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BASEBALL PLAYOFFS / NATIONAL LEAGUE | SAN FRANCISCO
VS. NEW YORK / NOTES

Giant Stars Bonds, Nen Enjoy No Shining Moments

October 08, 2000|Associated Press

NEW YORK — Their best hitter was hitless in five at-bats. Their best relief pitcher blew a save for the first time since July 2.

Need two reasons why the San Francisco Giants lost Game 3 of their division playoff series to the New York Mets?

Don't look beyond Barry Bonds and Robb Nen.

Before Benny Agbayani won the game for the Mets with a home run in the bottom of the 13th inning Saturday night, Bonds and Nen had opportunities to make sure it wouldn't last that long.

Bonds popped out to second in the top of the 13th with runners on first and second to end San Francisco's final chance, and the Giants went on to lose, 3-2, to New York to fall behind 2-1 in the best-of-five series.

Bonds, who ended Game 2 by being called out on strikes in the bottom of the 10th, came to bat in the top of the ninth with a chance to get a measure of revenge against the same pitcher, John Franco, who struck him out looking two days earlier.

This time, at least Bonds went down swinging.

Bonds missed an 84-mph fastball from Franco to end the ninth, leaving a runner stranded at first.

His at-bat in the 13th didn't last nearly as long. He swung at the first pitch from Rick White and got too far under the ball.

"He was getting ahead of everybody 0-2," Bonds said of his decision to swing at the first pitch. "He made a good pitch. I tried to hit a line drive and it went straight up in the air."

Bonds' average in this series dropped from .375 to .231 and his career postseason average fell from from .216 to .204.

Nen, meanwhile, came into the game in the bottom of the eighth having converted his last 28 save opportunities--a streak that dated to early July.

Needing only one out to end the inning, Nen instead allowed Edgardo Alfonzo to rip a line drive into the left-field corner, bringing home Jay Payton from second base with a double that tied the score, 2-2.

It was Nen's first eighth-inning appearance in a save opportunity since July 2, when he blew one against the Dodgers.

"Seventh inning, fifth, first, it doesn't matter," Nen said. "I made a mistake and left a pitch up. It had nothing to do with the inning."

*

With New York batting in the 10th, plate umpire Jerry Crawford walked toward a small camera that rested on the padding against the backstop, about waist-high.

Met Manager Bobby Valentine, suspected by some of using electronic equipment to steal opponents' signals, sauntered out of the dugout. And as if to prove nothing was sinister, he took a white towel and covered the camera.

An inning later, the camera was gone.

*

Giant left-hander Shawn Estes remains on crutches because of a sprained left ankle, and his status for the rest of the postseason is uncertain. . . . Met outfielder Derek Bell, out for the remainder of the postseason because of a sprained right ankle, hobbled to home plate on crutches for pregame introductions.

Game 1: San Francisco 5, New York 1

Game 2: New York 5, San Francisco 4 (10)

Game 3: New York 3, San Francisco 2, (13)

Today: San Francisco at New York, 1 p.m., ESPN

* Monday: New York at San Francisco, 5:15 p.m., Ch. 11

Mets lead series, 2-1

* If necessary All times PDT

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