SAN FRANCISCO (Ticker) -- Livan Hernandez tries to continue his
postseason mastery for the San Francisco Giants on Sunday night
in Game Four of the National League Championship Series against
the St. Louis Cardinals.
Hernandez (1-0, 3.24 ERA) improved to 6-0 lifetime in the
playoffs after defeating Atlanta in Game Four of the Division
Series. He allowed three runs and eight hits in 8 1/3 innings in
an 8-3 victory that kept the Giants' season alive.
"Well, I think it's, for me, the same as 2000 and '97, because
everything is going perfect right now," Hernandez said. "It's
good for the team, because San Francisco, I think the last time
make the World Series in '89, I think it's good for the
organization, good for all of my teammates and for the fans and
the city. I think it's a perfect idea."
The Cuban righthander is 3-4 lifetime with a 5.50 ERA in 10
starts against the Cardinals. Hernandez faced St. Louis twice
this season and did not register a decision after surrendering
seven runs and 21 hits in 14 2/3 innings.
The Cardinals cut the Giants' lead in the series to 2-1 with a
5-4 victory on Saturday. Eli Marrero's leadoff homer in the
sixth inning was the difference as St. Louis improved to 3-0 on
the road this postseason.
St. Louis took a 2-1 lead in the third inning as Edgar Renteria
had a sacrifice fly and Jim Edmonds plated a run with a
groundout. Mike Matheny and Edmonds each added solo homers to
extend to a 4-1 advantage.
The Giants tied it in the bottom of the fifth in dramatic
fashion. Rich Aurilia led off with a walk, Jeff Kent singled and
Barry Bonds followed with his fourth homer of the postseason.
"They're a good team," Bonds said. "You can't beat them every
game. We played good, they just played better."
After the Cardinals took the lead, their bullpen combined for
four scoreless innings. Closer Jason Isringhausen worked around
a walk in the ninth for his third save of this postseason.
"You go down 3-0, we would be brave and all that stuff out here,
but it would have been really tough," Cardinals manager Tony La
Russa said. "I think we made it a competitive series, but they
are still in charge. So, I mean, we just expect another game
like today. Most of the time when we play the Giants, games are
just like this."
Andy Benes (0-0, 5.79) seeks his second career postseason
victory when he gets the ball for St. Louis. Benes is 1-1 with a
5.96 ERA in five career LCS appearances, including four starts.
Benes started Game Three of the Division Series and lasted 4 2/3
innings and allowed three runs and a pair of hits and did not
figure in the decision in a 6-3 victory. He owns a 14-11
lifetime record with a 4.56 ERA against San Francisco.
"I think the reason they are so good is because they have guys
that get on base," Benes said. "They have a guy at the top of
the lineup in (Kenny) Lofton that's on base and creates a lot of
havoc, just like our leadoff guy does. But then after that, you
go through a whole slew of guys that are good contact hitters.
They make you throw the ball in the strike zone."
The veteran righthander lost to the Giants here on July 24 when
he surrendered a pair of runs and four hits in 4 2/3 innings in
a 4-2 loss. Benes is 0-2 with a 5.79 ERA in a pair of career
starts at Pacific Bell Park.
The Cardinals are in the same position they were in two seasons
ago in the LCS against the New York Mets when they won the third
game on the road after losing the first two at home. St. Louis
proceeded to lose Games Four and Five.