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Santiago's two-run homer the difference

5/7/2003

MIAMI (AP) -- Benito Santiago went a month without hitting a home
run. Then he got a fastball from Florida reliever Armando Almanza.

Santiago's two-run homer broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth, and
Barry Bonds also homered as the San Francisco Giants beat the
Florida Marlins 4-2 Tuesday night.

Santiago's fourth homer was his first since April 5.

"I've been a fastball hitter ever since I came to the United
States," the 38-year-old Santiago said. "I think I'm back on
track. I'm making better contact."

Joe Nathan (3-0) pitched two innings to get the victory for the
Giants, who improved their NL-best record to 22-9. Nathan has
pitched 22 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings and hasn't allowed a
run this season.

"I'm not really thinking about the streak," Nathan said. "I'm
just doing what I need to do. I didn't throw too many pitches in my
first inning (the seventh), so when we scored a couple in the
eighth, they let me go back out."

Almanza (3-1) took the loss. Santiago also had a double on a
hot, muggy Miami night.

"Santiago was a big part of our team last year, and I believe
he will be this year, too," Giants manager Felipe Alou said.
"Nathan has been incredible. He's right there with anybody."

San Francisco starter Jason Schmidt struck out eight and allowed
three hits over six innings.

"It took me some time to get loose out there," Schmidt said.
"I wish I could have that first inning back, and that home run I
threw to Pudge (Rodriguez). I hung it."

Florida starter Carl Pavano gave up six hits and struck out four
in 6 1/3 innings.

"It was definitely a battle," Pavano said. "That seventh
inning has been my downfall all year. I'm disappointed I didn't go
deeper in the game and give us more of a chance to win."

Bonds hit his 10th homer in the sixth inning off Pavano, tying
the game at 1-all. The Marlins went ahead 2-1 on a homer by Ivan Rodriguez.

Santiago led off the seventh with a double and went to third on
a single by Edgardo Alfonzo. After Tim Spooneybarger relieved
Pavano, Santiago scored on a single by pinch-hitter Andres Galarraga to tie it at 2-2.

Tim Worrell got his ninth save in 10 chances. He and Felix
Rodriguez will split the closer's role for the Giants after the
team announced earlier Tuesday that Robb Nen would have
season-ending surgery on his right shoulder.

"It's hot, but I feel good," Worrell said. "We did a great
job of shutting down the running game by getting the first guys
out."

The Marlins dropped their fourth straight game.

"We were in the driver's seat," said Florida manager Jeff
Torborg. "We were making pitches until then (Bond's homer).
Pavano's ball came up a little bit."

The Marlins took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Luis
Castillo scored on a sacrifice fly by Mike Lowell.

Game notes
The Marlins' Juan Encarnacion, who missed only his second
game of the season last Sunday because of a right forearm
contusion, was back in right field Tuesday. ... Florida's Alex
Gonzalez was scratched from the lineup because of a right wrist
sprain. X-rays were negative and Gonzalez is day-to-day. Castillo
had a 16-game hit streak stopped ... Bonds is a career 6-for-8 with
three homers off Pavano.