Solid start by Cruz wasted - East Valley Tribune: Sports

Solid start by Cruz wasted

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Posted: Sunday, April 30, 2006 7:14 am | Updated: 4:50 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

SAN FRANCISCO - Where is Barry Bonds when you need him?

To the Diamondbacks’ dismay, Bonds was kicking it in the dugout — or maybe in a nearby tunnel since he considers the dugout heating system inadequate and often takes cover — when the D-Backs would have much preferred him in left field in the ninth inning Saturday.

In the space of two batters, Randy Winn, playing left field for Bonds, got his glove above the left-field fence to take a home run away from Eric Byrnes, and then Moises Alou, hitting cleanup instead of Bonds, led off the bottom of the ninth with a game-winning home run eight rows into the left-field seats in San Francisco’s 3-2 victory at AT&T Park.

Winn played basketball for two years with Steve Nash at Santa Clara — same year, same team, same house, same room — so Byrnes knew what he was up against when his long fly left the bat.

“I thought it had a good chance, for sure, but Randy is a tremendous athlete,” Byrnes said. “He’s probably the last in the big leagues that I want in left field trying to catch that ball.”

Chad Tracy was more direct: “He seems to always kill us. He’s probably a little bit better than Barry out there (on defense) right now. Pick your poison.”

The day after Bonds played a large role in beating the D-Backs 11-3 with four RBIs, Winn and Alou made the plays to spoil the starting debut of Juan Cruz, who was very effective over five innings while taking Russ Ortiz’s spot in the rotation.

Cruz gave up only two hits with a fastball that hit 97 mph on the stadium speed gun, but both came in the third inning for the Giants’ first run.

Omar Vizquel doubled and Winn — 27 for 52 in the past two seasons against the DBacks — hit a line drive off Cruz’s right hip, and the ball caromed into left field for an RBI single.

Luis Gonzalez and Conor Jackson walked to open the D-Backs’ fourth, and singles by Shawn Green and Byrnes gave Cruz a 2-1 lead.

Cruz, whose previous seven appearances had been in relief and who had not thrown more than 55 pitches in an outing this season, retired his last seven before leaving after throwing 67 pitches. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.

“He’s got a great arm and good stuff, and we had a good idea how we were going to go about it,” catcher Chris Snyder said.

“We were prepared to go 75 potentially, but five innings is all you can expect out of him,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We wanted to try it with a fresh arm.”

Cruz would start Thursday against his original team, the Cubs, if the D-Backs stick with him.

“Whatever they say, I will do it. I came here to work. Something you cannot control, you cannot worry about,” Cruz said. “Everything was working well today.”

The Giants tied it on Lance Niekro’s two-out single off Brandon Lyon in the seventh after Steve Finley opened the inning with a bunt single, the first hit Lyon had given up to a left-handed batter in 13 tries this season.

Tracy, who broke out of an 0-for-16 drought with three hits, was picked off first for the second out in the eighth, but the D-Backs got a reprieve when rookie Kevin Frandsen failed to run out a high pop near the plate with a runner on first in the Giants’ eighth.

The ball dropped behind Chris Snyder about 10 feet fair, and Snyder threw to second to start a double play.

“What a dramatic turn of events,” Byrnes said. “We opened the door for them. That’s the type of game I think we should win.”

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