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NLDS notebook

By MARC TOPKIN, Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 9, 2000

Giants upbeat after stunning turnaround

NEW YORK -- A major-league leading 97 wins during the regular season wasn't enough to get the Giants into even the second round of the post-season.

As disappointing as their ouster by the wild-card Mets was, the Giants tried to salvage something from their surprising 2000 success.

"We believe in ourselves and we believe we'll be back here," Barry Bonds said.

The Giants started the season 4-11, including 0-5 in their first homestand at Pac Bell Park, but rebounded quickly.

Manager Dusty Baker said he was pleased with how hard his players and coaches worked, and how they battled back to win the division. "It was just full pedal-to-the-metal from the beginning, and to overcome the deficit we did, and how we did it, was very gratifying," Baker said.

"We're all young and hopefully this is the start of a good long run for us."

Baker is not signed for next season, but his post-game comments made it sound as if he expects to be back. "Hopefully next year we will take it further and better," Baker said. "This is something very positive to build on and, like the commercial says, "You've got to have hope.' "

THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN SOMETHING: Not that Bobby J. Jones' one-hit performance wasn't impressive enough, but he nearly had a no-hitter. Third baseman Robin Ventura said the lone hit, a Jeff Kent double in the fifth, actually ticked off his glove. "I wish I had some leaping ability," he said. ... Jones' performance came on the 44th anniversary of Don Larsen's 1956 World Series perfect game.

BONDS MARKET: Bonds didn't do much in the series to help his team or shed his reputation as an October bust. Bonds hit .176 in the four games, going 3-for-17 with four strikeouts. In his career, Bonds has a .196 post-season average (19-for-97) with one home run and six RBI in 27 games. ... The Giants didn't score in their final 18 innings.

GOOD KARMA: The Mets drew on their post-season past before the game. The ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by Tug McGraw, a relief pitcher on the Miracle Mets who captured the 1969 World Series, and the man who coined the phrase "Ya Gotta Believe," as New York reached the '73 World Series.

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