Atlanta at San Francisco

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Atlanta (53-47) «300100000481
San Francisco (41-56)100000100280

Bonds goes homerless as Smoltz, Braves quiet Giants

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds' home fans might have to wait a while to celebrate history.

COMMENTARY
Old Giants falling in deeper hole while Barry circus continues
by Scott Miller
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John Smoltz silenced the sellout crowd eager to see another home run, keeping Bonds stuck at 753 in the Atlanta Braves' 4-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday night.

Bonds returned from a seven-game trip two homers shy of tying Hank Aaron's record of 755, but was 1-for-3 with a single and a walk. His eighth-inning single up the middle off Rafael Soriano was his first hit since connecting for two homers Thursday against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

"It's a tremendous challenge and I like to go after him," Smoltz said. "There's an aura now that is pretty high. It's weird to think about a lineup and you know he's one of the best, but now he's chasing something that everybody's going to ask you questions all year about. ...

"It's the longest I ever slept the night before a game. These are some pretty good fans and I didn't want them following me back to the hotel if I walked him three times."

Commissioner Bud Selig was a no-show for Bonds' welcome home party on a picture-perfect summer night in the Bay Area, where Bonds faced another one of the Hammer's former teams in the opener of a four-game series. The Giants took two of three in a weekend series at Milwaukee, where Aaron started and finished his career.

Brian McCann hit a three-run double in the first to stake Smoltz (10-5) to a quick lead. Smoltz has surrendered eight home runs to Bonds, but none since giving up two on Aug. 9, 1998.

On this night, pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney received a curtain call -- not Bonds, who reportedly failed an amphetamines test in 2006 and attributed it to something he took from Sweeney's locker. Bonds issued a public apology that Sweeney became involved.

Sweeney's pinch-hit double leading off the seventh tied Bonds with Manny Mota for second place with 150 pinch hits, trailing only Lenny Harris (212).

Nikolai Bonds, the slugger's 17-year-old son, congratulated Sweeney with a handshake in the clubhouse afterward.

For Sweeney, getting the hit off Smoltz meant a lot. So did the tribute and curtain call.

"It's amazing. You don't think of that as a player," he said. "It's very humbling."

Fans jumped to their feet and cheered when Bonds strolled to the batter's box in the first, then again each time he came to the plate.

The slugger walked on full count, and Smoltz got earfuls of boos from every corner of the Giants' waterfront ballpark. Boats were out in force beyond the right-field arcade in McCovey Cove, fans hopeful of leaving with a Bonds home run ball.

"He swung the bat well tonight," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who planned to play No. 25 again Tuesday. "Smoltz is one of the best pitchers in the game. He was being careful, you could tell. He was throwing everything at him. He wasn't giving him a lot of pitches to hit."

Bonds grounded out to second leading off the fourth after fouling off the first two pitches he saw, then grounded out to second again starting the sixth. Earlier in that at-bat, Smoltz threw an inside pitch that nearly clipped Bonds' knees and had him jumping out of the way. Bonds briefly stared at the mound but after his out they exchanged words and smiled.

"I can't divulge what he was saying, but we have a lot of respect for each other," Smoltz said. "We've battled for so long. I can't think of pitchers other than (Greg) Maddux and (Tom) Glavine ... we've all stayed in the National League, been there 20 years and so has he, so the history speaks for itself."

Smoltz, making his second start since coming off the disabled list because of an inflamed right shoulder, helped his own cause with a squeeze bunt up the first-base line in the fourth to make it 4-1.

He got something to show for his efforts this time after a no-decision July 18 against Cincinnati in which he pitched seven scoreless innings. Smoltz allowed two runs -- one earned -- and seven hits in seven innings.

Soriano pitched the eighth, and Bob Wickman finished for his 17th save in 21 chances and first since July 5.

Bonds, set to celebrate his 43rd birthday in front of his home fans Tuesday night, started only three games during the team's recent seven-game road trip.

A new "Road to History" logo was added on the left-field wall behind Bonds' defensive spot. It replaced another called "Giant Among Legends" featuring Bonds, godfather Willie Mays, Aaron and Babe Ruth.

With the team back in town, San Francisco showed a video tribute to Bonds on the main scoreboard recapping his two-homer game at Wrigley Field on Thursday that got him within two of tying Aaron.

Then, Bonds got a surprise video greeting from Hall of Fame 49ers quarterback Joe Montana.

