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Hot Snow cools off Cards
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League Championship Series
10/14/2002 01:59 am ET 
Hot Snow cools off Cards
By Chris Shuttlesworth /

"We've got a chance to close it out and that's what we want to do," J.T. Snow said. (Amy Sancetta/AP)
SAN FRANCISCO -- It had nearly all the same earmarks as his ninth-inning, game-tying homer in Game 2 of the 2000 Division Series, right down to the ink-black sky and chill in the air.

What J.T. Snow's hit in the sixth inning Sunday lacked was actually clearing the fence and the dramatic finger point willing the ball to stay fair. But the two-run double still tied the game and, coupled with Benito Santiago's two-run homer, it provided all the runs needed for the Giants to win Game 4 of the National League Championship Series, 4-3, and give San Francisco a 3-1 series lead.

"That was outstanding," said manager Dusty Baker. "You hear a bunch of stuff, a bunch of negative things about J.T. and everybody else on the team, but we really don't listen to it. The main thing is that you know guys come to play."

Back to Cardinals starter Andy Benes had muzzled the Giants for five innings, scattering two hits and a pair of walks while striking out four. With his team up 2-0 after scoring twice in the first inning, he started the sixth by striking out Rich Aurilia and then worked the count full before walking Jeff Kent.

Four straight balls to Barry Bonds, and Benes was done for the night. Right-handed reliever Rick White struck out Santiago looking, bringing the lefty Snow to the plate with two out. Snow had been moved up to the sixth spot in the order in place of the struggling Reggie Sanders.

"We had a pretty good matchup where [White] didn't have to give in to him," said Cardinals manager Tony La Russa in explaining why he didn't bring in a left-hander to face Snow. "He wasn't supposed to [give in] -- we had right-handers behind him, and White was nice and fresh."


  LCS Comebacks

Since the best-of-seven format was introduced in 1985, only three teams have rebounded from a 3-1 deficit to advance to the World Series:

• The '85 Royals over the Blue Jays
• The '86 Red Sox over the Angels
• The '96 Braves over the Cardinals
White threw a ball to Snow and then delivered a fastball that Snow crushed into the heavy cold air.

"He started me off with a slider, offspeed pitch, and I was looking for a fastball away," said Snow. "Once it got to 1-0, I stayed up there and looked out there, just tried to relax and see the ball and drive it that way."

It sailed deep to left-center as the crowd rose and roared in anticipation. The ball just missed going out, striking the base of the wall before center fielder Jim Edmonds retrieved it. Snow stopped at second and clapped his hands, yelling excitedly.

      J.T. Snow   /   1B
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 209
Bats/Throws: L/L

More info:
Player page
Hit chart
Giants site
"I thought it had a chance [to go out]," said Snow. "I looked at Edmonds in center and he was kind of jogging. But this is Pac Bell. It's such a big ballpark, and if you hit the ball out there in the gaps, you really gotta hit it well. That's about as good as I can hit one. I think early in the game, that might go out."

The six-time Gold Glove winner, as expected, made plenty of contributions on defense as well, including turning a tricky double play in the fourth inning. After Mike Matheny reached base on Aurilia's fielding error, Snow grabbed a hot grounder off the bat of Fernando Vina, stepped on first and threw to Aurilia covering second, where he tagged out Matheny to end the inning.

The two RBIs represented Snow's first of the NLCS, but he's batting a healthy .313 in the series and .314 with five RBIs in the postseason after batting .246 in the regular season. Since briefly losing his job to Damon Minor, he had a red-hot July (batting .326), cooled down a bit and then enjoyed a resurgence down the stretch, batting .300 in his last 13 games of the regular season.

"It just happened that he's hot now in the postseason," said Baker. "In J.T.'s case, you just have to remain positive through it all, because if not, then you don't have a chance."

Chris Shuttlesworth is an editorial producer for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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