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Giants surge on, stay tied with Cubs for NL wild card
Posted: Saturday September 26, 1998 08:06 PM
DENVER (AP) -- The Giants got hot at the right time and, amazingly, San Francisco is tied for the lead in the NL wild-card race heading into the final day of the regular season.
San Francisco (89-72), which trailed Chicago by five games just nine days earlier, began the day in a three-way tie with the Cubs and Mets for the wild-card lead. New York (88-73) lost 4-0 at Atlanta, falling one game back, but Chicago beat Houston 3-2, setting up a dramatic season finale.
The Giants, who have won nine of 10, haven't had sole possession of the wild-card lead since July 18, when they were a half-game ahead of the Cubs.
"We still need some help from our friends down in Houston," Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "We got some help from the Braves, so tomorrow is the biggest game of the season."
Kirk Rueter (16-9) pitches for San Francisco on Sunday against Jamie Wright (9-14).
Rockies manager Don Baylor said the Giants are playing extremely well despite the pressure.
"They're getting hits when they need to get hits. They're getting pitching when they need to get pitching," he said. "They got hot at the right time. This [Giants] team has a lot of momentum."
"I threw the ball well even though I was in trouble early," Hershiser said. "It wasn't a great game for me but in this ballpark, anytime you can keep your team in the game, it's a good thing."
With the score 1-1, San Francisco broke open the game with a five-run fourth.
Barry Bonds doubled, and Jeff Kent lined a single over the head of second baseman Mike Lansing for a 2-1 lead. J.T. Snow then singled and Kent scored when Walker made a throwing error to third. Charlie Hayes followed with a two-run homer, his 12th of the season. Marvin Benard added an RBI double later in the inning to make it 6-1.
Visibly frustrated after the game, Kile said he wouldn't discuss the Giants' rally.
"It really doesn't matter," he said. "They did what they had to do to win the game and you've got to give them some credit. I try to do the best job I can, and I got beat."
Colorado got a run in the bottom half on a run-scoring double-play grounder by Todd Helton.
Javier homered in the sixth, but Colorado closed to 7-4 in the bottom half on Walker's 23rd homer and Lansing's RBI double, which chased Hershiser.
Javier homered again in the eighth off Jim Stoops, giving him the second multihomer game of his career. He hit two for Oakland against Texas on June 17, 1994.
"The key with me is I never stop working on my hitting," Javier said. "Anytime I hit the ball over the wall, I'm more surprised than anybody."
Kent's RBI double put the Giants ahead in the first, but Lansing's second-inning sacrifice fly tied it.Notes: Kile had won his previous three starts and six of eight decisions dating to August 9. ... Hershiser has made 34 starts for the first time since 1988, when he won the NL Cy Young Award. ... Walker, bothered by pain his in lower back, started for only the third time in 10 games. ... The Giants are 5-6 against Colorado this season, winning the last three. ... Bonds, who needs two steals for his sixth 30-30 season, was thrown out attempting to steal second in the seventh inning. ... With his two RBIs, Kent tied Rogers Hornsby for the most RBIs ever by a Giants second baseman. Hornsby collected 125 RBIs in 1927.
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