As the San Francisco Giants mount a charge in the NL wild-card race, they face a tougher schedule the rest of the way. There will be no more games against the Florida Marlins.
Joe Carter capped a comeback with a two-run homer in the eighth inning Monday, and the Giants beat Florida 7-4 to complete the first season sweep of an opponent in the 116-year history of the franchise.
San Francisco finished 9-0 against the Marlins, outscoring them 61-29. The Giants' previous best was a 15-1 record against the Boston Braves in 1918.
"When I was with Baltimore (earlier this year), the Marlins beat us two of three," Carter said. "These are games you can overlook. They're games you should win, and they're games you have to win. They're very important."
San Francisco is two games behind the New York Mets, who lead the wild-card race. The Giants went 4-3 on their road trip and open a three-game series Tuesday at home against the Mets.
"We've still got a ways to go, but it's there for us," manager Dusty Baker said. "A lot of people were counting us out and looking at the Cubs and Mets, but the guys on this team don't quit."
| Florida's Gregg Zaun kept J.T. Snow from crossing home plate safely in the second, ut plenty of other Giants made it past him. (AP) |
Against the rest of the majors, Florida is a mere 20 games below .500.
"In a lot of cases we're just not good enough," manager Jim Leyland said. "It's been a long season for everybody."
A season series sweep IS not the achievement it once was. For many years, teams played 22 games against each other.
Still, there was a sense that the Marlins could face the Giants every day for the rest of the season and never win.
"They've got two guys on their bench who probably have more experience than this entire ballclub," Leyland said.
One of them is Carter, whose homer gave San Francisco a 5-4 lead.
The Giants trailed 4-3 when Stan Javier led off the eighth with a triple against Brian Edmonson (3-4). Carter, batting just .156 in 18 games since being acquired by the Giants, followed with his first homer for San Francisco.
"I feel like a Giant has been lifted off my shoulders," Carter joked. "It was a long time coming. If I could write a scenario of how it would be, this would be the way to do it."
The home run was the 390th of Carter's career, tying him with Graig Nettles for 29th on the all-time list.
Rich Rodriguez (4-0) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the victory, and former Marlin Robb Nen pitched a hitless ninth for his 33rd save.
The Marlins lost their fifth straight game despite homers by Todd Dunwoody and Cliff Floyd.
Barry Bonds, who hit his 400th home run Sunday, went 0-for-5. He struck out twice and fouled out with the bases loaded, ending the second.
Florida led 4-2 before pinch hitter Shawon Dunston doubled in the seventh and scored on Bill Mueller's single.
The Giants scored an unearned run in the eighth on Marvin Benard's single following a two-base error by shortstop Dave Berg, and Carter added an RBI single in the ninth.
"I'm proud of our guys," Baker said. "We didn't overlook the Marlins. We didn't take it for granted that we were going to beat them."
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