Burrell awakens with game-tying, game-winning homersPosted: Saturday August 09, 2003 8:17 PM
Updated: Saturday August 09, 2003 9:44 PM
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Maybe it was Pat Burrell's new blond 'do. Maybe it was positive vibes from his family in the California crowd. Maybe it was just the law of averages finally kicking in on a dismal season.
Something got into the slumping outfielder Saturday, and the Philadelphia Phillies hope it stays for a while.
Burrell hit a game-tying homer in the eighth inning and a two-run shot in the 10th, giving the Phillies an 8-6 victory over the San Francisco Giants with a dramatic comeback.
Burrell and Jimmy Rollins -- two Bay area natives -- homered in the 10th off Jim Brower (7-4) as Philadelphia rallied from a late three-run deficit to snap a three-game losing streak with a burst of excitement from its stagnant offense.
After scoring nine runs in their last five games, the Phillies handed San Francisco just its third loss in the last 18 games at Pacific Bell Park with a dramatic late rally.
Burrell's three hits raised his average to .202. He entered in a 3-for-24 slump that included several benchings in recent days.
"This year has been kind of a struggle," Burrell said as he rubbed his hand through his bleached hair. "I've had a lot of opportunities to help them win, and I haven't done it. You never want to sit, but I understand. [Manager Larry Bowa] has got to go with the guys that he thinks are going to help him win."
Burrell's slump has been a drag on the Phillies, who are atop the NL wild-card standings despite an offense that has fallen asleep for days at a time. Bowa repeatedly has said Philadelphia needs Burrell in the middle of its lineup to make a playoff charge.
"Even if he shouldn't get any hits tomorrow, he should just build on this today," Bowa said. "If he continues to be a force like that, it can really be a good thing for this ballclub."
Philadelphia closed the gap to 5-4 with RBI singles by Polanco and Abreu in the seventh. Burrell, who grew up in San Jose, led off the eighth with a long homer to left off Jason Christiansen.
Brower retired the first seven he faced until walking Thome in the 10th. Burrell followed with a long shot to left -- and Rollins put his homer in nearly the same spot.
"I let us down," Brower said. "The first two pitches to Burrell were as good as I can throw. The next two were awful, not even close. I went with my strength: a fastball in, and it didn't move. It stayed flat, and he put it in the seats."
It was the sixth multihomer game of Burrell's career -- the third of his otherwise terrible season.
Cody Ransom hit his first major league homer and Neifi Perez had a two-run double for the Giants, whose normally reliable bullpen blew it for starter Dustin Hermanson, the journeyman starter who got a standing ovation after striking out six while allowing four hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings.
"We've been pitching pretty well," said Christensen, who will take Sunday off while team doctors evaluate some loose scar tissue in his surgically reconstructed elbow. "It's tough when you have a 5-2 lead in the sixth and see that evaporate. We're pretty down about that."
The Giants got off to a quick start with a lengthy two-out rally against Vicente Padilla in the first. Padilla admitted he lost his concentration when he was ordered to intentionally walk Bonds, and Edgardo Alfonzo and Perez took advantage with run-scoring hits.
"It's not a matter of being afraid of Barry Bonds," Bowa said. "It's just using your head. He's in another world. He's on a different planet."
"Why should I be afraid of him?" Padilla asked through an interpreter. "I've got no reason to be afraid of him. He's not going to hit me."
Thanks to Philadelphia's late rally, Padilla remained unbeaten in six starts since July 5 despite allowing nine hits and five runs.
Thome snapped a 1-for-21 slump in the second, crushing his 28th homer to straightaway center. It was Thome's first homer since July 26 -- but the slumping slugger then struck out in his next three at-bats, stranding three runners.
Notes: Cruz made another outstanding catch in a season full of them, leaping at the right-field wall to grab Polanco's first-inning blast. In the 10th, Cruz nearly botched a running grab on Abreu's fly -- but clutched the ball to his chest after it came out of his glove. ... After four innings, Padilla and Hermanson had thrown exactly 64 pitches apiece -- and exactly 38 strikes. ... Hermanson was dropped by St. Louis on June 19, and he signed a minor league contract with San Francisco a month later. He beat Cincinnati in an emergency start last week.