|San Francisco «||1||0||0||4||0||0||1||0||0||6||10||0|
How about that for adding to the intrigue of Bonds' pursuit to pass the Babe?
Bonds' quest to move past Babe Ruth and into sole possession of second place on the career home run list is headed for San Francisco, where the Giants open a three-game series Monday night against Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals.
Bonds went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and an intentional walk and Matt Cain pitched a one-hitter in the Giants' anticlimactic 6-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Sunday. Bonds remained at 714 home runs a day after connecting for a solo shot to tie Ruth for second behind home run king Hank Aaron's 755.
"I'm just glad it's over with and you guys can watch Albert Pujols now, because he's doing some wonderful things," Bonds said of his Cardinals counterpart, who hit his major league-leading 22nd homer Sunday with a solo shot in a 10-3 win at Kansas City.
Pujols homered for the third straight game and reached 22 homers in only 44 games, the second-fewest in baseball history. Bonds did it in 43 games in 2001 on the way to 73 homers and breaking Mark McGwire's single-season record of 70.
"The difference is Albert has been doing it four years, five years," Giants catcher Mike Matheny said. "Barry's been doing it for 20."
The Giants are playing some of their best baseball -- and looked good through the rain that fell for most of Sunday's contest.
Mark Sweeney hit a two-run double, Randy Winn singled in two runs and Ray Durham drove in a run on a groundout to help Cain (2-5) end a three-game losing streak. Cain picked up his second career complete game and first shutout, and San Francisco took two of three in the Bay Bridge Series to win its second consecutive series after sweeping the defending NL champion Houston Astros last week.
Bonds was intentionally walked for the 20th time this season -- his 43rd free pass overall -- in the first with runners on second and third with one out, and he quickly shed his protective body armor and handed it off to his 16-year-old son, bat boy Nikolai.
Manager Felipe Alou has been pleased with Bonds' recent hitting success.
"I've been waiting, wanting to see Barry hit .300 and be the hitter he is," Alou said. "It took a little time for him to get into a groove, but it's coming on."
Bonds singled to center in the fourth and scored on Sweeney's double, grounded out in the fifth, then lined a single to right in the seventh. When he was lifted for pinch-hitter Dan Ortmeier in the ninth, the fans booed loudly and many made a mad rush for the exits.
"Keep the attention on him because he deserves that," Pujols said. "I admire the way he's played the game. Hopefully, he can get that record this year."
The Giants' pitchers will have to try to slow down Pujols, who also is tops in the majors with 53 RBI, 56 runs scored and 118 total bases. He already had a four-game homer streak this season between April 15-18.
It should be a fun series if Bonds keeps hitting.
Slowly, he seems to be finding his old stroke again -- so there's a good chance he will hit his next milestone home run at home after all as he has so many times before.
"It's something we kind of enjoy, too," Sweeney said. "It is a part of history. Let's not make light of it. Yesterday was a special moment. Hopefully he can do it at home."
The 41-year-old Bonds has hit three homers in 14 career at-bats against St. Louis lefty Mark Mulder (5-1), who starts Monday's series opener for St. Louis.
Bonds has hit most of his other milestone home runs in San Francisco: 500, 600, 700 along with 660 and 661 to tie and pass godfather Willie Mays. In 2001, Bonds hit the final three of his 73 homers at home to break McGwire's mark.
Bonds and many others considered 714 a bigger accomplishment than actually passing Ruth, the same way the slugger treated 660 to tie Mays for third place on the career list two years ago.
"What I've seen so far, 714 is more important," Alou said before the game. "To me, 715 because it might give us a win. All the expectations, all the articles -- I don't believe there will be so many articles and cameras for 715. If there are, I better find myself a place to hide somewhere. Everybody is talking about 714."
Though Alou knows Bonds' 714th certainly had his teammates happy -- not only for Bonds' accomplishment but also the idea that maybe the circus following the slugger's pursuit of Ruth might be nearing its final act.
