Williams ready to
take a break from baseball

Yesterday's playoff game between the Marlins and the Giants was a great game, good enough that it is the last one Waipahu's Jerome Williams needs to see for a while.

"I ain't watching no more baseball," Williams said. "I'm tired of baseball."

Williams was pounded for five hits and three runs in two innings against the Florida Marlins yesterday, eliminating the defending league champions in the shortest outing of his short career.

Williams almost didn't start, as speculation had staff ace Jason Schmidt going as late as a few hours before game time. Williams, though, says that he knew he was going to pitch all along and welcomed it.

"It didn't get to me at all," Williams said via telephone from San Francisco after flying from Miami. "All I have to do is go out there and throw the ball. I love to perform under pressure, I just came out on the bad end this time. They were just hitting the ball where nobody was."

Williams became just the fourth rookie pitcher start a postseason game for the Giants and the first since Cliff Melton started two games in the 1937 World Series. His slice of history ended in frustration when he was lifted by manager Felipe Alou and punched the bench with his pitching hand in the third.

"I don't think I've been that frustrated in all my life," Williams said. "That bench must have been 4 inches thick and I broke it. I have heard all about it from players on the team and from people back home, but my hand is fine. I don't think when I'm mad."

Williams shook off being asked to shower, jumping off the bench to be among the first to greet his teammates each time they scored to erase the deficit he helped put them in.

"These guys fought the whole year," Williams said. "I just had to see that come around, especially today. I just wanted to be there for my teammates. That's why I was the first one out there every time. I wanted to be there."

Just as Giants fans will never forget then-New York Met Benny Agbayani's 13th inning home run against them in the 2000 playoffs, they might be second guessing Alou's decision to go with his rookie in an elimination game. Those who matter don't second-guess themselves a bit.

"Who we pitched or who we didn't pitch had no bearing on this series," Giants general manager Brian Sabean told the Associated Press. "We lost because we didn't hit with men on base. Look it up."

Williams says he will return home this week, and will prepare for spring training with Lenny Sakata, who was his manager at Triple-A last year, and show his face at Dusty Baker's annual camp. Although he will return to Hawaii for the first time as a major leaguer, he says he will be the same guy out playing basketball with everyone else.

"Jerome will be fine," Giants shortstop Rich Aurilia told "He'll try to use it as a learning experience. You take what you did and build on it, and try to see how you can improve next season. Jerome has a good head on his shoulders. He's going to be fine. He just got in a couple of little jams early today, and we decided to get him out of there before we got behind too much."


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