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Kent's Homers Lift Giants


The problem for the San Francisco Giants has not been scoring runs. It has been stopping the other team from scoring more, and keeping sluggers such as Sammy Sosa from creating havoc.

They

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  • accomplished all three things Tuesday, breaking a five-game losing streak.

    Jeff Kent hit a pair of two-run homers and Barry Bonds added three RBI as the Giants tightened the NL wild-card race with an 8-7 win Tuesday over the Chicago Cubs.

    Sosa, who tied Mark McGwire for the major league lead by hitting his 45th and 46th homers against the Giants on Monday night, went homerless but scored three times. He was 1-for-2 with two intentional walks and was hit by a pitch.

    The Giants have scored five or more runs in 12 of their last 13 games -- but their record over that span is 6-7.

    "We're scoring a lot of runs, but we aren't scoring enough," Kent said. "Barry and I aren't going to take us to the promised land. The pitching is going to take us there. We don't have awesome hitting or awesome pitching, so we've all got to do it."

    The Giants, who wasted a 5-0 lead, trailed by a run in the seventh before Bonds tied the game with an RBI single and Kent connected off Terry Adams (7-7) for his 19th homer.

    The Cubs had scored three in the top of the seventh to take a 6-5 lead. The tying run scored on a bases-laded infield single by pinch-hitter Glenallen Hill that went about 20 feet toward third base.

    The go-ahead run scored when the next batter, Tyler Houston, walked on four pitches from Jose Mesa (3-2) -- the third time in eight games Mesa walked in the go-ahead run.

    Robb Nen, the Giants' sixth pitcher, followed Mesa and pitched the ninth for his 30th save.

    "This was one of the toughest victories we've had this year," Giants manager Dusty Baker said. "I've never managed a team for a stretch like this, when every game is a nailbiter. If I look exhausted, it's because I am."

    Bonds, who has 10 RBI in his last three games, had a two-run triple and Kent hit his first homer as the Giants scored five in the third off Kerry Wood, who allowed five runs, five hits and three walks in four-plus innings.

    Wood struck out eight, moving past San Diego's Kevin Brown into second place in the NL with 193. Philadelphia's Curt Schilling leads the league at 226.

    Wood, trying to become the first Cubs pitcher to strike out 200 in a season since Ferguson Jenkins in 1971, slammed his mitt into the bench after being pulled from the game in the fifth.

    "I didn't have everything working today," Wood said. "I only threw about two or three good sliders all day, and my fastball wasn't consistent."

    Giants starter Orel Hershiser allowed three runs and six hits in five innings, getting his fourth straight no-decision.

    "I know I looked like a time bomb about to go off and Dusty defused it pretty quickly," Hershiser said. "Wild card, wild race, wild game. Even though it was an ugly game, it was a good game for us because we need to close the distance between us and them for the wild card."

    With the win, the Giants pulled within two games of the Cubs in the race for the NL wild-card spot. The Cubs began the day with a half-game lead over the New York Mets in the wild-card race.

    Manny Alexander had a pair of RBI doubles for the Cubs. Henry Rodriguez added a sacrifice fly and another run scored on a throwing error by reliever Julian Tavarez.

    Sosa hit a broken bat double-play grounder in the first, was hit in the left ribs with a 77 mph changeup by Hershiser in the fourth, lined a single to left in the sixth and was intentionally walked in the seventh and eighth.

    Notes

  • Wood struck out the side in the third, the ninth time this season he has accomplished that feat.
  • Hershiser who has hit 11 batters this season, tied with Wood for second in the NL.
  • Tavarez got his first major league hit, a single, in the sixth.
  • Kent has two multi-homer games this season and eight in his career.
  • With the win, the Giants pulled within two games of the Cubs in the race for the NL wild-card spot. The Cubs began the day with a half-game lead over the Mets in the wild-card race.

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