Tread on Arizona 

Giants can smell the NLDS


Having survived an especially hound-like stretch of the dog days of summer last month relatively unscathed, the Giants -- at nearly full strength with the return of Barry Bonds from bereavement leave, opening starting pitcher Kirk Rueter healthy again, and leadoff man Ray Durham's ETA from the disabled list nearing -- make their final push for the playoffs this weekend when they battle the always tenacious Arizona Diamondbacks. August was physically and emotionally trying. On the field the Giants dropped every game of an East Coast road swing, and to add insult to injury, the club got stranded in the New York Mets' parking lot for seven hours thanks to the huge power outage. The club suffered the passing of Bonds' father and former SF all-star player Bobby Bonds. But now with a ten-game lead and the close of the regular season in sight, the Giants can practically taste the champagne. The team still has lots of work ahead. It starts this Friday when the Walnut Creek-born future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson takes the mound in the first of a three-game set at Pac Bell Park. -- A.J. Hayes


Rockin' Campout

Women climbers of all experience levels -- even novices -- are invited to girlsAdventureOUT's Pinnacle Rock Climbing Camp , Friday through Sunday at beautiful Pinnacles National Monument outside Hollister. The $220 fee includes all climbing gear, instruction clinics, and two nights of camping under the stars. For more info, visit -- Kelly Vance

SUN 9/7

Bear Hunt

Shaky as they are, the 49ers still beat the Raiders three weeks ago -- but that didn't count. Sunday (1:15 p.m.) at the 'Stick, the Red and Gold open their regular season against NFL sad sacks, the Chicago Bears (4-12). Whether or not Chicago RB Anthony "A Train" Thomas is traded by then, expect hard hitting from the NFC West Champs. -- Kelly Vance


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