SAN FRANCISCO (Ticker) -- Ten years later, Barry Bonds was on
the right side of a play at the plate.
Kenny Lofton's line drive single with two outs in the bottom of
the ninth inning scored David Bell as the San Francisco Giants
closed out the St. Louis Cardinals, 2-1, in Game Five of the
best-of-seven National League Championship Series.
With the win, the Giants earned the right to represent the NL in
the World Series. San Francisco will travel down the California
coast to Anaheim on Saturday for Game One of the best-of-seven set.
San Francisco last reached the World Series in 1989, losing in
four games to the Oakland Athletics. St. Louis was attempting
to reach the World Series for the first time since 1987.
"We failed in the postseason again," Cardinals manager Tony La
Russa said. "They outplayed us in every category."
The World Series is the first between wild card winners.
"You have to give the Angels credit - it's going to be fun,"
Giants reserve outfielder Shawon Dunston said.
"I really don't know what else to say," Giants manager Dusty
Baker added. "Just right now, our focus is to beat L.A."
Benito Santiago, who delivered the decisive blow in Game Four
and hit .300 against St. Louis, was named Most Valuable Player
of the series.
"This is a dream come true, and that's why you play," the
veteran catcher said. "It's been a long time behind the plate
taking the foul tips. It's great but, hey, it can be better.
It can be better. Now we just have to go all the way."
Ten years ago to the date, Bonds was denied an opportunity to
reach the World Series when his Pittsburgh Pirates were beaten
on a two-out, two-run, ninth-inning single by Atlanta's
Francisco Cabrera in Game Seven of the NLCS.
Bonds never played in another LCS game until last Wednesday,
when he began to address the only shortcoming on his Hall of
After delivering the tying sacrifice fly in the eighth, Bonds
was one of the first players to charge from the dugout when
Lofton ripped reliever Steve Kline's first offering into right
It was a rare show of emotion for the player who has said he
would trade many of his records for a chance to perform in the
game's greatest showcase.
"This is a feeling I can't explain," Bonds said. "Ask me in a
couple a days and then I'll tell you how I feel. This has been
my goal for years and years."
"I'm happy for Barry," Baker said. "I'm just happy for Barry and
all of the Bonds family."
St. Louis starter Matt Morris (1-2) started the ninth and easily
got the first two batters. But Bell ripped a single into
left-center field and Shawon Dunston followed with a single.
La Russa, who never could push the right buttons in the series,
decided to pull his ace and brought on Kline to face Lofton, who
had snapped out of an 0-for-13 funk with hits in two of his
first three at-bats.
A lefthanded batter, Lofton laced the southpaw's first offering
into right field and Bell, a former Cardinal, was able to score
easily from second when J.D. Drew's throw to the plate was well
up the first base side.
"I still don't believe it," Bell said. "I'm standing on second
base when Lofton gets the hit and I just starting jumping up and
down and screaming."
"Anything can happen," Lofton said. "I was battling up there. It
all boiled down to that opportunity. I had a chance to do it.
It was the plan and the plan was simple. (As soon as I hit it)
I knew we were going to the World Series."
La Russa defended his decision to start the ninth with Morris.
"Matt has proved that he is in the upper echelon of top pitching
performers in the league," he said.
Tim Worrell (2-0) tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings and notched the
Kirk Rueter started for the Giants and scattered six hits and a
walk over six shutout innings. He struck out two and left with
the game scoreless.
Felix Rodriguez started the seventh for San Francisco and
allowed a double to Mike Matheny, who had a hit in all eight
postseason games for St. Louis. Morris bunted back to the mound
and Rodriguez fired late to third, putting runners on the
corners. Fernando Vina followed with a sacrifice fly that
snapped the scoreless tie.
Scott Eyre got the first out in the eighth before giving way to
The Giants got even in the eighth. Lofton singled with one out
and Rich Aurilia followed with a base hit. In a span of two
pitches, the game was tied. Morris hit Jeff Kent to load the
bases and, amidst an air of electricity, Bonds stepped to the
The single-season home run leader drove Morris' first pitch to
the warning track in left-center field, easily scoring Lofton
with the tying run but taking the air out of the crowd. Santiago
then grounded out to keep the game tied.
"Matt Morris was pitching his (butt) off, and for a while we all
thought we'd get nothing off him," Bonds said. "Then we got our
chance and we tied it up. That was the first thing we had to
Worrell cruised through the ninth and La Russa opted to let
Morris hit for himself. Morris struck out, as did Miguel Cairo
to end the inning.
St. Louis left two aboard in the first inning and a runner at
third in the second. The Cardinals had runners at the corners
with one out in the third but slugger Albert Pujols struck out
looking and Eduardo Perez grounded out.
With Lofton at third, Bonds lined out to left to end the fourth.
Morris held San Francisco hitless two outs into the fifth, when
a bloop double by Bell left runners at second and third.
Santiago, who had walked earlier in the inning, brushed Cairo
coming around the third base bag and Baker argued for
obstruction, but to no avail. Morris escaped further trouble by
retiring Rueter on a groundout.
"I think the umpire made the proper decision at that time,"
Baker said. "He called obstruction, but in his mind, he didn't
think Benito was going to score, and the only problem I had was
how can he tell he wasn't going to score? But in my mind, I
didn't think he was going to score, either. So I was out there,
really, just for nothing."
"In my judgment the runner would not have scored, and even
looking at the replay again, I'm 1,000 percent convinced of
that," third base umpire Jeff Nelson said.
The Cardinals' woes with runners in scoring position continued
in the sixth as Eli Marrero grounded out with two aboard.
San Francisco put two on to start the sixth but a double-play
grounder by Kent short-circuited the inning.