SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Barry Bonds took most of the day off, so
J.T. Snow replaced him in every way. He drove in all the Giants'
runs, got a clutch hit from the cleanup spot -- and left the park
without a word.
Snow had four RBI and hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the
eighth inning, keeping San Francisco atop the NL wild-card race
with a 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres on Sunday.
Snow also had a run-scoring single and a sacrifice fly to propel
the Giants to their seventh win in eight games. He even made a
nifty unassisted double play in the sixth, snaring Mark Loretta's
liner and rushing back to the bag to double Payton off first.The veteran first baseman then took his Bonds impersonation one
step further, leaving the clubhouse immediately after the game to
be with his family."What he's doing at the plate is not surprising," said Kirk
Rueter, who pitched seven scoreless innings. "J.T. has always been
a good hitter. He doesn't hit 30 homers, but he works the count and
has great at-bats."Two days after slugging his 700th homer, Bonds rested his aching
legs. He appeared only to draw his major league-record 106th
intentional walk as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, then left for a
pinch-runner with the bases loaded.Snow followed with a two-run double to left off Akinori Otsuka
to send San Francisco to its seventh victory in eight games.The Giants took two of three from San Diego but couldn't gain
ground on the division-leading Los Angeles Dodgers, who rallied to
beat Colorado and maintain their 2½-game advantage. San Francisco
stayed a half-game ahead of the Chicago Cubs for the wild card."Coming back and getting a win like that is a big lift," said
Dustin Hermanson (6-6), who got the final four outs for the
victory."Any loss for us the rest of the way is big," he said. "To
lose two out of three at home to San Diego would have been a big
blow to us, so it was important to come back."Bonds was exhausted after hitting homers in the previous two
games, including his 700th on Friday night. He hit No. 701
Saturday, but also struck out twice in a game for just the third
time this season.Rueter yielded five hits and didn't allow a runner to reach
third base in the finale of the NL West rivals' series, but
Terrence Long tied it in the eighth with a two-run, pinch-hit homer
off Dave Burba.The Giants sent eight hitters to the plate in the eighth. Dustan
Mohr started the rally with a leadoff double off Scott Linebrink
(7-3), and Snow finished it with a drive over Xavier Nady's head.Despite Long's dramatic blast and seven excellent innings from
Brian Lawrence on three days' rest, the Padres slipped 6½ games
behind the Dodgers and four behind the Giants with 12 to play."We can't afford to lose a game now," Lawrence said. "We all
know it. Momentum was definitely on our side. To let it get away
after all that in the eighth is really hard."Burba needed just six pitches to waste Rueter's outstanding
work. After Burba walked Ramon Vazquez on four pitches to lead off
the eighth, Long hit his third homer of the season."It went out, surprisingly," Long said. "I've hit some good
balls here, and they don't go out. ... These last 12 (games), we're
going to have to win nine or 10, but anything can happen. It's
happened before."Burba left moments later when he separated his left shoulder
while tumbling to the ground in a race to first base with Payton.
Burba, a right-hander, will be re-evaluated Monday.Lawrence allowed just four hits, but Pedro Feliz doubled and
scored on Snow's first-inning single. Rich Aurilia's error led to
an unearned run in the sixth.Ryan Klesko was scratched from the Padres' lineup shortly before
the game with a stomach virus. Nady replaced him in left field,
going 2-for-4 with a seventh-inning double -- the only extra-base
hit allowed by Rueter.Ray Durham left for a pinch runner in the sixth after a single.
Durham fouled a ball off his shin moments earlier, but he should be
ready to play Tuesday when the Giants face Houston.
Ricky Ledee took Bonds' spot in left field. He went 0-for-3
with two strikeouts, dropping his average in San Francisco to .118.
... Rueter was 0-2 with a 5.95 ERA in four previous starts against
San Diego this season. ... The Giants surpassed 3 million fans for
the fifth straight season.