"Hey Barry, Joe Montana here. Congratulations on a great career and good luck on the road to history, and remember don't just break that record, give 'em a number that no one will reach."

Bonds watched with his hands on his hips, then clapped into his glove with a slight grin.

"Yeah, I do marvel at it," Bochy said of Bonds' accomplishments for his age. "Sometimes you forget he is going to hit 43 tomorrow because of the way he swings the bat."

Matt Cain (3-12) lost his third straight start and ninth decision out of his last 10. He needed 18½ minutes and 43 pitches to get out of the first.

Notes

  • San Francisco's Pedro Feliz had his career high-tying 10-game hitting streak stopped.
  • Julio Franco, who'll be 49 next month, was in the starting lineup for the fourth time in five games since Atlanta signed him last week. He doubled high off the wall in right in the fourth.
  • Smoltz has his most career losses (15) against San Francisco.
  • The Giants drew 42,679 fans for their 22nd sellout.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Although Barry Bonds musters a hit, he's unable to launch home run No. 754.  (Getty Images)
Although Barry Bonds musters a hit, he's unable to launch home run No. 754. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Atlanta

B. McCann
AB 4
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 3
Atlanta

J. Smoltz
IP 7.0
H 7
ER 1
BB 2
K 4
 

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Atlanta Braves
Willie Harris, LF4000111 .325
Edgar Renteria, SS4110102 .334
Chipper Jones, 3B5110021 .342
Andruw Jones, CF3110110 .215
Brian McCann, C4013001 .268
Jeff Francoeur, RF3000101 .292
Kelly Johnson, 2B3120102 .295
Julio Franco, 1B4020003 .197
John Smoltz, P2001001 .100
   a- Matt Diaz, PH1000011 .351
    Rafael Soriano, P0000000 .000
    Bob Wickman, P0000000 .000
Totals3348455  
a-struck out for Smoltz in the 8th
Batting
2B - Andruw Jones (18, Cain), Brian McCann (23, Cain), Julio Franco (1, Cain)
SH - John Smoltz (7)
RBI - Brian McCann 3 (57), John Smoltz (1)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Franco-Renteria, Renteria-Johnson-Franco, Renteria-Johnson-Franco
E - Edgar Renteria (9, Misplayed grounder)
Atlanta Braves
John Smoltz (W,10-5) 7721240 2.78
Rafael Soriano (H,16) 1100010 3.68
Bob Wickman (S,17) 1000010 4.11
WP - John Smoltz (6)
Pitches-Strikes - John Smoltz 84-63, Rafael Soriano 10-5, Bob Wickman 10-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Smoltz 14-2, Rafael Soriano 1-0, Bob Wickman 1-1
Batters Faced - John Smoltz 29, Rafael Soriano 3, Bob Wickman 3
San Francisco Giants
Dave Roberts, CF3120100 .254
Randy Winn, RF4020002 .296
Ray Durham, 2B4000023 .241
Barry Bonds, LF3010100 .280
Ryan Klesko, 1B4010023 .279
Bengie Molina, C4000013 .267
Pedro Feliz, 3B2000001 .247
    Jack Taschner, P0000000 .000
   a- Mark Sweeney, PH1110000 .211
    Jonathan Sanchez, P00000001.000
   b- Fred Lewis, PH1000010 .270
Omar Vizquel, SS4010000 .245
Matt Cain, P1000000 .029
    Kevin Frandsen, 3B2000000 .246
Totals3328026  
a-doubled for Taschner in the 7th
b-struck out for Sanchez in the 9th
Batting
2B - Mark Sweeney (7, Smoltz)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Feliz-Durham-Klesko
San Francisco Giants
Matt Cain (L,3-12) 4.1644420 4.02
Jack Taschner 2.2100110 6.00
Jonathan Sanchez 2100020 3.54
IBB - Francoeur by Jack Taschner
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Cain 95-57, Jack Taschner 41-24, Jonathan Sanchez 24-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Cain 5-5, Jack Taschner 5-2, Jonathan Sanchez 3-1
Batters Faced - Matt Cain 22, Jack Taschner 10, Jonathan Sanchez 7
Game Information
Attendance - 42679
Game Time - 2:40
Temperature - 65
Umpires - Home - Mark Wegner, First Base - Bruce Froemming, Second Base - Mike Winters, Third Base - Brian Runge