SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Felipe Alou never set his sights on the
Giants winning the wild card. The manager knew San Francisco would
have to catch the NL West leaders to have a legitimate shot at
playing in October.
On Monday night, Barry Bonds and the Giants were eliminated from
playoff contention -- after just more than a week ago looking as if
they still might make things interesting at the end.Conor Jackson hit a three-run homer and Eric Byrnes also
connected against San Francisco ace Jason Schmidt, leading the
Arizona Diamondbacks past the Giants 7-1.
The Diamondbacks defeated the Giants, but the real story was that they beat the Giants with Jason Schmidt starting for the first time since Sept. 5, 2002. The Giants' 16 straight wins over the Diamondbacks with Schmidt starting was the longest winning streak with a particular starting pitcher against the same division opponent (since 1969, the first year of divisional play).• For more Elias Says, click here
"It's definitely disappointing," Schmidt said. "I don't think
we saw anything coming. We felt we were playing pretty good ball
and making a nice run."The Diamondbacks beat Schmidt (11-9) for the first time in his
17 starts against them since a loss on Sept. 5, 2002. Schmidt had
been 11-0 with a 2.93 ERA against Arizona over that span.Schmidt seemed to headed toward another impressive outing, too.
He retired the first 10 batters before Byrnes tied the game at 1
with his 24th home run of the year in the fourth.Luis Gonzalez and Chad Tracy followed with singles, then Jackson
hit his 14th homer. Miguel Montero, who earlier recorded his first
major league hit, added a two-run single in the ninth and Chris Young also drove in a run in the inning."It feels great to get the first hit," Montero said. "It
feels better that I could get it against Jason Schmidt, a very good
pitcher."Ray Durham homered for the Giants, who lost for the 10th time in
12 games after having played themselves back into the pennant race.
San Francisco endured a demoralizing 1-8 road trip in which it was
outscored 73-51."Even when we were tied or a couple games out of the wild-card
lead, I've been saying it here for six weeks: The wild card is a
mirage. I don't trust that," Alou said.Durham received a standing ovation when he rounded the bases
after his 26th homer. He is one of 11 potential free agents on the
Giants -- and Alou might not return, either.Bonds, beginning what could be his final week in San Francisco
after playing the last 14 of his 21 big league seasons for the
Giants, went 0-for-4 with four flyouts. The 42-year-old slugger has
734 home runs, 21 from tying home run king Hank Aaron's record 755
-- leaving many to believe the Giants will try to keep him at the
conclusion of his five-year, $90 million contract.Edgar Gonzalez (3-3) pitched seven strong innings for Arizona.
He escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fifth in just his fifth start
of the year and first appearance against San Francisco since Sept.
3, 2004.The right-hander, a September callup, gave up five hits and one
run, struck out three and walked three in his second straight win.Schmidt allowed seven hits and four runs in seven innings,
struck out four and didn't walk a batter. Sunday's season finale
against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers is his next scheduled turn if
he makes it. He missed an outing earlier this month with tightness
in his back.Schmidt knows this week will be emotional considering he isn't
expected to be back in 2007 after 5½ seasons in San Francisco."We're all aware of the situation," Schmidt said. "We'll try
to go to the end of the season and see what happens. Right now,
we're all Giants. For my family, it's been kind of emotional. My
wife and kids might not be back here."The Diamondbacks, along with the Seattle Mariners, are
considered the teams most interested in signing Schmidt this
Byrnes established a new career high in RBI with 74,
topping the 73 he had in 2003 with Oakland. ... Schmidt hit a
double in the fifth for his third double of the year and ninth hit
overall. ... The Giants honored Bonds before the first pitch for
his 734th homer, hit Saturday at Milwaukee, that Aaron's NL record.
Bonds came out of the dugout and waved and tipped his hat to the
crowd as the accomplishment was noted on the main center-field
scoreboard. RF Moises Alou also was acknowledged for reaching the
2,000-hit mark. ... Arizona 2B Orlando Hudson is expected to rejoin
the team Tuesday after taking care of family issues.