Someday soon, Barry Bonds hopes to pass Hank Aaron and become baseball’s all-time home run leader. On Tuesday, the Giants slugger will get a chance to join the 700-homer club in the city where Aaron did much of his damage.
A game after moving to the brink of the milestone, Bonds and the Giants open a three-game series against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Bonds hit a 460-foot solo shot for his 699th homer in the Giants’ 5-2 victory over Arizona on Sunday. The Diamondbacks walked him six times in the series to add to his major league-record total of 203, but Bonds got a 3-1 fastball from Mike Koplove in the ninth inning and drove it off the scoreboard in center field.
“It starts wearing on you about the fifth or sixth inning, and you can’t keep that energy level up as high as you used to,” Bonds said of being walked so much. “It gets really difficult. I have to dig deep and try to pace myself and not talk so much before games and just really isolate myself to keep my energy up.”
After Sunday’s victory, Bonds had the Giants’ off-day to rest up as he tries to join Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714) as the only players with 700 home runs.
“People living in a capitalistic country like this, they want their money’s worth,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said. “I believe they came to see that guy swing a bat.”
Many more fans are likely to be on hand wanting to see Bonds swing Tuesday. Getting his 700th in Milwaukee would be somewhat fitting for Bonds in his pursuit of Aaron, who hit 195 of his homers in the city while playing for the Braves from 1954-65, and the Brewers from 1975-76.
Bonds has homered 10 times in Milwaukee, hitting six at County Stadium and four at Miller Park. On Tuesday, he’ll be facing left-hander Doug Davis, who has allowed one homer to Bonds in three career at-bats.
The Giants will be looking to increase their wild-card lead as they come into this matchup with the last-place Brewers. San Francisco is trying to hold off five teams for the tightly contested playoff spot.
On Sunday, Jason Schmidt pitched a four-hitter for his 16th win, striking out nine and walking two in his fourth complete game of the season. San Francisco’s ace retired 22 of his last 23 batters in snapping a four-game winless streak.
The Brewers are coming off an 11-0 rout of the Reds on Sunday. Third baseman Russell Branyan homered twice and drove in three runs against his former team as Milwaukee earned a split of the four-game set.