Feliz#039; HR sparks SF over Reds

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 8, 2004

CINCINNATI - Dave Miley made the decision without hesitation. Pedro Feliz quickly made him regret it.

Miley's decision to walk Barry Bonds backfired when Feliz followed with a homer, sparking the San Francisco Giants to a 6-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night.

Feliz's two-run homer broke open a scoreless game in the seventh inning, helped left-hander Kirk Rueter (1-3) get out of his rut, and left everyone talking about the pivotal decision to walk Bonds.

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''Going into this series, we said he was the guy we were not going to let beat us,'' Cincinnati's first-year manager said. ''If another guy beats us, so be it. You don't know what is going to happen if you allow him to swing the bat, so we didn't let him.''

Once Miley's decision played out, the Giants put it away.

Rueter limited the Reds to three hits and no walks in eight innings. He also had an RBI double in the Giants' four-run eighth, completing his breakthrough performance.

Rueter came in with a 7.06 ERA and no wins in six starts, the worst season-opening slump of his career. He had thrown 118 pitches when he left for a pinch-hitter in the ninth.

''He had us a little out in front with his pitches,'' outfielder Ryan Freel said. ''I think we fell into his game plan a little bit.''

Tyler Walker gave up a run-scoring single to D'Angelo Jimenez in the ninth. Matt Herges relieved with the bases loaded and got Juan Castro to fly out for his 10th save in 11 chances.

It was scoreless until the seventh, with Rueter and Cory Lidle (2-2) matching each other in getting quick outs.

''It might have helped me that Lidle was throwing so good, too,'' said Rueter, who is 11-1 career against Cincinnati. ''I didn't have time to think. I'd sit down, then have to go right back out there. I stayed in my rhythm.''

Bonds grounded out in his first two at-bats, denied hits by the Reds' infield shift. When he came to bat with two outs and no one on base in the seventh, shortstop Barry Larkin shifted again.

That's when the signal for the intentional walk came from the dugout, and Larkin moved back. Bonds, who leads the majors with 25 intentional walks, dropped his head in disappointment and the 34,448 fans booed loudly.

Bonds clapped his hands in celebration after Feliz drove a breaking ball from Lidle over the wall in center for his fourth homer, upsetting the strategy. Miley pointed out that the Giants hitting immediately after Bonds had struggled all season, hitting only .195.