Barry! Barry!

Any hint that Bonds would be haunted by playoff performances past should by now be thoroughly extinguished. First, he went 2-for-3 with a home run and two runs scored in the Giants’ thrilling game five win over the Braves (poor, poor Braves). Then yesterday the Cardinals made the mistake of pitching to Bonds instead of loading the bases and he made them pay by hitting a bases-clearing triple. Awesome.

But Benito Santiago is a key too. In addition to being the most patient hitter in baseball today, Bonds is the most pitched-around hitter in baseball today. Which means No. 5 hitter Santiago has to come through. And he did last night.

Let’s face it. The Cardinals have the better team, as did the Braves. This is all about who can perform in the playoffs. Rueter wasn’t great, but he was good enough, and Nen once again closed it out in the ninth. Enough home runs from Santiago, Bell and others not expected to turn the tide for the Giants and they could very well sneak into the World Series.

I just hope that Lofton’s outburst didn’t give the Cardinals even more ganas, as if they’re not playing for Darryl Kile and Jack Buck already. But no matter how energized the Cards are, they can’t win if their starting pitchers throw the way Morris did last night. Woody Williams could be a turning point in this series. If he’s really healthy and he can go toe-to-toe with Giants ace Jason Schmidt, then we’re looking at a wide open 1-1 series instead of an almost sure-thing 2-0 Giants lead going back to San Francisco.

As for the Angels, they did what they needed to do, which was get out to an early lead over the Twins and take the mammoth crowd out of the game. They only needed to win one in Minnesota, and they got it. On the other hand, the Twins probably feel they only need to win one in Anaheim, because no team can beat them in games six and seven of a series in the Metrodome.