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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 9, 2010

MLB: Rowand’s single in 13th lifts unbeaten Giants over Braves

AP Baseball Writer

SAN FRANCISCO — Aaron Rowand drove in the winning run with two outs in the 13th inning, salvaging the San Francisco Giants' home opener and unbeaten season with a 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Friday.

It was the fifth game-ending hit of his career and scored Juan Uribe, who drew a one-out walk from Kris Medlen (0-1) before stealing second. Uribe went to third on catcher Brian McCann's throwing error, and Rowand brought him home.

Jeremy Affeldt (2-0) pitched one inning for the win in the longest game in the majors this season and the longest home opener in San Francisco history.

Edgar Renteria hit a tying two-run homer off Braves closer Billy Wagner with one out in the ninth. Atlanta manager Bobby Cox was ejected in the top of the 13th for arguing balls and strikes, the 154th ejection of his career.

"Great game. Quite an opener," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

San Francisco rallied from an early 3-0 deficit after a dazzling season debut by Braves starter Tim Hudson. At 4-0, the Giants are off to their best start since winning their first seven games in 2003, their last playoff year.

Both teams missed early chances to end it.

In the 12th, San Francisco slugger Pablo Sandoval led off with a double and went to third on Andres Torres' sacrifice, but the Giants couldn't convert. Torres was the Giants' last available position player.

The Braves were already out of position players because Chipper Jones is sidelined with a strained right oblique muscle.

Giants closer Brian Wilson pitched a 1-2-3 10th, striking out sensational rookie Jason Heyward to end the inning, before loading the bases in the 11th. Sergio Romo relieved and got Troy Glaus on a flyout.

Bochy has said all along Renteria deserved a chance to show what he can do healthy. He played in pain all last year and was limited to 124 games in his first season with the Giants, largely because of two aching shoulders and a troublesome right elbow that required surgery late in the season to remove bone chips and spurs.

He's 11 for 16 with three multihit games already this season.

Renteria's one-out single up the middle in the fourth marked the Giants' first baserunner against Hudson, who allowed three hits and two runs, struck out two and didn't walk a batter in an impressive seven-inning, 77-pitch outing on a spectacular, clear day in the Bay Area.

The Braves had a good feeling about Hudson's comeback from Tommy John surgery, giving the hard-throwing right-hander a $28 million, three-year contract in November.

"He's got a new arm," Cox said before the game.

The two new guys in the middle of the Giants' order after Sandoval — cleanup hitter Aubrey Huff and No. 5 man Mark DeRosa — went a combined 0 for 7 in their first home game.

While it was a tough first travel day for the Braves, they didn't play like a team that just flew across the country. They landed in San Francisco early Friday following a home game the previous night against the Cubs, arriving at the hotel a little before 2:30 a.m.

"We play the schedule," Cox said. "Where they tell us to go we go."

Heyward, coming off his first hitless outing Thursday after going 3 for 8 in the opening two games, had four strikeouts and a walk. He hit a monstrous 451-foot, three-run homer on his first major league swing Monday.

Notes: Two-time reigning NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum will receive his award before Saturday night's game. ... The Braves were swept in a three-game series at AT&T Park last season and are 12-22 since the ballpark opened in 2000, their worst road winning percentage. ... Jerry Rice threw out the ceremonial first pitch caught by his former 49ers quarterback and fellow Hall of Famer Steve Young. Rice then ran a route and Young tossed the ball to him.