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08/26/07 9:27 PM ET
Rodriguez, Aurilia lead Giants to sweep
Catcher's first homer ties game, infielder's bloop wins it
By Becky Regan / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Guillermo Rodriguez usually prays before every game, but Sunday, he muttered an extra prayer asking for his first Major League home run. His prayer was answered in the seventh inning, and the answer delivered a 5-4 come-from-behind win over the Brewers. It's been a long road for Rodriguez that was paved with 12 years in the Minors, followed by a steady climb of improvement that he's made since joining the Giants in June. Through it all, Rodriguez has imagined what it would feel like to hit his first Major League home run, and when he finally launched one into the left-field bleachers to tie the game at 4 on Sunday, it felt better than he imagined. "I always pray, pray to have a good game," Rodriguez said. "That was a special prayer today and I got the home run. He answered my prayer in that way. That's why I was so excited, and I talked to Bengie [Molina] about it and I almost cried." Before Rodriguez came up in the seventh inning, Ryan Klesko pulled him aside and told him to look for his pitch early in the count. "Actually, I was thinking about taking the first pitch, but that first pitch was my pitch," Rodriguez said. It was a cutter that Rodriguez sent flying. He pointed to the sky as he rounded first, and the momentum had shifted in the Giants' favor. The Giants' hits started falling, but it turned out to be an unimpressive-looking popup in the eighth inning that made the difference. With Pedro Feliz dancing on first, Rich Aurilia popped a ball high that dropped just inside the right-field line. "That's a tough area there, especially in day games," manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's a good place to put the ball if you're able to. It's no-man's land. It blows back." With two outs, Feliz was already well on his way, and when third-base coach Tim Flannery waved him home, there was no doubt the play at the plate would be close. Feliz probably would have been out if it weren't for two things: Right fielder Corey Hart didn't field the ball cleanly, and his throw was off-line, allowing Feliz to sneak past for the go-ahead run. "The only thing I can say about that is there are certain things in this game that you cannot control," Brewers reliever Scott Linebrink said. "I wouldn't take back a single pitch I threw out there. You hate to tip your cap any time, but I felt like I had no control over that inning." Aurilia and the Giants caught a break because their three-error defense wasn't at its best and neither was starter Tim Lincecum. Lincecum wasn't bad by any means, but the Giants rarely see anything but excellence from him. The three-run homer that Ryan Braun took off him in the third inning was a heavy blow, but Lincecum regrouped and threw three more shutout innings. The Giants have won eight of Lincecum's last 12 starts. The bullpen pitched flawlessly, though, and Brad Hennessey collected his 11th consecutive save to tie for the second-longest active streak in the National League. "It's a fine line between winning and losing and we've had a lot of breaks go against us, but this one went for us," Bochy said. Ray Durham tested out his recently strained hamstring when he came in to pinch-hit in the sixth inning and ripped a double down the left-field line. Not taking any chances, Durham was pulled for Noah Lowry as soon as he reached second, but his effort was rewarded when Randy Winn smacked a follow-up double to bring Lowry home.
Becky Regan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.