Sanders Returns To ‘Stick In Style


National League

Deion Sanders’ return to Candlestick Park didn’t feature a dance in the end zone. Fans who showed up Wednesday night came to see him take the field for the stadium’s summertime tenant.

Before the game against his old team, the Cincinnati Reds, Sanders admitted it was a bit strange to return to San Francisco wearing the Giants’ orange and black rather than the 49ers’ red and gold.

“It’s going to be different. The last time I was on this field something special happened. Beating the Dallas Cowboys, that was a great thrill,” he said.

Last week the Giants sent pitchers Mark Portugal, Dave Burba and centerfielder Darren Lewis to the Reds in exchange for Sanders, pitchers John Roper, Scott Service, Ricky Pickett and first baseman David McCarty.

Many hope the charismatic Sanders will boost team morale, much as he helped inspire the Super Bowl champion 49ers when he arrived in the fourth week of the NFL season last year.

“Deion has this aura that he had with the 49ers,” said Giants fan Rich Rovai, 26. “Maybe the Giants can catch some of that.”

The crowd chanted “Deion! Deion!” in the fourth inning when Sanders stepped up to the plate after Reds starter Pete Schourek had loaded the bases. Sanders responded to the attention with a two-run double to left field.

Sanders finished the night 2 for 4 as the Giants beat the Reds, 4-1. San Francisco is now 2-1 with Sanders starting in center.

Phils 2-6, Pirates 1-4


Pinch-hitter Tony Longmire hit a towering three-run homer in the eighth inning, rallying Philadelphia past Pittsburgh for a sweep of their twi-night doubleheader.

The Phillies won the opener on Mickey Morandini’s sacrifice fly in the 11th inning.

Dodgers 1, Braves 0

Los Angeles

Ismael Valdes outdueled Steve Avery and Los Angeles edged Atlanta, ending the Braves’ four-game winning streak.

Astros 4, Rockies 3


Pitcher Darryl Kile left the bases loaded in each of the first three innings and hit a two-run single to help end his five-game losing streak as Houston beat Colorado.

Cards 3, Mets 2 (11)

St. Louis Bernard Gilkey’s 11th-inning RBI single gave St. Louis the victory over New York, which has lost five in a row.

Expos 4, Cubs 2


Butch Henry earned his third straight victory despite allowing 12 hits, and Rondell White and Sean Berry homered as Montreal beat Chicago.

Padres-Marlins, ppd.


Florida and San Diego will make up the rainout with two games today.

Clearing the bases

Chicago’s Shawon Dunston left the game in the sixth inning with a mild strain of his left hamstring. His status is day-to-day. … Houston Astros outfielder Jeff Bagwell hit an RBI double in the first inning, giving him a club-record 30 RBIs for July. … Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hideo Nomo, who split the nail on his middle finger, will not miss his next scheduled start on Sunday against Cincinnati. … Of Barry Bonds’ 21 home runs, 11 have either tied the game or given the Giants a lead. … Forty-four of Montreal’s 71 homers have been solo shots.

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