That's if Cardinals manager Tony La Russa pitches to the seven-time NL MVP.
"Those guys were waiting for Barry to do it," Alou said. "They couldn't wait for him to do it, to get some of that expectation and pressure out of the way."
Cain, a rookie who had his turn skipped last Monday night at Houston to work out some of his problems, struck out five and walked three in an impressive 120-pitch performance. Jay Payton managed the only hit against him with a third-inning double.
"Skipping him, time to work on things, was good," Payton said. "He's young. He's got a great arm and he'll have some success up here."
The 21-year-old right-hander, called up from Triple-A Fresno on Aug. 26, won for the first time since April 24 against the New York Mets -- which had been his only victory in six 2006 decisions.
His veteran teammates -- Sweeney, Todd Greene and Jamey Wright -- called him over to a couch in the crowded visitor's clubhouse for a drink to celebrate the shutout and his return to the rotation. Cain has only been old enough to legally partake since Oct. 1.
"It's exciting," Cain said. "You can only get so many of them. You've got to have that little celebration because they don't come around that often."
The Giants knocked A's starter Joe Blanton (4-5) out of the game after four innings for his shortest outing of the year. Blanton, who had been ill in recent days, was looked at on the mound by trainer Larry Davis early but stayed in the game.
|Matt Cain's only hit allowed is Jay Payton's double to lead off the bottom of the third inning. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|San Francisco Giants|
|Randy Winn, RF||5||1||2||2||0||0||2||.287|
|Omar Vizquel, SS||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.291|
|Jason Ellison, LF||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||.263|
|Steve Finley, CF||4||1||0||0||1||0||1||.281|
|Barry Bonds, DH||3||1||2||0||1||0||0||.242|
|a- Daniel Ortmeier, PH-DH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.250|
|Ray Durham, 2B||4||0||1||1||1||0||2||.230|
|Pedro Feliz, 3B||4||1||0||0||1||3||5||.269|
|Mark Sweeney, LF-1B||4||1||1||2||0||1||0||.253|
|Mike Matheny, C||3||0||1||0||1||1||1||.254|
|Jose Vizcaino, 1B-SS||4||1||2||0||0||0||0||.193|
|a-struck out for Bonds in the 9th|
|2B - Mark Sweeney (8, Blanton)|
|RBI - Randy Winn 2 (19), Ray Durham (15), Mark Sweeney 2 (15)|
|2-OUT RBI - Randy Winn 2 (8)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|San Francisco Giants|
|Matt Cain (W,2-5)||9||1||0||0||3||5||0||5.47|
|Pitches-Strikes - Matt Cain 120-80|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Cain 10-12|
|Batters Faced - Matt Cain 31|
|Jason Kendall, C||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||.259|
|Nick Swisher, LF||3||0||0||0||1||2||0||.287|
|Mark Kotsay, CF||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||.286|
|Eric Chavez, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||.281|
|Adam Melhuse, DH||2||0||0||0||1||1||0||.275|
|Bobby Crosby, SS||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.236|
|Jay Payton, RF||3||0||1||0||0||0||1||.259|
|Dan Johnson, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.191|
|Marco Scutaro, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.153|
|2B - Jay Payton (7, Cain)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|PB - Jason Kendall (4)|
|Joe Blanton (L,4-5)||4||6||5||5||2||2||0||6.24|
|IBB - Bonds by Joe Blanton|
|WP - Chad Gaudin (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Joe Blanton 77-45, Chad Gaudin 54-29, Ron Flores 20-14, Santiago Casilla 13-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Blanton 5-5, Chad Gaudin 3-5, Ron Flores 1-0, Santiago Casilla 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Joe Blanton 20, Chad Gaudin 13, Ron Flores 5, Santiago Casilla 4|
|Attendance - 35077|
|Game Time - 2:25|
|Temperature - 67|
|Umpires - Home - Tim Tschida, First Base - Ted Barrett, Second Base - Troy Fullwood, Third Base - Rick Reed|