SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Another sellout crowd packed Pacific Bell Park expecting to see Barry Bonds' next big hit.
Instead, they saw a game decided by two little ones.Jeff Kent slid home with the winning run on Benito Santiago's infield single in the 10th inning as the San Francisco Giants beat the Chicago Cubs 4-3 Wednesday night for their fourth straight victory.One night after hitting his 599th homer, Bonds went 1-for-3 with a double and an eighth-inning walk. He had homered in three straight games in his bid to join Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays with 600 homers. Bonds' best chance came on a fly ball that was caught on the
left-field warning track in the first inning. All night, cheers and
camera flashes accompanied his every move, but he was out of the
game by the time Tom Goodwin and Santiago tapped two infield
singles to beat Cubs closer Antonio Alfonseca (1-3)."Alfonseca's ball sinks a lot, so you hit a lot of balls like
that off him,'' said Goodwin, who replaced Bonds as a pinch-runner
in the eighth. "You don't make much contact off him, and that's
why he's one of the premier relievers. I didn't take a good look at
my hit. I just took off and hoped it had a chance.''Giants manager Dusty Baker will consult with Bonds and trainer Stan Conte on Thursday morning before deciding whether to give Bonds the day off. Bonds, who can barely run because of a torn hamstring, often rests when the Giants play a day game following a night game."It's risky, with bad wheels and fatigue,'' Baker said. "It's an easier decision when we win the game. We have to take a look at the big picture. We've still got 40 or 50 more games.''
The Giants' bullpen wasted an excellent start from Russ Ortiz,
who threw seven shutout innings of two-hit ball and left with a 3-0
lead. Fred McGriff hit a two-run double in the eighth, and Robb Nen
blew the save in the ninth on Bill Mueller's RBI triple.In the 10th, the Cubs lost in heartbreaking fashion. Kent, who
also hit an early two-run homer and took over the NL lead with 143
hits, singled and advanced to third on a wild pitch and Goodwin's
weak dribbler.Santiago then topped another ball into the infield grass.
Alfonseca couldn't get it home in time to beat Kent, who slid in
headfirst."When the ball chopped in front like that, I knew I had to make
a great play to get him out, and I couldn't do it,'' Alfonseca said
in the Cubs' clubhouse. "It was a chopped ball. I couldn't do
anything.''Nen (5-1) pitched a scoreless 10th after blowing his fifth save
of the season.Ortiz, a 17-game winner last season who has struggled with
spotty control and poor run support this summer, struck out seven
and retired 12 straight batters at one point before pitching out of
a bases-loaded jam in the seventh.But McGriff drove in two runs against Tim Worrell in the eighth,
and Nen blew it one night after recording his 300th career save.The Cubs tied it when Mueller tripled off the right-field wall, scoring Alex Gonzalez from first. The hit eluded Shawon Dunston, ostensibly a late-inning defensive replacement who ended up sprawled on the warning track after an awkward attempt to catch a catchable ball.The Giants, who have won all seven of their extra-inning games
this season, remained a half-game ahead of Los Angeles for the wild
card. The Dodgers beat Pittsburgh 4-0.Cubs starter Kerry Wood allowed six hits and three runs in six
innings. Wood got seven strikeouts and kept Bonds in the park, but
he made one bad pitch to Kent, who turned on a fastball in the
fifth and drove it into the left-field stands for his 22nd homer.Bonds has never homered against Wood, who threw his batting
helmet in frustration after Cubs manager Bruce Kimm pulled him for
a pinch-hitter in the seventh."I thought I threw the ball all right,'' Wood said. "I was just upset coming out after six (innings) and throwing only 92 pitches. I got (Bonds), but I can't get Jeff Kent out, so it doesn't matter.''After a difficult start to the game, Ortiz got rolling in the third. He struck out five straight batters over the fourth and fifth innings, retiring 12 straight before Corey Patterson's one-out single in the seventh.
Jon Lieber, a 20-game winner for the Cubs last season, will
have reconstructive elbow surgery on Thursday that will keep him
out of baseball for a year. ... The Giants honored Nen in a pregame
ceremony. At 32, Nen is the youngest of the 16 relievers to record
300 saves. ... Wood struck out Reggie Sanders twice. Sanders is
0-for-11 with eight strikeouts in his career against Wood. ...
David Bell had an RBI double in the second. ... Dunston was booed
loudly when he came to bat in the ninth.