10/12/2002 10:26 pm ET
Bonds' splashdown a huge lift
Giants know they can come back on one swing
By Chris Shuttlesworth / MLB.com
SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds' game-tying, three-run homer Saturday left Pacific Bell Park so fast, it was hard to tell if it was a home run or another Fleet Week flyover by the Blue Angels.
With his one fifth-inning swing in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, Bonds did as much damage as the solo shots of the Cardinals' Mike Matheny, Jim Edmonds and Eli Marrero combined, but Marrero's long ball was the difference in the Giants' 5-4 loss to St. Louis, narrowing the Giants' series lead to two games to one.
Still, Bonds' blast provided a huge lift for a ballpark -- and a team -- deflated by the early Cardinals lead, St. Louis' first of the series.
"It was just like, 'Now we have a tie ballgame and we have a really good shot at winning this game,'" said Russ Ortiz, who was in the clubhouse after leaving in the fifth inning down 4-1. "That was huge for us. It's nice to see him be able to do something like that because he's a guy in that situation where you want to see a home run, and he did."
With the Giants having squandered run-scoring opportunities in the first and third innings, Rich Aurilia earned a leadoff walk in the fifth against St. Louis starter Chuck Finley. Jeff Kent followed with a single, bringing Bonds to the plate.
Finley had faced Bonds twice before during the season, with the slugger going 1-for-2 with two walks and an RBI. In the first inning, Finley
pitched Bonds carefully to say the least, issuing four straight balls to walk Bonds, and in the second, Bonds flied out to shallow right with the bases loaded to end the inning.
"You feel the buzz," said Finley. "Even when Barry steps on deck, you can feel the fans kind of start mumbling to themselves. They're waiting for something to happen."
After taking a ball, Bonds turned on Finley's next offering and launched a no-doubt shot deep into McCovey Cove, the 21st time he's reached the water on the fly with a homer since the park opened in 2000. A lucky kayaker ended up with the ball, which represented Bonds' fifth career postseason homer, fourth of the 2002 playoffs.
And with that, Benito Santiago, who was in the on-deck circle, felt the game was in the Giants' grasp.
"That was a big home run for him, and when I saw that, I said, 'Hey, we're going to beat these guys today,'" said Santiago. "I've been in there a long time and I've seen those type of things, but he really crushed that one. ... It was typical Barry Bonds. He hit that one probably 600
"That was an awesome home run in a key situation to tie the ballgame," said Reggie Sanders. "It got the momentum back to where we needed to be, then they came back out and answered with that home run."
In typical Bonds fashion, he shrugged off the significance of his blast since his team still ended up losing the game.
"It changes the mood in the dugout; that's all it does, is get everybody a little bit fired up," he said. "But you still got to go out there and have some more to play."
Even still, no one could deny the lift provided by the homer, proving to the Giants once again that they could come back, even in a game they ultimately lost despite loading the bases in the seventh and getting the go-ahead run to the plate in both the eighth and ninth.
"[Momentum] shifted back to us, but then when their guy hits one out, it shifted back to them," said first baseman J.T. Snow. "We still felt like we were going to win the game."
Chris Shuttlesworth is an editorial producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.