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Zito Has Giant Unraveling in 4th

Oakland's ace gives up six runs in the inning and San Francisco wins it, 8-7, on Feliz's hit in the 10th.

June 29, 2003|From Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Barry Zito went to the mound in the fourth inning with great stuff and a six-run lead. A few minutes later, the score was tied -- adding another crazy chapter to the Bay Bridge Series.

Barry Bonds started a six-run rally in the fourth with a home run, and Pedro Feliz singled home the winning run in the 10th inning Saturday, giving the San Francisco Giants an 8-7 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

Zito arrived at the park expecting a duel with Kirk Rueter, but San Francisco's top left-hander gave up five runs before Zito threw a pitch.

The American League Cy Young winner was cruising until the fourth, when Bonds' 635th homer onto the short porch in right field was the first of seven consecutive hits by the Giants.

"I was scratching my head, wondering what I had to do," Zito said. "I'm kind of baffled. Except for that crazy fourth inning, I felt good. It's pretty unreal."

While the starting pitchers' struggles in a game featuring 30 hits were a big surprise, Feliz's clutch hit against Oakland definitely wasn't shocking. In his last four games against the Athletics, the third baseman is eight for 18 with four homers and 10 runs batted in.

"I don't know how to explain it, the way I'm hitting against the A's, but it was a big game for everyone, not just me," Feliz said. "That was one of the best rallies we've had. You've got to keep playing hard, all nine innings."

In this case, 10.

The A's loaded the bases in the 10th after center fielder Marquis Grissom lost pinch-hitter Billy McMillon's fly ball in the sun, but Felix Rodriguez (4-0) struck out Eric Byrnes to end the threat.

Neifi Perez tied the score with a single in the eighth and scored on Feliz's hit in the 10th.

. "We got something different from everybody," said Perez. "We didn't worry when we were down. We still had every chance in the world."

Adam Piatt had a three-run double and a homer for the A's, who wasted a chance to improve their dismal road record (17-23).

"It's not like we feel that much more comfortable at home," said Piatt, a struggling reserve outfielder who has been criticized by Manager Ken Macha in recent weeks. "It's weird. They did a good job. They got a lot of clutch hits."

Six of the Athletics' first seven hitters reached base, and Piatt cleared the bases with a double into the right-center gap.

In his shortest start this season, Rueter needed 37 pitches to get out of the inning, and he was worn out by the fourth after giving up eight hits and six runs.

Bonds tied Willie Mays for second place on the San Francisco career list with his 459th homer. Leader Willie McCovey hit 469.

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