Thanks to a couple of former American Leaguers, a National League team won the first interleague game in baseball history Thursday night.
Stan Javier homered and hit a tie-breaking double in the seventh inning and Mark Gardner pitched eight strong innings in the San Francisco Giants' 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers before a sellout crowd of 46,507.
"If we're going to be part of history, we might as well win it," San Francisco Manager Dusty Baker said.
The history-making night began with Darren Oliver throwing a low, inside fastball to Darryl Hamilton at 7:11 p.m. CDT, ending the separation between leagues that traditionalists had preserved for more than century.
Hamilton followed with the first hit three pitches later, but the first double play took him off the bases--which were painted with a "First Interleague Game" logo. Players also wore interleague patches.
Texas' Bill Ripken singled in Damon Buford with the first run in the second. But Javier--who played nine seasons in the American League--tied it in the top of the third with his first homer since June 11, 1996.
Texas took a 3-1 lead in the sixth on a run-scoring triple by Mark McLemore and another RBI single by Ripken.
Then Oliver (3-8) fell apart in the seventh. Jose Vizcaino and Jeff Kent singled, then Barry Bonds was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Mark Lewis had an RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Glenallen Hill--the first NL designated hitter--tied the score at 3. Javier followed with a double to score Bonds with the decisive run.
Gardner (7-2), a former Kansas City Royal, benefited from the late-inning rally to pick up his first victory since May 22.
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NEXT SERIES FOR ANGELS
WHO: San Francisco Giants
WHERE: Anaheim Stadium
WHEN: Saturday: 7 p.m., Sunday: 1 p.m.