Bonds saw more good pitches than most nights and it didn't make a difference. Zambrano was too good, going after the slugger from the start with a nasty sinker and equally tough fastball.
Bonds remained stuck at 713 home runs and one shy of tying Babe Ruth for second on the career list, and the Chicago Cubs ended their eight-game losing streak behind Zambrano's gem and a two-run homer and four RBI from Jacque Jones in an 8-1 win over the Giants on Wednesday night.
"He's a dangerous hitter," Zambrano said of the 41-year-old Bonds. "He has many more to get. Even though people are saying he's ready to retire, I don't think so. He just has to get his timing."
Bonds, who left the stadium without addressing the media, went 0-for-3 with a five-pitch walk and a strikeout, and he didn't take a swing until lining out to center on a 1-2 pitch with one out in the fourth.
In the fifth, Bonds was retired on a called third strike -- a 96 mph fastball from Zambrano. He popped out in the eighth. Flashbulbs lit up the ballpark from all angles each time a pitch came his way.
Once again, Bonds came to the plate to chants of "Barry! Barry!" and boats were out in force in the bay for the second night in a row, hoping for Bonds to splash a souvenir ball into McCovey Cove like he's done 31 times before. Even a person dressed in an oversized dog costume stood on one of the crafts.
"No fans left, so Barry couldn't leave either," Alou said. "You had 40,000 people waiting for that at-bat. I wasn't going to be the one to take Barry out, at home especially. I think those people are here waiting for something big to happen."
The seven-time NL MVP never come close to 714 a night after Juan Pierre robbed him of a homer with a leaping catch against the wall in center in the fifth inning of San Francisco's 6-1 win.
Zambrano (1-2) won for the first time in eight 2006 starts and improved to 3-0 lifetime against the Giants, keeping San Francisco from its first three-game winning streak of the season. The right-hander pitched eight strong innings, allowing one run and five hits, striking out six and walking five in a 110-pitch performance.
"There wasn't an opportunity to not pitch to him," Cubs skipper Dusty Baker said of Bonds. "That wasn't our idea. We were just pitching to him. Carlos played an outstanding game, and he found his rhythm. It was the Carlos that we know and love."
Zambrano's family called from Venezuela with a special good-luck wish, and Zambrano delivered a victory by shutting out Bonds.
"That gives me more confidence for my next start," Zambrano said. "My sinker was good today and I had velocity on my fastball to keep him off balance."
Matt Cain (1-5) lost his third consecutive start and fifth in six -- though the Giants have vowed to stay with the rookie right-hander until he comes around.
"Today I felt great and I got beat," he said. "You're going to get frustrated. I'm frustrated right now. You've just got to keep going."
Same for Bonds, who hit his 713th homer Sunday night with a 450-foot shot at Philadelphia.
Ask anybody around the Giants and they are eager for Bonds to tie and pass Ruth.
"A lot of apprehension, expectations, anticipation ... and suspicion," Alou said in a reference to the steroid accusations surrounding his star player. "It's not your day-in, day-out atmosphere."
Alou said he expected Bonds to play Thursday's day game -- not always the slugger's practice in recent seasons after night games.
"Hopefully Barry will hit 715 and get it out of the way," Alou said. "I think he's ready to do it. He's swinging the bat well. He's going to play at home a lot more games. Hopefully before we leave town."
Baker's 7-year-old son, Darren, one of Bonds' biggest fans, hoped to see the slugger tie and pass Ruth.
"Yeah, but on somebody else," he said with a smile. "Or hit one today and the Cubs come back and win the game."
- Pierre received several phone calls from family members -- and not all of those close to him were happy he'd made the play. "Some said, 'What were you thinking? What were you doing?'" Pierre recalled. "Mixed emotions."
- Pierre, who entered the game mired in a 1-for-22 slump, moved from the leadoff spot to No. 2 in the order in an attempt to get going and got two hits. He was booed when he stepped into the batter's box in the first.
- Giants 2B Ray Durham, on the DL since April 28 with a strained left hamstring, took hitting work in a simulated game against two pitchers from Class-A San Jose and is set to be activated when eligible Friday.
- Rev. Jesse Jackson was in the stands and held court in the Giants' clubhouse postgame, defending Bonds. "This is a superb athletic achievement," Jackson said. "The fact is, he is a phenomenal athlete and at the end of the day his numbers speak for themselves."
- RHP Brad Hennessey made his first career relief appearance for San Francisco.
- Jones doubled in two runs in the sixth and finished with his most RBI since also getting four on April 18, 2004, vs. Kansas City.