Hernandez remains unbeaten in postseason

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Livan Hernandez boasted about his

postseason perfection, then went out and backed it up.

Game 4 at a glance

Hero

Livan Hernandez tied for the National League lead with 16 losses during the regular season, but didn't even come close to a loss in this start. He baffled the Braves for 8 1/3 innings, raising his career postseason record to 6-0.

Goat

For the second time in the series, Tom Glavine gave the Braves a bad start. He allowed seven runs -- all earned -- in 2 2/3 innings. In the two starts, Glavine is 0-2 with a 15.26 ERA.

Key move

Dusty Baker's decision to stick with a four-man rotation with his No. 4 starter being Hernandez. It sets up Russ Ortiz to start on full rest in Game 5. The Braves started Glavine on three days' rest and Kevin Millwood will also have to start on three days' rest in Game 5.

Key stat

Glavine and Greg Maddux are a combined 6-14 over their last 25 starts in the postseason dating back to Game 5 of the 1997 NLCS. In that Game 5 of the '97 NLCS, Hernandez -- then with the Marlins -- struck out 15 in defeating Maddux and the Braves 2-1.

Looking ahead

Millwood earned the victory in Game 2, allowing only two runs on three hits in six innings. He was also efficient in throwing just 72 pitches. Ortiz will counter for the Giants. He was the winning pitcher in Game 1 as he gave up only two runs on five hits in seven innings.

Hernandez won again in October and the San Francisco Giants

battered Tom Glavine for the second time to beat the Atlanta Braves

8-3 Sunday and even their NL Division Series at 2-2.

"I tried not to put pressure on,'' Hernandez said. "I knew it

was a big game. I do it the same as I do every day. I came into the

park and batting practice relaxed, my mind relaxed. I did not want

to make a lot of mistakes ... and I won again today.''

Barry Bonds drove in the first run and the Giants led all the

way, sending both teams back to Atlanta for a decisive Game 5 on

Monday night. Buses to carry the clubs to the airport for

cross-country flights were lined up before it ended.

Kevin Millwood, already waiting at home in Atlanta, will pitch

for the Braves on three days' rest against a fully rested Russ

Ortiz.

Handed a 7-0 lead, Hernandez -- the 1997 NLCS and World Series

MVP -- improved to 6-0 in the postseason. Even after a disappointing

record of 12-16 in the regular season, he was confident before his

first outing of this series.

"I never lose in October,'' he said.

At least one team in the neighborhood is still alive. After the

Oakland Athletics were eliminated by Minnesota in the AL division

series across San Francisco Bay, Hernandez gave fans plenty to

cheer about.

The wild-card Giants won for the first time in six tries when

facing postseason elimination since the 1971 NL championship

series.

Hernandez carried a no-hit bid into the fifth, but Vinny

Castilla hit a high popup that dropped between Hernandez, third

baseman David Bell and shortstop Rich Aurilia for a single.

Bell charged in too far and the ball fell behind him. Keith

Lockhart followed with another base hit.

Hernandez allowed three runs and eight hits in 8 1/3 innings,

striking out six. Giants manager Dusty Baker was booed when he

lifted his starter, but Scott Eyre and Robb Nen finished up.

"We were trying to make him throw strikes,'' Braves manager

Bobby Cox said of Hernandez. "The first inning we had three

strikes (hard-hit balls) at him, but we didn't do much after that.

Livan's hard to hit. He comes with so many angles at you. He's

sneaky quick.''

Aurilia hit a three-run homer in the third -- his third hit of

the game -- as the Giants found the offense that eluded them in the

two previous games of the series, both losses.

Aurilia's shot chased Glavine, who threw 68 pitches in just 2

2/3 innings. He is the losingest pitcher in postseason history at

12-15.

Hernandez pitched a 1-2-3 first and had the raucous Pacific Bell

Park fans on their feet early, waving their white "Rally Rags.''

"It's more difficult to be patient when you're down by seven

runs, six runs,'' said Atlanta's Gary Sheffield, who went 0-for-4

and is batting .071 in the series.

"He wasn't really coming over the middle of the plate today. He

was throwing eephus curveballs and eephus sliders, then he'd show a

fastball, so it made it look a lot faster than it really was.''

Sheffield said he'd never seen Hernandez throw those pitches.

"It kind of shocked me when they came out of his hand,'' he

said.

Bonds hit a sacrifice fly and the Giants gave Hernandez a

two-run cushion in the bottom half, and they were on their way to

an easy victory.

Glavine, making his 32nd postseason start, got in trouble in a

hurry.

Trying to redeem himself after losing Game 1 at Turner Field, he

loaded the bases with none out in the first on a walk to Jeff Kent,

sending the fans into a frenzy. They began chanting "Barry,

Barry!'' as the slugger came to bat.

Kenny Lofton scored on Bonds' fly to right-center, the first of

his three runs scored. Benito Santiago followed with an RBI

groundout to make it 2-0, and the Giants had as many runs as they

scored in the entire nine innings of a 10-2 Game 3 loss the day

before.

The Giants ran out of the dugout with energy and a sense of

urgency this time, as the enthusiastic crowd of 43,070 jumped to

its feet. The regular-season cheer of "Beat LA!'' turned to "Beat

the Braves!''

San Francisco used bloop singles and sacrifice flies to win this

one after managing only five hits Saturday and seven in a 7-3 Game

2 defeat at Turner Field.

Hernandez even did something with his bat, laying down two

sacrifice bunts, and made a nice play on defense, too. He finished

a double play in that ugly fifth inning, getting a congratulatory

point of the finger from Aurilia after the out.

"Livan was very focused today,'' Baker said. "You could tell

before the game he was ready. He knew we needed him, and this

enhances his reputation as a big-game pitcher. Livan was just on

his game. You could tell he wanted it.''

The Braves chased Hernandez in the second. After retiring the

first five batters, the right-hander gave up back-to-back, two-out

walks to Javy Lopez and Castilla before plunking Lockhart in the

leg with a pitch to load the bases.

Hernandez struck out Glavine looking on three pitches to escape

the jam.

Glavine intentionally walked Bonds in the second to load the

bases with two outs. Glavine then got behind 3-0 to Santiago and

walked him to score a run for a 4-0 lead. The Braves got out of it

on a fly ball by Reggie Sanders.

Glavine's start might have been his last in a Braves uniform.

His contract is up at the end of the season, and Atlanta will have

to win Monday to reach the NL championship series for the 10th time

in the last 12 seasons.

While the bottom of the Giants' order did in Glavine in the

series opener, it was the top half Sunday. In Game 1, Glavine

allowed 10 hits in five innings and left with his team behind 6-2.

Hernandez's regular-season record marked the fifth straight

season in which he's lost at least 11 games. He pitched 216 innings

in 2002 and had three shutouts, but his ERA was over 4.00 in each

of the last five months.

The Giants avoided sending Bonds and Baker home empty handed

again. Bonds is 0-for-5 in playoff series and Baker is 0-for-2 as a

manager.

Baker, general manager Brian Sabean and Kent all are in the

final years of their contracts, so this team could potentially look

a lot different next year.

Game notes

The crowd broke the Pac Bell record of 43,043 set Saturday.

... Bonds went 0-for-3 to drop his career postseason average to

.198.