10/05/2002 3:19 pm ET
MLBeat: Kent plays down plunking
Despite loss, a memorable day for Schmidt family
By Josh Rawitch / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- When an object flying close to 90 mph hits someone right in the head, it's only natural to give a look toward the direction from which it came.
That's what Jeff Kent did when Greg Maddux drilled him in the helmet Saturday, and some onlookers thought it was because Kent felt the pitch was intended to hit him. If that was the case, the Giants' second baseman surely was not about to let on.
"I don't even want to get into it guys," said Kent. "We're in a playoff situation. There's no ... moaning about getting hit."
Given that Barry Bonds was on deck and the game was tied at the time, it hardly seems like the opportune time for Maddux to make a statement.
"I tried to come up and in and missed location," Maddux said. "You never want to face Barry Bonds with runners on first and second. That was about the last thing I wanted to do. I put my team in a bad situation."
Rich Aurilia said he didn't know if the pitch was intentional, but cringed when he saw it take place.
"Considering I just got hit in the face two weeks ago, yeah, it's frightening," he said. "You've got a guy with great command, probably the best command of all time, and you don't expect a pitch to come up there. Thankfully Jeff's OK and he'll be ready to go tomorrow."
Schmidt family affair: Twice this season, Jason Schmidt has had the opportunity to pitch in front of his mother, Vicki. That might not seem like a lot, but considering the fact she had a tumor removed from her brain in March, it's not hard to understand why Saturday's Game 3 was an emotional one for the entire Schmidt family.
"It'll be nice to have her there," Schmidt said Thursday. "It'll be fun to be in a playoff situation and have your family there. It's something she'll be able to remember and I'll always be able to think back on -- memories more than anything. It'll be a good time."
Schmidt and his team are hoping that the memory of Game 4 will be more fond than that of Game 3, but if the Giants are unable to win the next two games, they'll quietly pack their bags and begin the offseason.
"If you were the better team, you were the better team," said Barry Bonds, who hit his third career postseason homer in Game 3 Saturday. "I just try to do my best and that's it. You don't see me throwing helmets and bats and things like that if I ground out. I don't do that stuff. I accept whatever the situation is and I move on. If they played better, they deserve to go further. If we played better, we deserve to go on. You shake their hand and say congratuations and you move on."
Not a loud Bell: Third baseman David Bell has earned a reputation in San Francisco for coming through in the clutch and the Division Series is no different. After batting .364 (4-for-11) with Seattle in the 2000 ALDS vs. Chicago and .313 (5-for-16) in the Mariners' 2001 series vs. Cleveland, he batted .286 (2-for-7) in the first two games of the NLDS this season.
"He performs very quietly," said Giants manager Dusty Baker. "He comes to play and comes to play every day. He's got some big hits for us and played excellent defense. David Bell has been huge for us. [He is] probably one of our largest offseason acquisitions. He comes to play. You know, he knows how to win, comes from a winning atmosphere, a winning family and that helps us tremendously."
Preparing his team: Shawon Dunston did not register an at-bat in the first two games of the series, but that's not to say he's not helping his teammates out. The veteran utility man was warming up with center fielder Kenny Lofton on Monday and threw a ball that looked like a fastball moving from left to right.
"Kenny, that came back," Dunston joked. "A little Greg Maddux. I'm getting you ready."
Dunston has seen his share of Maddux's work over the years. The two were teammates on the Chicago Cubs from 1986-92.
Game time update: First pitch for Sunday's Game 4 will be at 4:55 p.m. PT and will be broadcast on FOX.
Josh Rawitch is a reporter for MLB.com and can be reached at email@example.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.