Originally created 05/02/04

Giants' Pierzynski answers critics in victory



SAN FRANCISCO -- A.J. Pierzynski has been booed by the Giants faithful and ripped by three pitchers he works with every day.

On Saturday, the embattled catcher made a big statement with his bat that he's serious about his job with San Francisco - despite what others say.

Pierzynski hit a tiebreaking, two-run single and also had a triple among his three hits in San Francisco's 6-3 win over the Florida Marlins.

Pierzynski was criticized anonymously by several teammates in recent days for his work ethic and it showed up in a newspaper Friday. It appears to have motivated the fiery player, who pumped his fist when he stepped on first base following his seventh-inning single.

"I've been taking a lot the last couple days," said Pierzynski, who also threw out speedy Florida baserunner Juan Pierre trying to steal second.

"If it turns things around, then hey, I'm a scapegoat. ... I went out there with the same attitude I always go out there with. What's done is done. I don't have a time machine to change things."

Jason Schmidt (2-2) struck out nine in seven innings and earned his second win this week. Matt Herges got four outs for his ninth save in 10 chances.

The Giants added two runs in the eighth on Marquis Grissom's double that right fielder Damion Easley chased down but couldn't keep in his glove.

Schmidt earned his first win of the season in the Giants' 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Monday night. The right-hander won 17 games last season and led the NL in ERA, but the Giants have struggled to score runs for him.

He fell behind 2-0 Saturday in the first inning, when the Marlins scored one run on a passed ball and another on Mike Lowell's RBI double.

When asked about Pierzynski, Schmidt said: "It's a dead issue. It's over," then acknowledged Pierzynski's hit was huge.

"Maybe he'll be (a hero) tomorrow, too," said Schmidt, who improved to 6-0 in 13 career starts against Florida.

Carl Pavano (2-1) pitched 7 2-3 effective innings and hit his first career homer, a solo shot into the left-field seats off Schmidt in the fifth to give the Marlins a 3-2 lead. This was certainly a different game than a night earlier when the teams combined to score 21 runs, a 12-9 win for the Giants.

The Marlins had won each of Pavano's previous five starts. They're 9-3 in his last 12 turns, and 14-4 in his last 18 games dating to July 22, 2003.

He didn't give Barry Bonds many chances.

Bonds went 0-for-1 with a flyout and four intentional walks - a major league record for a nine-inning game. Bonds came up in the seventh with two outs and J.T. Snow on third. Edgardo Alfonzo then drew a walk to load the bases for Pierzynski, who lined his single to left.

"I don't believe A.J. is the kind of man who gets disturbed by too many things," Giants manager Felipe Alou said. "I believe people here will wind up loving this player. He's hard-nosed."

For the second time this week, Bonds played in a day game following a night game - something he rarely did last season.

"I'm tired. Tired," Bonds said as he made his way from the parking lot to the clubhouse Saturday morning.

But he told Alou he wants to be in there to do anything he can for the struggling Giants.

Of the walks, Alou said: "Today it cost them the game. He scored the winning (go-ahead) run."

Marlins manager Jack McKeon will certainly do it again, too.

"When I'm down three runs, I don't want to be down five," he said. "We pitched to him in the first inning. With Barry, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. You just take your chances and sometimes it works - like it did for us in the playoffs. Barry is the only player in baseball who has that kind of respect. Tony Gwynn didn't have it, Mark McGwire didn't most of the time and neither does (Sammy) Sosa."

Brian Dallimore, a 30-year-old rookie, started for San Francisco for the second straight day after earning his first major league start Friday and getting a grand slam for his first big league hit. He drove in a run Saturday with a single in the fourth.

Notes: Pavano allowed five runs on six hits, but walked seven. ... Marlins OF Jeff Conine missed his third straight game with stiffness in his lower back. ... Giants SS Neifi Perez didn't start for the first time this season, but entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth. Deivi Cruz started in his place. Cruz made pretty backhanded stop on a hard-hit ball by Will Cordero in the sixth, throwing him out at first just in time. ... Bonds matched his career-high with four intentional walks, which he also did April 23 this year in a 12-inning game at Los Angeles. ... After the game, the Giants optioned RHP Kevin Correia to Triple-A Fresno and recalled RHP David Aardsma from Fresno.