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07/29/07 2:55 AM ET
Giants keep rolling with walk-off win
Sweeney, Durham get key hits in ninth-inning rally
By Becky Regan / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- The sold-out crowd came to see Barry Bonds tie Hank Aaron's home run record on Saturday, but instead they were treated to a 4-3 walk-off win courtesy of Ray Durham with Bonds swinging in the on-deck circle. There was only one out when Durham came to bat. Barring a double play, Bonds was guaranteed a turn at the plate, but Durham said he felt it was up to him because he knew Bonds would get walked if first base remained open. Durham's fly ball to right field wasn't a glamorous line drive, but it was a beautiful sight to the Giants, who charged the field as soon as the ball touched the warning track. "You try to do it early, but better late than never," Durham said. Durham was talking about his hit, but he summed up the Giants' last four days perfectly. Their Saturday victory over the Marlins was San Francisco's fourth consecutive win, a streak the Giants haven't produced since May 20-23. That's more than two months since the Giants last won four in a row, so it didn't look promising as they headed into the ninth trailing, 3-2. It all started when Dave Roberts drew a walk with the second-best pinch-hitter of all-time on deck. Mark Sweeney took sole possession of that title Friday, but he looked much more excited Saturday after he knocked an RBI double to right field to tie the game at 3 with no outs. "Throughout the course of a season, you're going to get plenty of chances to succeed and plenty of chances to fail. You try and minimize those times you fail, but it's good to be in those situations and be the hero," Durham said. "I'm glad that I could come through." Fred Lewis then drew a walk and Omar Vizquel sacrificed the runners over into scoring position. The stage was set for Bonds, but Durham ended up taking the spotlight instead and the 43,001 fans didn't seem to mind. In fact it was almost everyone but Bonds on Saturday. Bonds saw plenty of pitches as he was only walked once, and he went 0-for-3. He struck out once and popped out twice. Bonds left two runners on when he popped out to the catcher in the seventh inning, chopping at the first pitch he saw. But Bonds' at-bats against Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis were still the most electrifying moments in the game. "Willis didn't mess around. He went after him. He has tremendous respect for Barry and he wanted to challenge him, and he did all night," manager Bruce Bochy said. When Bonds was up, the D-Train sped his performance up to 95 mph with some wicked curves. Willis wasn't the only Marlins pitcher speeding things up. Former Giants closer Armando Benetiz threw a familiar inning in the eighth to thunderous boos from fans still holding a grudge. Benitez walked Bengie Molina and threw 17 pitches before he collected a double play to get out of the inning. "He wanted to prove he still had an arm, I guess, because I don't remember seeing him throw 98," Vizquel said. Randy Winn put the Giants ahead first when he opened the first inning with a bullet to center field and then came home on a wild throw. The Giants enjoyed the lead for two innings before Matt Cain gave up a two-run homer in the third inning. The spinning slider that Miguel Cabrera launched off Cain was the same pitch that Manny Ramirez took for a ride on June 16, but Cain said he's not going to start avoiding that pitch. By the end of the second inning, Cain's pitch count had already climbed to 50, and he continued to struggle through the third, giving up four hits and three runs. It looked like Cain might not make it through the fourth, but his final innings turned out to be his strongest. He retired 13 of the last 14 batters he faced and left with seven strikeouts in seven innings. "This is an outing I know he can feel good about. He gave the club a chance to win," Bochy said. "He logged some pitches there, but we are trying to do all we can to get him a win, and the team did a great job of coming back here tonight."
Becky Regan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.