SAN FRANCISCO (Ticker) -- He is a lot bigger than he was in
1997, and Eric Gregg wasn't behind the plate, but Livan
Hernandez was every bit as effective against the Atlanta Braves
as he was five years ago.
Hernandez remained unbeaten in the postseason with 8 1/3 quality
innings and Rich Aurilia homered and drove in four runs as the
San Francisco Giants forced a decisive Game Five in their
National League Division Series with an 8-3 triumph over the
Hernandez (1-0) ran his career postseason record to 6-0. After
holding the Braves hitless through four innings, he yielded
three runs and eight hits, walking two and striking out six.
While with the Florida Marlins in 1997, Hernandez was named Most
Valuable Player of the NL Championship Series against Atlanta.
In that series, he took advantage of a generous strike zone to
beat the Braves twice, allowing a run and five hits in 10 2/3
Five years later, with nowhere near the same fastball, Hernandez
made all the key pitches. Staked to an early 8-0 lead, he gave
San Francisco innings and never let Atlanta back in the game.
"He knows we needed it and he enhanced his reputation as a
big-game pitcher," Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "He was
sharp, really sharp, and it really helped, the fact that we got
some runs early. He was just on his game and you could tell he
"When I go out there, I try 100 percent to relax, focus on the
game," Hernandez said of his postseason success. "Because the
mistakes in these games are more important, the pitches you
throw are important."
The Braves were quick to credit to the Cuban righthander.
"He was very similar to 1997 tonight," said Atlanta right
fielder Gary Sheffield, who was Hernandez's teammate with the
Marlins. "He rises to the occasion when he gets behind in the
count and he starts making his pitching count."
"Livan is hard to hit, Braves manager Bobby Cox added. "He's
got so many different angles to come at you, he can hit the
black from the outside. He's sneaky quick. He's got the slow
breaking ball, the quick one and he's a great athlete. He can
field his position and do a lot of things. He's a tough guy and
he was on tonight."
While Hernandez was adding to his stellar postseason resume,
Braves starter Tom Glavine had yet another rough playoff outing.
Glavine (0-2), who was pounded in Game One, came back on three
days' rest and was hammered again, allowing seven runs and seven
hits in 2 2/3 innings.
The veteran lefthander struggled with his control, walking five
and allowing a three-run homer to Aurilia in the third. Despite
his team's 20-7 record in Division Series play, Glavine is just
3-3 with a 5.15 ERA in nine starts.
"It was a combination of bad pitches and bad luck," Glavine
said. "I felt good, but I'm not executing. ... It is tough to
argue the results, I just feel badly about (the series) going
The teams head back to Atlanta for Game Five on Monday. The
Braves will send Game Two winner Kevin Millwood to the mound
while the Giants counter with Game One winner Russ Ortiz.
"This is a game we had to win," Giants second baseman Jeff Kent
said. "We've got two good teams going at it. We've both been
scratching all year and we'll be scratching it out again in Game
Five. We're the Giants, and that means something."
San Francisco got to Glavine quickly in the first. Kenny Lofton
led off with a single and Aurilia followed with a base hit.
After Kent walked on a fll count, Glavine was forced to pitch to
Barry Bonds, who laced a sacrifice fly to right-center field.
Benito Santiago followed with an RBI groundout and Glavine
escaped the bases-loaded jam by striking out J.T. Snow.
After Hernandez fanned Glavine with the bases loaded to end the
second, the Giants tacked on two runs in the bottom half.
Aurilia blooped an RBI single to left field and Glavine walked
Santiago with the bases loaded.
"Kenny Lofton started off and then here comes Richie and all the
other guys after him and we end up scoring two runs and two
runs the next inning," Baker said.
Glavine appeared to get it together in the third, retiring two
of the first three batters before Lofton beat out an infield
hit. Glavine got ahead of Aurilia, 0-2, but grooved a 2-2 pitch
that Aurilia drilled to left field for a 7-0 lead.
"I was two in the hole and I was just trying to put the ball in
play the rest of that at-bat," Aurilia said. "He threw me a 1-2
curveball and then, I tell you, I don't even know what the
pitch was I hit. I don't know if it was a fastball or a
changeup, but it was something probably about maybe knee-high
and just reached down there and got it."
Cox pulled Glavine following Aurilia's blast, turning the game
over to his bullpen.
"I'm not going to take anything away from the Giants, but a
large part of the blame is on me," Glavine said. "I just can't
make my pitches."
"We didn't want them to have a fresh bullpen if there was a game
(Monday)," Baker said. "The thing Livan did as much as
anything today (was) not only won the game, but we have a very
strong and rested bullpen going into Monday's game."
Atlanta began chipping away with a run in the fifth, but San
Francisco countered in the eighth on Santiago's RBI double to
The Braves picked up two more runs in the sixth, but Hernandez
stiffened, retiring eight of nine batters before allowing a
one-out single to Keith Lockhart in the ninth.
"Tonight he did a good job with a lead," said Braves closer John
Smoltz, who was a part of that 1997 NLCS. "Having that big a
cushion helps. Every time we threatened, he squelched our
rallies. He pitched well. His fastball was good tonight."
Scott Eyre followed Hernandez in the ninth and allowed a single
before getting an out. Closer Robb Nen retired Julio Franco on
a bouncer to shortstop.