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Giles doubles in ninth to lift Pirates

8/3/2002

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Three times Robb Nen was within a strike of
his 300th save, three times he didn't get it. And the San Francisco
Giants got a loss that could haunt them later if they don't make
the postseason.

Brian Giles's two-run double won it in the ninth after San
Francisco closer Robb Nen was within one strike of ending the game
three times, and the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied past the Giants 6-5
Friday night.

The Giants lost their eighth in 11 games and missed a chance to
tie Los Angeles for the NL wild card lead as the Dodgers lost in
Philadelphia 3-1.

"This is tough, real tough,'' manager Dusty Baker said. "Any
time you lose them late ...''

Nen, brought in to preserve a 5-4 lead, quickly retired Pokey
Reese and pinch-hitter Armando Rios, then ran the count to 0-2 on
both Jason Kendall and Jack Wilson, only to have both single into
left field.

"Any time you have him (Wilson) 0-2, and he gets a hit, it's
not good,'' Nen said. "It was a slider that just got too much of
the plate. It wasn't where I wanted it, and I didn't want to face
Giles in that situation.''

For good reason: Giles is 4-for-5 with two homers and five RBIs
against him.

Giles also fell behind in the count 1-2, tomahawked a foul ball
on a pitch he nearly missed, then hit a drive into the left-center
gap that center fielder Kenny Lofton couldn't catch with a
backhanded attempt as both runners scored.

"I got to first and I thought he caught it,'' Giles said. "It
sliced just enough because he can run down anything out there.''

Jeff Kent had put San Francisco ahead with a solo homer in the
seventh and Reggie Sanders hit a three-run shot. Adam Hyzdu hit a
two-run homer and Rob Mackowiak had a solo homer for the Pirates,
who had dropped eight of 11.

Brian Boehringer (4-3) pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the
victory. Nen (4-1) lost for the first time in five decisions and
failed to convert a save for the fourth time in 32 chances. Nen was
trying to become the 16th reliever in major league history with at
least 300 saves.

"I just made some bad pitches,'' Nen said.

Baker elected to pitch to Giles with the light-hitting Mike
Benjamin on deck. Benjamin is hitting .157 and has only one
extra-bas hit since April 19.

"I know Benjamin was on deck, but I didn't want to put the
winning run on second base,'' Baker said.

Barry Bonds, four homers shy of becoming just the fourth to hit
600 homers, returned to the lineup after a night off to rest his
sore hamstring to go 0-for-3 with two walks.

Instead, it was Pittsburgh's star left fielder that had the big
night with a pair of doubles.

"Brian Giles isn't a player quite the stature of Barry Bonds,
but he keeps putting up good numbers every year and you have to
start considering him one of the elite players in the game,''
Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said.

Giles is hitting .301 with 28 homers and 71 RBIs.

Giants starter Livan Hernandez gave up four runs and seven hits,
four for extra bases, in seven innings and left with a 5-4 lead.

Sanders' three-run opposite-field homer to right off Jimmy
Anderson, his 15th of the season, followed shortstop Jack Wilson's
error on Bonds' hard grounder and Benito Santiago's single and put
the Giants up 3-1 in the fourth.

The Pirates went ahead 4-3 by scoring three times in their half
of the fourth, with Hyzdu's two-run shot coming ahead of Kendall's
RBI single.

The Giants tied it in the sixth against reliever Sean Lowe, only
to waste a chance for a bigger inning by running themselves into
two outs on the same play.

With runners on first and third and one out, Rich Aurilia's
run-scoring single to left scored Pedro Feliz with the tying run.
But Aurilia suddenly stopped running between first and second and
was tagged out in a rundown by Wilson, whose quick throw then
caught Kenny Lofton leaning off third base for the third out.

Kent led off the next inning with his 20th homer, a drive to
center on an 0-1 pitch by Lowe.

Game notes
Kent's homer was his 158th with the Giants, moving him past
Jim Ray Hart for ninth place in club history. ... Anderson left
with a 4-3 lead, but did not figure in the decision. ... Kansas
City's Roberto Hernandez got his 300th save earlier this season.
... Pirates 3B Aramis Ramirez was 0-for-15 until he doubled and
singled in his final two at-bats. ... Pirates OF Craig Wilson, who
tied the NL record with seven pinch-hit homers last season, has
none this season and is 1-for-12 as a pinch-hitter. He has six
homers overall, none at home. ... The Pirates assigned Darren Lewis
No. 14, the number worn by the now-retired Derek Bell, before he
retired rather than report to them.