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Updated: Tuesday, April 27, 2004 2:13 AM EDT
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SAN FRANCISCO 3, ATLANTA 2
 

SAN FRANCISCO (Ticker) -- A strong effort by the bullpen secured a rare win for a San Francisco Giants ' starting pitcher.

Four relievers combined on four hitless innings to secure Jason Schmidt 's first win of the season as the Giants held on for a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves .

Giants' starters had just four wins - three from Jerome Williams - heading into the 20th game of the season. After Schmidt (1-2) gave up two runs, six hits and four walks in five innings, Jim Brower , Jason Christiansen , Felix Rodriguez and Matt Herges were unhittable.

Brower worked two perfect innings, but Christiansen walked the only batter he faced to start the seventh. Rodriguez set down the next three Braves and Herges pitched around a two-out walk in the ninth for his seventh save.

San Francisco became the first team since 1969 to record a save in each of its first eight wins.

"That was our best collective effort as a bullpen, without a doubt," Herges said. "It's a huge confidence booster and, better yet, it gives the skipper some confidence. That's what you want, your manager to believe in you."

"Our bullpen did a heckuva job tonight," Schmidt added. "They deserve the credit for this win. It was a real team effort. It's good to get a win, but I didn't feel comfortable at all. It was definitely a battle tonight."

After failing to score a run for Schmidt in his first two starts, the Giants gave the righthander the luxury of an early 3-0 lead.

"Getting the run support was really nice, especially getting three right off the bat," Schmidt said "I wish I could have thrown a few more zeros and a few less pitches."

Ray Durham tripled in a run in the third and scored on a double by Edgardo Alfonzo before Pedro Feliz singled to make it 3-0.

"We finally got some hits when we needed them, and that's something we haven't gotten this year," Durham said. "One hit here and another there and you end up with a win."

All of the runs came off Horacio Ramirez (0-2), who gave up six hits and four walks in 6 1/3 innings while striking out six.

"I just couldn't stay away from that one inning that costs me games," Ramirez said. "It costs the team when that happens."

Mark DeRosa 's two-run homer - his second in as many days - in the fifth accounted for the offense for Atlanta, which has lost four straight in San Francisco.

"Ramirez pitched so well tonight, he deserves better than a loss," Atlanta second baseman Marcus Giles said. "He needs better run support. He's done great."

"That one inning, he got some balls over the middle and that was it," added Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "Otherwise, he was just outstanding."

Atlanta has scored just 22 runs in its nine losses, compared to 73 runs in 10 wins.


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