No one could ever remember seeing anything like it.
Determined not to let Barry Bonds beat his team, Arizona manager Buck Showalter made a startling move - he ordered Gregg Olson to intentionally walk the San Francisco star with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.The shocking strategy worked, barely. Brent Mayne followed the walk to Bonds with a lineout to right field, and the Diamondbacks held off the host Giants 8-7 Thursday night.
"I know it was a little unorthodox, but I just felt it was the best chance for us to win a baseball game," Showalter said. "It was a choice between one of the great players in the game or a very good player. It was a tough call, but you go with it and you live with it."
Olson worked around six walks in 1 1-3 innings for his sixth save. He struck out Rey Sanchez to leave the bases loaded in the eighth, and took an 8-5 lead into the ninth.
The Giants loaded the bases with two walks and a hit before Stan Javier's RBI grounder made it 8-6. After pinch-hitter J.T. Snow walked to load the bases, Showalter had Olson issue Bonds his major league-leading 10th intentional walk.
Olson escaped when Mayne lined out to right fielder Brent Brede on a 3-2 pitch.
"Buck got lucky. Olson got lucky," Mayne said. "I hope they do it again next time and I'll hit another rocket off him. But I've never seen anything like that, maybe in Little League if a guy is hitting .900 or something."
Bonds brushed off the move, saying, "I don't want to discuss it. They won."
Said 62-year-old Giants pitching coach Ron Perranoski: "Babe Ruth is the only one I've ever heard them do that to, but that was a little before my time."
DODGERS 4, REDS 3: Bobby Bonilla's line drive glanced off left fielder Melvin Nieves' glove for a game-winning single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning at Dodger Stadium.
With the score tied at 3, Eric Young doubled, Gary Sheffield walked and they pulled a double steal. Bonilla followed with drive to left-center, and Nieves left his feet trying to make a running catch near the warning track.
Bonilla had three hits as Los Angeles won for the sixth time in eight games. Cincinnati has lost 10 of 13.
EXPOS 9, BRAVES 5: Atlanta's shaky bullpen again cost Dennis Martinez a chance to tie Juan Marichal as the winningest Latin American pitcher in baseball history.
Martinez, 43, pitched three-hit ball for six innings and left ahead 4-1. But for the second straight time, Braves relievers could not hold a lead for Martinez, who needs one more win to tie Marichal at 243.
Mike Maddux (1-1), Greg's older brother, wound up with the win at Turner Field. Vladimir Guerrero's infield single broke a ninth-inning tie, and Brad Fullmer followed with a three-run double for Montreal.
CARDINALS 4, ROCKIES 1: Brian Jordan returned to the lineup and drove in two runs, leading St. Louis over Colorado at Busch Stadium.
Jordan missed three games after running into a wall while making a catch. McGwire singled, drew two walks - increasing his major league-leading total to 58 - and scored once.
PHILLIES 8, CUBS 7: Mark Grace homered and drove in three runs, but made two errors on the same play in the ninth inning, giving Philadelphia a win at Wrigley Field.
Grace, a four-time Gold Glove winner at first base, made only one error in 51 games before his misplay with two outs sent Chicago to its fourth straight loss.