Barry Bonds will not compete in the Home Run Derby during the All-Star break. He doesn’t need to—he’s putting on a show of his own.
Bonds has homered in five consecutive games and eight of his last nine. On Saturday, the 38-year-old slugger belted a mammoth 448-foot shot off Diamondbacks starter Curt Schilling to lead the Giants to an 8-1 rout.
“His swing is special right now,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said of Bonds. “He’s getting around some fastballs that I don’t remember any guys getting around at that age, and to pull them a long ways like he did that one from Schilling today.”
Bonds’ homer was his major league-leading 30th, making him only the second player in history with 12 straight 30-homer seasons. Jimmie Foxx did it from 1929-40.
Bonds has 13 30-homer seasons overall. Only Hank Aaron, the all-time leader with 755 career homers, has more with 15.
While Bonds tries to continue his power surge, the Giants will look to extend their lead over the Diamondbacks in the National League West. San Francisco has won five of seven to open a six-game bulge.
The Diamondbacks have been outscored 32-10 while losing three in a row for the first time since May 15-17. They trail the Philadelphia Phillies by two games in the NL wild card race.
“It’s what happens when big league hitters get pitches to hit,” Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly said. “We’ve just made some mistakes in the strike zone and they’ve hit them hard.”
STANDINGS: Giants - 1st place, NL West. Diamondbacks - 2nd place, 6 GB, NL West.
GIANTS PROBABLE STARTER: Jim Brower (5-1, 3.60 ERA). Brower, who has made 29 relief appearances, will be starting just his second game this season. In his only previous start on July 1, he went six innings, giving up one run and five hits in a 5-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. In three career games against the Diamondbacks, the 30-year-old right-hander is 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA.
DIAMONDBACKS PROBABLE STARTER: Brandon Webb (6-2, 2.18 ERA). One of baseball’s most impressive rookie pitchers, Webb will be looking to win his fourth consecutive start. He worked seven innings on Tuesday, allowing three runs and seven hits in a 9-3 win over the Colorado Rockies. He struck out nine and walked just one. The 24-year-old right-hander has never faced the Giants.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Giants - Bonds, .319 avg., 30 HRs, 63 RBIs and 67 runs; Bonds, Marquis Grissom and Ray Durham, 7 SBs. Diamondbacks - Luis Gonzalez, .311 avg., 18 HRs, 65 RBIs and 61 runs; David Dellucci and Tony Womack, 8 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Giants, 6-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Giants - 1B J.T. Snow has committed errors in each of the past two games. He has just three this season, all against Arizona. … CF Grissom’s infield single in the seventh on Saturday was the 2,000th hit of his career. … RF Jose Cruz’s next homer will be the 150th of his career. Diamondbacks - Arizona optioned RHP Andrew Good to Triple-A Tucson on Saturday to make room for RHP Schilling, who came off the disabled list. … 3B Shea Hillenbrand went 0-for-3 on Saturday, snapping a nine-game hitting streak. … LF Gonzalez is 1-for-26 (.038) against San Francisco this season.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Giants - 30-21 on the road; Diamondbacks - 27-21 at home.
INJURIES: Giants - OF Marvin Benard (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Kurt Ainsworth (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Robb Nen (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Kirk Rueter (shoulder), 15-day DL. Diamondbacks - C Rod Barajas (wrist), 15-day DL; INF Junior Spivey (ankle), 15-day DL; INF Tony Womack (knee), 15-day DL; OF Danny Bautista (hamstring), 15-day DL; RHP Mike Koplove (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Randy Johnson (knee), 60-day DL; RHP Bret Prinz (groin), 60-day DL.