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Kent continues to excel in No. 3 spot

6/29/2002

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Jeff Kent has no explanations for hitting
streaks -- even his own.

"As a player you don't try to analyze it, you just go with the
flow,'' he said.

Batting third in the lineup for the third straight game, Kent hit a two-run homer and drove in another run as the San Francisco Giants beat the Oakland Athletics 5-3 Saturday.

Over the three games he has hit in front of Barry Bonds, Kent has batted .533, going 8-for-15 with three doubles, two homers and
12 RBI.

"I've only hit there three times,'' he said. "I've hit five years in another place in the lineup and put up numbers there, too.''

Giants manager Dusty Baker flip-flopped Kent and Bonds in the
batting order for the first time this season on Thursday.

The move came in a week where the spotlight was already on Bonds
and Kent. The two got into a dugout scuffle in San Diego on Tuesday, a fracas that was captured by television cameras.

Since then there has been speculation about Kent's future with the team. The 2000 NL MVP said Friday he was intrigued with the idea of becoming a free agent next season, given the Giants' restricted payroll.

Jason Schmidt (4-2) allowed three runs on six hits over seven innings for the Giants, who have won four of their last six games. He struck out nine. Robb Nen pitched the ninth for his 21st save.

The A's slipped to 15-2 in interleague play, with their only losses coming to the Giants. Cory Lidle (2-7) allowed four runs on eight hits over six innings.

There were 53,501 fans at the game between the cross-bay
interleague rivals -- the third-largest baseball crowd in Coliseum
history.

Kent homered off Lidle in the Giants' three-run first inning.
With one out, Rich Aurilia singled and Kent hit his 13th homer of
the season off the scoreboard in left field.

"I wasn't really watching,'' Kent said. "They had to tell me it was a home run.''

Bonds doubled, then scored on Reggie Sanders' single to center.

Miguel Tejada's sacrifice fly to right field scored Mark Ellis
in the fourth inning to put the A's on the board.

Eric Chavez's 20th homer of the season further whittled the
Giants' lead. The two-run shot to right came off Schmidt in the
sixth inning.

A's reliever Chad Bradford kept it close in the seventh, when he
struck out Sanders with the bases loaded and two outs.

Kent added an RBI single off Billy Koch in the ninth inning.

Bonds, who went 1-for-3 and was intentionally walked twice, was back in left field Saturday after a stint as the designated hitter in Friday's 10-6 loss to the A's. Shawon Dunston took on the DH role for the Giants on Saturday.

The A's made four errors for the second straight game.

"We can't seem to make the plays right now,'' Oakland manager Art Howe said. "Up to now the defense has been pretty good, but four errors in back-to-back games is something that concerns me.''

Game notes
Giants first baseman J.T. Snow wasn't in the lineup Saturday after leaving Friday night's game in the sixth inning with a sprained big toe on his left foot. He was listed as day-to-day.
... The A's won two of three at Pacific Bell Park in the season's
first series between the interleague rivals. ... Jermaine Dye made his first appearance in left field since June 19. He was the A's DH while he nursed tightness in his right hamstring. ... Kent has hit
safely in 16 of 17 games.