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Giants Stun Marlins In Last At-Bat

Trailing by three runs and one strike from defeat, the San Francisco Giants kept swinging and stunned the Florida Marlins.

Pinch-hitter Marvin Benard's RBI single capped a ninth-inning rally, and Jeff Kent hit a sacrifice fly in the 10th to give San Francisco a 5-4 victory Saturday night.

Coming on a heels of a painful loss Friday, when the Giants blew a ninth-inning lead at Chicago, the comeback was especially sweet.

"It was a big, big win, especially after Friday," manager Dusty Baker said. "We're still hanging in there and fighting."

The Giants trailed 4-1 before scoring three times with two out in the ninth against Antonio Alfonseca.

In the 10th, pinch-hitter Stan Javier led off with a single against Brian Edmonson (3-3). Rich Aurilia sacrificed and was safe on Edmonson's throwing error. Barry Bonds walked to load the bases, and Kent's sacrifice fly gave the Giants their first lead.

Rich Rodriguez (3-0) pitched a perfect ninth. Former Marlin Robb Nen, who blew a 5-4 lead Friday against the Cubs, followed with a scoreless 10th for his 32nd save.

"I felt good about how I threw Friday; I just didn't get the results I wanted," Nen said. "It's good to get back out there and get the win under my belt."

The Giants improved to 7-0 against Florida this season, and they came from behind in the ninth inning to win for the fifth time.

Barry Bonds doubled to start the ninth, and with two out, Charlie Hayes singled on a 1-2 pitch. Joe Carter doubled home two runs, and Benard lined a single up the middle to tie the game.

"We were down to our last out, and everything came out smelling like a rose," said Cater, who hiked his average to .163 with the double.

"That's the biggest hit he has gotten for us," Baker said.

The Marlins wasted a fine showing by rookie Jesus Sanchez, who gave up just three hits in eight innings. Alfonseca blew a save for the third time in nine chances, and manager Jim Leyland said his young reliever made a mistake by throwing sliders to Hayes and Carter.

"He got beat with probably his third-best pitch," Leyland said. "I we can't hold a three-run lead in the ninth inning, we've got problems. And we do."

Florida's Kevin Orie hit a two-run homer, and Kent homered for the Giants after Sanchez had retired the first 12 batters.

Bonds, who needs one home run to become the first player to hit 400 homers and steal 400 bases, went 1-for-3 with two walks.

Florida took a 2-0 lead in the second when Derrek Lee walked and Orie hit his fourth homer. Kent hit his 22nd homer leading off the fifth, given him 13 homers and 37 RBIs in past 27 games.

The Marlins' hitters left Leyland fuming after an anemic four-hit showing in loss Friday to Los ngeles. They managed just six hits Saturday but did scratch out two runs in the sixth.

After the first two batters were retired, Edgar Renteria singled, stole second and scored on a single by Mark Kotsay, who took second on the throw home. He then scored on Lee's single for a 4-1 lead.

"That's a tough loss," Leyland said. "It should be in the win column."

Notes:

  • Florida right-hander Livan Hernandez, who threw 147 pitches in a complete-game defeat Friday, will get an extra day off before his next start, Leyland said.
  • Giants pitcher Danny Darwin struck out in both of his at-bats, dropping his average to .048 (2-for-42) with 29 strikeouts.
  • Sanchez lowered his ERA to 2.61 in nine starts since the All-Star break.
  • Giants pinch hitters went 3-for-4.
  • The Marlins blew a ninth-inning lead for the fourth time this season.

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