Giants end long night with hard-fought win

Giants end long night with hard-fought win

CHICAGO -- Giants pitcher Kirk Rueter doesn't know if his career is about over or if there's still competitive life in his left arm, but he's determined to find out.

Either with the Giants or some other team.

The 34-year-old pitcher has been a steady performer with San Francisco since 1996, but with success elusive this season -- 2-7 record and 5.73 ERA -- he was demoted to the bullpen after his July 4 start vs. Cincinnati at home.

Then ... it was like he disappeared, appearing only twice in relief.

This was upsetting, and Rueter said prior to the club's 3-2, 11-inning victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night that if he isn't pitching on a full-time basis he's not helping the Giants or himself, and would prefer to be traded than pitch sporadically.

Rueter has talked to the Giants management about his views, believing he's taking a valued roster spot from promising youngsters such as Brad Hennessey and Kevin Correia by being in pitching limbo.

"I'm saying I just want to be in a position to succeed, and I think that's what you do with athletes," said Rueter. "You put them in that position, and I don't know if pitching twice in the last 25 days [gives him a chance for success]."

Reuter is scheduled to start Thursday night's game in Milwaukee, but noted, "then they're saying if I have a bad start then I'm back out of the rotation."

The hurler stressed he's not demanding the Giants keep him in the rotation or he's out. "Right now, I'm not helping," he said. "Anybody can do what I did the last three weeks, pitch in an 8-2 game or 10-2 game ... if you give up five, six [runs] who cares? That's what kids are supposed to do to get their feet wet. That's a job for them."

Rueter pointed out that if he went elsewhere and got hit, they could send him home. So be it. But treading water is frustrating.

"That's the bottom line -- you've got to produce every year," said Rueter. "I'll be the first to say this year has been bad. I've been bad. Hennessey and Correia deserve a chance. I've been in their position where you look over your shoulder."

Manager Felipe Alou couldn't make any predictions as to Rueter's future, but agreed that the key to baseball "is how we perform -- beginning with me. It's very simple."

Rueter said no teams have talked to his agent about wanting his services.

Before Tuesday night's contest, there was a two-hour and 43-minute rain delay, and the game didn't end until 1:16 a.m., CT.

Rookie first baseman Lance Niekro was an offensive star, going 3-for-5 with two doubles, but another fledgling, Jason Ellison rapped the game-winning single in the 11th for the victory as Deivi Cruz raced home.

"I was glad to get that hit and get it over with," said Ellison. "It was a big win for us. To wait around all night and not knowing if we were going to play, then we have a big win. That was good."

Winning pitcher Jason Christiansen (6-1), who blanked the Cubs over the ninth and 10th frames, said the win showed the character of the club following Monday's frustrating 3-2 defeat.

"We had some bad breaks and things haven't gone the way we wanted it to the whole year, but everybody went out there and did the best we could and came out on top," said Christiansen. There was redemption for closer Tyler Walker, who blew the save the night before, but finished strong Tuesday.

"It's a great win for us, to play that many innings and battle it out after last night's tough game," said Walker, who earned his 16th save. "I was proud of the guys, how they grinded it out. The bullpen did a great job."

Another big contributor to the win was catcher Mike Matheny, who cracked three hits, now hitting .357 over his last 13 games.

Cubs hurler Greg Maddux recorded the 3,000th strikeout of his career by getting Omar Vizquel on a called third strike in the third inning. Last season, Maddux earned his 300th career victory with a win over the Giants.

Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.