Los Angeles (67-79) at San Francisco (66-80)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: San Francisco, CA
Temp: 64° F
  • Game info: 10:15 pm EDT Fri Sep 16, 2005
  • TV: KCOP, KTVU
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The return of Barry Bonds was supposed to help the San Francisco Giants make a late charge for the NL West title. For one night, the archrival Los Angeles Dodgers had other ideas.

The defending division champions will shoot for their fourth straight win over the Giants when the teams continue their four-game series at SBC Park.

While neither Los Angeles nor San Francisco has played well enough of late to move past struggling San Diego in the mediocre West, the Dodgers did move one game in front of the Giants and 5 1/2 back of the Padres with Thursday’s series-opening 7-1 victory.

Rookie Willy Aybar drove in a career-high three runs, Jose Cruz Jr. hit an RBI triple and Derek Lowe won his third straight decision for Los Angeles, which has won six of its last nine games.

The Dodgers also took the final two games of their three-game set with the Giants from Sept. 5-7 in Los Angeles.

Making his third start since coming off the 60-day disabled list Monday, Bonds had everybody gasping in the fourth inning when he hit a towering shot that splashed into McCovey Cove beyond the right-field fence—but it was foul by two feet. A canoeist in the cove jumped into the water to retrieve the ball.

Bonds, with flashbulbs still clicking at his every move, thought he had career homer No. 704. The slugger started to run toward first then said “Oh,” smiling as he headed back for the batter’s box. He flied out to center four pitches later.

In the second inning, Bonds grounded out on the first pitch he saw. He flied out to center again in the seventh, and a mass exodus of fans followed moments later. Todd Linden then replaced Bonds in left field.

Manager Felipe Alou hopes Bonds will play three of the four games against the Dodgers, likely taking Saturday’s day game off since it follows a night game—often Bonds’ practice in recent seasons. Bonds made his season debut Monday after recovering from three operations on his right knee since Jan. 31.

Dodgers manager Jim Tracy didn’t even have to be asked how he would handle the seven-time NL MVP.

“I’m walking him,” Tracy said with a smile.

“More than likely, he’s the best offensive player in the history of this game. That’s who he is. … I was teasing him the other day, I said, ‘Unless you come to the plate with two crutches and a handicap sign around your neck, if you have one crutch and a ball bat, we’re going to have to consider walking you,’ and he laughed.”

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