1, throw).
|Atlanta|| AB|| R|| H|| RBI|| BB||SO||LOB||AVG|
|Franco, J, 1B
|Jones, C, LF
|Jones, A, CF
|Lopez, J, C
|d-Franco, M, PH
a-Reached on error for Millwood in the 5th. b-Singled for Lockhart in the 6th. c-Batted for Hammond in the 6th. d-Flied out for Giles in the 6th.
RBI: DeRosa (3).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Jones, A, Castilla, Jones, C 2, Furcal, Lopez, J.
GIDP: Jones, C.
Team LOB: 12.
SB: Furcal (1, 2nd base off Nen/Santiago).
|San Francisco|| IP|| H|| R|| ER|| BB||SO||HR||ERA|
|Ortiz (W, 2-0)
|Rodriguez (H, 1)
|Worrell (H, 1)
|Nen (S, 2)
Remlinger pitched to 3 batters in the 7th.
Fultz pitched to 1 batter in the 6th.
WP: Ortiz, Millwood.
Pitches-strikes: Ortiz 95-58, Fultz 4-3, Rodriguez 6-3, Worrell 33-21, Nen 18-14, Millwood 79-52, Hammond 19-12, Remlinger 16-6, Holmes 13-9, Smoltz 34-19.
Ground outs-fly outs: Ortiz 4-7, Fultz 0-0, Rodriguez 0-2, Worrell 2-1, Nen 2-0, Millwood 4-4, Hammond 0-2, Remlinger 0-0, Holmes 0-1, Smoltz 1-1.
Batters faced: Ortiz 25, Fultz 1, Rodriguez 2, Worrell 8, Nen 4, Millwood 19, Hammond 4, Remlinger 3, Holmes 3, Smoltz 8.
Inherited runners-scored: Fultz 2-1, Rodriguez 2-0, Holmes 3-1.
Umpires: HP: Jerry Layne. 1B: Tim Tschida. 2B: Ted Barrett. 3B: Mike Reilly. LF: Paul Emmel. RF: Angel Hernandez.
Weather: 68 degrees, partly cloudy.
Wind: 14 mph, In from LF.
Box score official statistics approved by Major League Baseball and the Office of the Commissioner