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Sanders singles home Aurilia to win game

9/7/2002

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Most ballplayers don't listen to the crowd
-- and even if they do, they won't admit it.

Reggie Sanders is different. He heard the Pacific Bell Park fans
chanting "Reg-gie! Reg-gie!'' in the ninth inning, and he returned
the love with a game-ending hit.

Sanders drove home the winning run as the San Francisco Giants
beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 1-0 on Friday night.

"They should do that all the time,'' Sanders said of the
crowd's chant. "Make sure you tell them.''

It was the fifth 1-0 game in the past two seasons between two NL
West rivals who almost expect late-inning drama each time they
meet. Last fall, San Francisco finished two games behind Arizona
atop the division; the Diamondbacks went on to win the World
Series, and the Giants waited for this year.

After starters Kirk Rueter and Miguel Batista dueled through
scoreless innings most of the night, the Giants finally broke
through against Mike Fetters (3-1).

Rich Aurilia led off the ninth with a double to left -- the only
extra-base hit of the game. After Jeff Kent grounded out and Barry
Bonds drew his major league-record 54th intentional walk, Sanders
lined a single to right to beat his former teammates.

"It wasn't much of a hit -- I sort of went with it and blooped
it in there -- but it's all about that heroic stuff that people
love,'' Sanders said.

The Giants met Sanders on the infield for an excited
celebration. San Francisco remained three games behind Los Angeles
in the NL wild-card race, while the Diamondbacks' lead over the
Dodgers in the West dropped to 4½ games.

Giants manager Dusty Baker, who clapped Sanders on the helmet,
won his 824th game with the team, passing Bill Terry for second
place on the franchise list.

Felix Rodriguez (6-6) got one out in the ninth for the victory.

"I'm sure they're very entertaining games for the fans,''
Arizona manager Bob Brenly said. "I know Dusty and I would both
prefer something else. There just weren't many opportunities to
score a run.''

Though San Francisco's offense couldn't get him a victory,
Rueter confounded the Diamondbacks for the fourth time this season.
He threw eight sparkling innings to extend his scoreless streak
against Arizona to 23 innings, and he lowered his ERA to 3.05,
matching Montreal's Tomo Ohka for eighth in the NL.

Rueter allowed a leadoff single to Quinton McCracken before
retiring his next 12 hitters. He pitched out of jams in the seventh
and eighth innings, and he showed uncharacteristic emotion on the
mound before leaving to a standing ovation after allowing three
hits and two walks.

But Rueter was matched for seven innings by Batista, who
recovered from his shortest start of the season with one of his
best. Batista retired 12 of his first 14 hitters, yielding just
four hits and two walks without allowing a runner past second base.

"All I can do is keep pitching good,'' said Batista, who
pitched nine shutout innings at Pac Bell earlier this season.
"I've pitched a lot of innings here, and they haven't scored. I
know my time will come. Things will change. That's all I can do.''

Neither team could get a runner to second base until the sixth,
when Rueter led off with a single and was erased on Kenny Lofton's
grounder. Lofton stole second and Aurilia walked -- but Kent and
Bonds, who were responsible for 190 of the Giants' 646 RBI, both
popped up.

Game notes
Baker is a mere 1,780 victories behind John McGraw for the
franchise lead. ... C Damian Miller and OF Steve Finley were held
out of the Diamondbacks' starting lineup to protect minor injuries
on a cold waterfront night. Both will be available Saturday. ...
J.T. Snow took a nasty slide down the Arizona dugout steps in the
eighth while he was tracking a pop foul by Jay Bell. Snow wasn't
hurt.