SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds is finding that the Babe's 714 is a tough mark to match. He's also learning that, at age 41, his defense is a far cry from his Gold Glove days of old.
The San Francisco slugger is still sitting at 713 home runs, one shy of tying Babe Ruth for second place on the career list after the Giants' 6-1 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night in which a sellout crowd of 42,885 showed up hoping to witness history.
Instead, Bonds went 0-for-3 with an intentional walk in his fourth straight homerless game and blew a play in the outfield, too.
Manager Felipe Alou planned to sit down with his star player to discuss several things: Bonds' status for Saturday's day game, why he didn't run out a popup in the eighth, and what happened in left field on a miscommunication with center fielder Steve Finley.
"I'm going to talk with him," Alou said, smiling.
It seemed the perfect night to make history, what with the archrival Dodgers in town after the Giants threw a belated 75th birthday bash for his godfather, Willie Mays, and also celebrated Alou's 71st birthday. There was all kinds of atmosphere -- a full moon appeared off in the distance beyond right field and McCovey Cove in the early innings.
But Kenny Lofton hit a two-run single in the Dodgers' three-run third off Matt Morris (2-4) and singled in another run in the fifth for a season-high three RBI. Nomar Garciaparra had three hits and drove in a run for the sixth straight game.
Brad Penny pitched five scoreless innings as the Dodgers won for the sixth time in seven games since a season-long five-game skid. Penny came out because of stiffness in his back.
"I don't care who hits a home run, Bonds or whoever," said Penny, who doesn't expect to miss a start because of his back. "I don't think about that at all. It's his personal stats."
The Giants did get a homer from Pedro Feliz for their only run. Bonds last homered Sunday night at Philadelphia, hitting a 450-foot shot to right for his fifth of the season.
The 41-year-old Bonds was intentionally walked in the first, popped out to shortstop in the third, lined out to right leading off the sixth and reached in the eighth on a fielder's choice when second baseman Jeff Kent dropped his popup.
Kent threw to second for a forceout, and the Dodgers nearly doubled up Bonds, who had turned back toward the dugout before running to first and barely beating the relay throw.
There was speculation Kent dropped the ball on purpose. He clashed with Bonds when they were teammates here and even scuffled in the dugout.
"That's the question of the day," Kent said. "I don't give away my secrets. I'm the wrong guy to ask."
It was an electric, playoff-like atmosphere for "Orange Friday" -- and this night thousands of fans sported orange wigs with a black stripe down the middle. They stood for each Bonds at-bat, something the crowd didn't always do during the previous series against the Cubs.
"Pitch to Barry!" one man hollered at Dodgers reliever Joe Beimel in the sixth.
The left fielder -- a Gold Glover at the position in his prime -- took only a few steps toward left-center on Willy Aybar's RBI double in the sixth, apparently convinced Finley had it covered even though it was clearly Bonds' play to make. Bonds had words with Finley afterward.
"We know he has a lack of range," Alou said. "It didn't lose the game for us tonight. But we know he lacks range. We know the reason. He didn't play last year. He's not 100 percent in shape right now, and he's going to be 42. I don't know many 42-year-olds who have good range."
Finley said he thought he saw Bonds put up his glove and slowed up, calling it "an honest mistake."
"I should have gone hard all the way," Finley said.
Bonds is eager to pass Ruth and rid himself of the fanfare that has surrounded the chase. It has to be a distraction.
"I don't try to think about it," Bonds said recently. "But that moment I will think about it."
Penny (3-1), who has allowed three homers to Bonds, gave up two hits, struck out three and walked three for his second straight victory following a four-start losing streak.
Alou hoped to have Bonds in the starting lineup for Saturday's day game after the slugger said earlier this week he wanted to play every game through the weekend. He started Thursday's day game after a night game against Chicago -- not always his practice in recent seasons.
"I don't know," Alou said after the game. "I won't write the lineup early. I'm going to take my time tomorrow."
The Dodgers aren't about to let Bonds beat them. Los Angeles has allowed the third-most home runs to Bonds of any team with 62, behind San Diego's 82 and 63 by the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals.
Dodgers skipper Grady Little said Los Angeles would be picky about when to pitch to him.
"We know there's not another Barry Bonds coming up after him," Little said.
Penny intentionally walked Bonds with two outs in the first and Omar Vizquel on second. Fans waved orange and yellow rubber chickens from all directions.
Morris, in his first season with the Giants following nine with St. Louis, lost his fourth straight decision. He is winless in six outings since starting the year with two victories.
Ray Durham returned from the disabled list for the Giants and went hitless after being sidelined since April 28 with a left hamstring strain.
- Bonds drew his 16th intentional walk of the season. He played all nine innings.
- The Dodgers placed 3B Bill Mueller on the 15-day disabled list with soreness in his right knee and recalled infielder Oscar Robles from Triple-A Las Vegas.