San Francisco (54-44) at St. Louis (61-35)

Cloudy Currently: St. Louis, MO, US
Temp: 52° F
  • Game info: 3:15 pm EDT Sat Jul 24, 2004
  • TV: FOX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Barry Bonds will try to celebrate his 40th birthday with a blast when the San Francisco Giants resume a three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

Bonds spent his last day as a 39-year-old in familiar fashion, belting a three-run homer to lead the Giants to a 7-2 victory on Friday. The six-time NL MVP backed a strong pitching performance by Dustin Hermanson, who took a no-hitter into the seventh before giving up a solo homer to St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols.

Bonds’ 25th homer of the season, and 683rd of his career, gave the Giants a 6-0 lead in the seventh. He had been 0-for-8 career against Cardinals starter Jeff Suppan before launching a 3-1 fastball over the right-field wall for his first homer in five days.

St. Louis manager Tony La Russa lamented his decision to pitch to Bonds with runners on base.

“That situation, as soon as the count got away from us that’s my mistake,” La Russa said. “That’s where he should have been walked.

“That’s my call and I messed that one up.”

Bonds wasn’t surprised that La Russa switched to a left-handed reliever, Ray King, for his final at-bat.

“It don’t matter, I’ve hit .300-plus off left-handers,” Bonds said. “I don’t care who you bring in. Throw it over the plate.”

A stint on the 15-day disabled list appears to have turned Brett Tomko’s season around. The veteran right-hander will try to continue his resurgence when he takes the mound for the Giants on Saturday.

Tomko was 1-4 with a 5.86 ERA in 12 outings before landing on the DL in early June with inflammation in his right elbow. Since returning to the rotation on June 24, Tomko has orchestrated a complete turnaround.

He is 4-1 with a 2.55 ERA over his last five starts, including a 6-1 victory at Arizona on Monday. Tomko allowed one run and nine hits over 7 1-3 innings for his second straight win.

Tomko credits the chemistry he’s developed with catcher A.J. Pierzynski for his strong comeback.

“The first day back against (Los Angeles on June 24), A.J. caught the game,” Tomko said. “I don’t even think anything was said, to be honest. It was working, and then we did L.A. again five days later, and it’s just become a trend. He’s done a great job.”

Ray Durham also homered Friday for the Giants, who ended the Cardinals’ 27-inning shutout streak with two runs in the fourth inning. St. Louis had shut out Milwaukee the previous two games.

The Cardinals, who have the NL’s best record, had their five-game winning streak snapped.

The Giants ended a two-game losing streak and improved to 6-1 against St. Louis over the last two seasons.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Tomko COL vs. C. Carpenter STL
11-7 Record 15-5
4.04 ERA 3.46
108 K 152
64 BB 38
1.34 WHIP 1.14