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Bonds Leads Giants By Expos


As soon as Russ Ortiz was ordained the stopper of the troubled San Francisco Giants pitching staff, he stopped winning. Now he simply wants to pitch his team back into pennant contention.

"These guys made it easy for me in the first inning. With a cushion like that, I just wanted to concentrate on doing my job," said Ortiz, who was staked to a three-run lead in the first as San Francisco held on to defeat the Montreal Expos 5-4 Wednesday.

Barry Bonds and Charlie Hayes each hit two-run homers for the Giants, who have won only two of 11 series since the All-Star break. The Expos had won four straight series.

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Game Summary

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  • "It doesn't sound like much," said Giants manager Dusty Baker, "but at this point getting two out of three is big."

    The Giants moved within eight games of Arizona in the NL West.

    Ortiz (14-8) gave up four runs and 11 hits in eight-plus innings. He allowed a home run to Rondell White leading off the game but shut down the Expos before tiring in the ninth inning.

    It was the second straight solid outing for Ortiz, who had been pounded in losing three out of four starts since the All-Star break. Ortiz beat the Mets 3-2 on Aug. 13 to start reversing the trend.

    "We're capable of winning some games again," Ortiz said.

    "Ortiz was very impressive," Montreal manager Felipe Alou offered. "He's going to win a lot of games before his career is over. You can tell. He's a competitor. He even swings the bat."

    Robb Nen recorded the final three outs for his 28t save.

    Montreal's Vladimir Guerrero tripled to extend his hitting streak to 24 games.

    After White's 16th home run gave the Expos a 1-0 lead, the Giants struck back for four runs in the their half of the first against Javier Vazquez.

    Ramon Martinez drew a one-out walk and scored on Bonds' 19th home run of the season, a 450-foot upper deck shot, that gave the Giants a 2-1 lead.

    Ellis Burks then singled and Hayes lofted an opposite field homer to right, his fifth of the season, to put the Giants up 4-1.

    Vazquez (6-6) pitched five-plus innings, giving up five runs and seven hits.

    "The two home runs were very hittable pitches in the zone," Vazquez said. "But I didn't feel good warming up. In the first inning, I just tried too hard. After that, I started pitching more."

    "Sometimes you just don't have your best stuff. I guess this was one of those days."

    The Giants made it 5-1 when Hayes led off the fourth with a double and scored on Doug Mirabelli's RBI groundout.

    The Expos scored a run in the eighth when Brad Fullmer's RBI single extended his hitting streak to 14 games.

    Ortiz had retired nine in a row before giving up singles to Wilton Guerrero, Jose Vidro and Fullmer in the eighth.

    Geoff Blum hit his fourth homer in the ninth with Chris Widger on base to knock Ortiz out of the game.

    Nen, who one day earlier blew a save in the ninth on a run-scoring wild pitch, recovered nicely Wednesday. He retired Jose Vidro on a pop out to third with the tying run at second to close it out.

    Notes

  • White has two game leadoff homers this season and four for his career.
  • The Giants are 26-12 in Ortiz's 38 career starts.
  • Vazquez had not lost since July 18 when the Yankees shut out the Expos 6-0 in New York. He was 4-0 in five starts since then.
  • San Francisco 2B baseman Jeff Kent experienced little pain in his injured left foot during a morning workout and may be activated off the disabled list Friday in Milwaukee. "We still don't know if he'll be ready," Baker said after the game.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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