SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The way Randy Winn's season started, any
hit would have been worth celebrating. Getting the winning hit for
the Giants provided an added boost.
Winn blooped a single to shallow right field to score the
winning run after Lance Niekro led off the ninth with a homer to
left, leading San Francisco to a 6-5 victory over the Atlanta
Braves on Sunday.
"It's tough to put into words," said Winn, who went 3-for-5
with a double and two RBI to raise his average to .238 after a
2-for-16 start. "You work hard to help the team win. It's always
encouraging when you get hits, no matter what they look like."
Chipper Jones sprained his right ankle and twisted his right
knee in the eighth inning. The Braves' third baseman charged in on
Mike Matheny's slow roller with two outs, appearing to get his
spikes caught in the soggy field. He grabbed his knee as soon as he
went to the ground and rolled around on the field in pain, staying
down for several minutes before being helped off.
Jones, who will get a couple of days off before being
re-examined Wednesday, said he had a flashback to when he tore a
ligament in his left knee in 1994. He heard a pop in his right knee
Sunday and it hurt for a few minutes before calming down. The ankle
was still in pain later.
"We just have to wait and see how the pain is the next couple
of days," Jones said, wearing a walking air cast on the ankle and
no brace on the knee to leave the stadium. "Right now I feel the
ankle took the brunt of it."
Barry Bonds walked twice, grounded out and struck out looking,
remaining stalled at 708 home runs one week into the season.
After plate umpire Paul Nauert called the slugger out on strikes
in the sixth, Bonds let him know he disagreed. Bonds drew cheers in
the seventh when he made a sprinting catch on a high fly by Chipper
Jones near foul territory in shallow left.
Bonds "tweaked" his troublesome right knee when he jammed his
lead foot into the dirt in his first at-bat -- a walk -- but didn't
think it would slow him down.
"I popped my knee," he said. "It shot through my whole body.
It calmed down through the game. ... I want to stay healthy."
John Smoltz rebounded from a rough first outing against the
Dodgers last Tuesday with seven strong innings, surviving the
Giants' four-run second. He allowed six hits, struck out four and
walked two, but his bullpen couldn't get him a victory.
Bonds drew a five-pitch walk to start the second, then Moises
Alou walked. Niekro lined a single to center to score Bonds, then
Smoltz made a wild pitch and Alou came sliding into home headfirst
for another run. Pedro Feliz followed with a sacrifice fly to right
and Winn hit an RBI double three batters later.
"I couldn't get my feel in the second inning," Smoltz said.
"I felt I lost it and then I got it back. It's related to the cold
weather, and that's all we've had out here."
Renteria singled to left leading off the sixth to extend his
hitting streak to start the season to seven games.
Andruw Jones sent a 3-2 pitch deep into the left-field seats for
his second homer of the season, breaking a tie for third place for
most home runs to begin a career under one manager. Jones has hit
303 under skipper Bobby Cox, passing Jimmie Foxx and Connie Mack
(Philadelphia A's). Mickey Mantle hit 320 under Casey Stengel and
Chipper Jones leads the way with 331 under Cox.
Schmidt who threw 121 pitches in seven innings, struck out four
in a row during one stretch, striking out the side in order in the
fourth. He started the season opener last Monday at San Diego but
picked up the loss in a 6-1 defeat after allowing three home runs
in seven innings.
Schmidt doubled and scored in the second. He struck out 10 to
mark the 24th time he has had 10 or more in his career.
Smoltz, facing one of only five teams he had a losing
record against, needs eight strikeouts to tie Hall of Famer Bob
Feller (2,581) for 23rd place on the all-time list. ... Braves
leadoff hitter Marcus Giles drew his 10th walk of the season after
starting the day with the major league lead. He walked in his final
four plate appearances Saturday. He left Sunday's game in the
seventh with a sore right quadriceps. ... Injured Giants closer
Armando Benitez, nursing a left knee injury, threw on the side for
about 20 minutes and believes his mechanics are coming along well.
Benitez hopes to throw a bullpen Tuesday and live batting practice
sometime next week. ... Schmidt, who broke into the big leagues
with the Braves in 1995, hit his seventh career double for his 53rd
career hit in 12 seasons. ... Andruw Jones took over the National
League lead for RBI with 12. ... Matheny snapped an 0-for-15
streak with his infield single in the eighth.