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Hernandez Is Fit to Be Untied

Roberto Hernandez said he isn’t sure what to do next, but facing the Florida Marlins with another game on the line wouldn’t be high on his list.

Hernandez, the beleaguered San Francisco Giant reliever, gave up the winning runs in the ninth innings of Games 1 and 2 in this National League division series. Hernandez realizes things could always be worse, but said this is already too much.

“Obviously, it’s not easy,” Hernandez said. “I haven’t done my job and everyone knows that.”

The bad times for Hernandez began Tuesday in the series opener, when he threw a 98-mph fastball that shortstop Edgar Renteria turned into a two-out, bases-loaded single that gave the Marlins a 2-1 victory. On Wednesday, outfielder Moises Alou became a Marlin hero with another run-scoring single that gave Florida a 7-6 victory and a 2-0 series lead.

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"[Alou] should have hit that ball out of the stadium,” Hernandez said of the slider he threw. “He should have hit it in the upper deck. It was a bad, bad pitch.”

Still, the six-year veteran, acquired July 31 in a trade with the Chicago White Sox, said he can’t feel sorry for himself. The Giants aren’t finished yet, Hernandez said, and he hopes to get another chance.

“They were both close losses and I’ve got to put it behind me,” Hernandez said. “I’m not going to be any good to this team if I keep worrying about what I did before.

“This isn’t easy, but nobody lives or dies over a game. You always have to try to remember that.”

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Marlin outfielder Gary Sheffield, who scored the winning run Wednesday, has relied on the advice of Giant outfielder Barry Bonds to help him through one of the most difficult seasons of his career.

Sheffield batted .250 with 21 home runs and 71 runs batted in this season, compared to .314 with 42 homers and 120 RBIs last season. Sheffield felt more pressure as he struggled, and said he needed someone to remind him what had helped make him an all-star.

“First of all, Barry is like my older brother, he is my brother, so I listen to whatever he tells me,” Sheffield said. “I learned a lot from Barry about being patient and about just relaxing. I really needed that.”

Sheffield is batting .667 in the series and has a .778 on-base percentage.

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Bonds is heeding his own advice.

He struggled in three previous postseason appearances with the Pittsburgh Pirates, batting .191 with three RBIs in 20 games. Against the Marlins, Bonds is hitting .375 with two RBIs.

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“B.B. is doing just fine,” said Marlin third baseman Bobby Bonilla, who played with Bonds in Pittsburgh. “He’s relaxed and it shows.”

SERIES AT A GLANCE

(Marlins lead series, 2-0)

* Game 1: Marlins 2, Giants 1

* Game 2: Marlins 7, Giants 6

* Game 3: Tonight at San Francisco, 5

* Game 4: Sat. at San Francisco, 8 p.m.*

* Game 5: Sun. at San Francisco, 8 p.m.*

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* If necessary

TONIGHT’S GAME

MARLINS’ ALEX FERNANDEZ (17-12, 3.59 ERA)

vs.

GIANTS’ WILSON ALVAREZ (4-3, 4.48 ERA)

3Com Park, 5 p.m.

TV--Channel 4

* Update--This matchup features longtime friends and former Chicago White Sox teammates. “It’s going to be fun because I know how competitive he is,” Fernandez said of Alvarez, his teammate for 5 1/2 seasons in Chicago. “But I know how competitive I am. It’s going to be a challenge for both of us.” Alvarez is also eager for the challenge, which is bigger for him because he’s pitching with the Giants’ season on the line. “I like to pitch under pressure,” Alvarez said. “I’m rooting for him and he is rooting for me, but when the game starts it’s over.”


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