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Updated: Thursday, August 7, 2003 2:09 AM EDT
MLB RECAP
Pittsburgh Pirates
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
2 7 0
San Francisco Giants
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R H E
0 3 0
W Tavarez (1-3)
L Ponson (0-1)
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PITTSBURGH 2, SAN FRANCISCO 0
 

SAN FRANCISCO (Ticker) -- Sidney Ponson received a standing ovation from the crowd at Pacific Bell Park at the conclusion of his first start with the San Francisco Giants . He just failed to receive a warm greeting from the bats of his new teammates.

Josh Fogg and Julian Tavarez combined on a three-hitter to spoil Ponson's debut as the Pittsburgh Pirates posted a 2-0 victory over the Giants.

Ponson (0-1) turned in a strong effort in his San Francisco debut after being acquired last week from Baltimore. The Aruban righthander held Pittsburgh scoreless through seven innings, allowing only five hits.

"I was a little nervous in the first inning, but after I got the first guy out it was back to the same feeling," Ponson said.

But Ponson was matched by Pirates starter Fogg, who allowed three singles through six innings before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh. Former Giant Tavarez (1-3) replaced him and was outstanding in tossing three hitless innings.

"He's (Tavarez) been outstanding for us," Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. "The key for him tonight was throwing the slider for strikes when he needed to. His slider was outstanding tonight."

Jason Kendall doubled with one out in the eighth inning and Ponson elected to walk Brian Giles . But the strategy was foiled by former Giant Reggie Sanders , the subject of trade rumors, who ripped a double into the left field corner for the game's only runs.

"I was just trying to stay back and see the ball and react to it," Sanders said. "That's the key. My focus is to put good wood on the ball."

Manager Felipe Alou went to the mound and took the ball from Ponson, who was cheered wildly by the crowd and tipped his cap in response. Ponson, expected to be the Giants' No. 2 starter behind Jason Schmidt , went 14-6 with a 3.77 ERA in 21 starts for the Orioles this year.

"The fans gave me a big welcome in San Francisco then gave me a standing ovation," Ponson said. "Now I'll have to wait to pitch here again."

"I expected something like that, I know him really well," Alou said. "I saw him pitch last season in the American League. Guys like Schmidt and Ponson, No. 1-type of guys - it is mostly their game to win or lose."

Ponson got into trouble in the first inning when he walked Giles with two outs and Sanders doubled. He set down Randall Simon to get out of the frame and worked around hits by Jack Wilson and Giles over the next two innings.

Sanders flied out to end the third inning, starting a string of 10 straight hitters set down by Ponson. The 26-year-old walked three and struck out three.

"He came in here with a great attitude," Giants center fielder Marquis Grissom said. "He knew what it was he had to do and he did it. He hit his spots pretty good. He threw the ball well. We just didn't swing the bat well."

Pittsburgh threatened in the seventh inning by loading the bases with one out. Matt Stairs , who has four career homers off Ponson, hit for Fogg and grounded into a double play.

Fogg, who retired 11 straight batters in one stretch, yielded only one hit through four innings and San Francisco had only one strong scoring chance against him. Former Pirate Barry Bonds and Benito Santiago opened the fifth with singles, but Edgardo Alfonzo grounded into a rally-killing double play.

The only batter to reach against Tavarez was Santiago, who drew a two-out walk in the seventh inning. Tavarez went to a full count on Grissom with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning with Bonds on deck before getting a groundout to end the game.

"I played here for three years and they treated me really good," Tavarez said. "It's good to come over here because I get to see a lot of people. It's really good to come over here and beat them plus I got the win."

San Francisco fell to 13-6 since the All-Star break, losing for just the second time in 13 home games.


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