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BASEBALL EXTRA / INTERLEAGUE PLAY

Giants' Snow Ices Talk of Revenge

Baseball: Beaning incident put it all into perspective for former Angel, who has only good memories of Anaheim.

June 16, 1997|MIKE TERRY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

ANAHEIM — J.T. Snow did his best to downplay the moment.

But how can you downplay hitting a game-winning home run against your former team--as Snow did in the Giants' 4-1 victory over the Angels Sunday--even if it came in the fourth inning?

Easy. Any time Snow needs a dose of perspective, all he has to do is rewind the videotape of the 97-mph fastball that Seattle's Randy Johnson threw that Snow caught with his face in a March 11 spring game, which fractured his left eye socket and left him with blurred vision.

"That was scary," Snow said. "Sitting in a hospital bed, wondering if your career is over."

So when Snow, who was traded to San Francisco Nov. 27 for pitchers Allen Watson and Fausto Macey, said he was not looking for revenge in this two-game series against the Angels it was easier to believe.

"I didn't have these games circled on the calendar, and I wasn't out to show these guys they made a mistake," Snow said. "I have no regrets; I had good memories here."

But memories are all they are now.

"I come in and see they've change the stadium and changed the uniforms--everything around here is different," Snow said. "It made it easier to distance myself.

"I saw [catcher] Chad Kreuter wearing my old uniform number [6] and I didn't think that much about it."

Nonetheless, as Giant Manager Dusty Baker noted, it's easier for a player to get the juices flowing when he plays against a former team.

"There is no finer reward than beating a team you used to play for," Baker said. "And it can be hard to keep cool. When the Braves traded me to the Dodgers, it took a couple of games for me to calm down against them. You want to do so much."

Snow has been one of the early beneficiaries of interleague play. In the four games against Texas and Anaheim, Snow has batted .500 (seven for 14) with two homers and four runs batted in. Sunday's 366-foot shot over the right field fence--barely eluding a leaping Tim Salmon--pushed his current hitting streak to a modest five games.

That has eased a five-for-40 stretch over the past 14 games. But as Snow pointed out, it's easy to look bad against the pitching staffs of Atlanta, Florida and the Dodgers.

"I can't remember a tougher stretch of pitching," he said.

Snow had a chance to blow the game open in the fifth, batting with the bases loaded and two out. But Angel starter Jason Dixon caught him looking at a third strike.

"I was more upset by that than anything else," Snow said. "He made a good pitch. I wasn't ready for an inside fastball."

As usual, Snow brought more than his bat back to Anaheim Stadium. He stole a base hit from Garret Anderson Saturday in the sixth, with a leaping catch at first base. On Sunday he saved shortstop Jose Vizcaino a couple of errors by snagging high throws and tagging runners as they went by. The last tag, on Jim Leyritz, ended the game.

All of which completed a nice weekend.

"That's what we were looking for," said Snow, grinning. "Get a couple of wins and get out of here."

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