Barry Bonds’ swing may be closer to 100 percent than his physical health.
The veteran left fielder looks to continue drawing closer to Babe Ruth for second on the all-time home run list as the San Francisco Giants begin a three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park.
After going his first 13 games of the season without a homer, Bonds has homered on consecutive days and has three in his last five games to raise his total to 711, three fewer than Ruth. He had a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning that lifted the Giants (11-10) into a tie of an eventual 9-7, 11-inning loss Wednesday to the New York Mets.
“I haven’t thought about that right now,” Bonds said of catching Ruth. “I’ll think about it later.”
Bonds did not start Wednesday’s game, which was a day game after a night game in which he noticably limped around the bases following a second-inning homer Tuesday. But he still was able to catch enough of a 99 mph fastball from Mets closer Billy Wagner to send it into the seats over the left-center field fence.
“Especially off Billy, it’s crazy,” Bonds said of his fourth career pinch-hit homer, his first since Aug. 23, 2001, at Montreal. “I haven’t hit a ball like that off him ever. Ever. … It was a big boost for us.”
And perhaps for the embattled Bonds. The 41-year-old left fielder has done well against Diamondbacks scheduled starter Miguel Batista (2-0, 5.16 ERA), going 8-for-26 (.308) with four homers and seven RBIs. Giants manager Felipe Alou plans to start Bonds for at least two games of this series, leaving Saturday open depending on how Bonds’ surgically repaired right knee and swollen left elbow feel.
The off-field news surrounding Bonds also continued Wednesday, when the San Jose Mercury News reported that Bonds’ personal trainer, Greg Anderson, has been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jusry investigating whether Bonds committed perjury in December 2003. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Bonds testified that he did not knowingly take performance-enhancing drugs.
Bonds went 2-for-5 while playing in three of the four games of the Giants’ four-game split April 17-20 at Arizona. He was 1-for-2 with an intentional walk against Batista in the Giants’ 10-9 win April 17.
While Bonds’ hitting has improved, Giants right fielder Moises Alou went 7-for-12 with a homer and seven RBIs in the three-game series with the Mets.
Alou hopes an extra day of rest will benefit Giants staff ace Jason Schmidt (0-2, 5.33). Originally scheduled to start Wednesday, Schmidt, who will be a free agent at season’s end, has won his last nine decisions against the Diamondbacks since an 8-5 defeat Sept. 5, 2002, and is 13-6 lifetime with a 3.18 ERA in 25 lifetime starts against Arizona.
The Diamondbacks (11-11) are 4-2 on a nine-game road trip against NL West rivals and limited the San Diego Padres to three runs in a three-game sweep. Right fielder Shawn Green is 16-for-36 (.444) with three homers and eight RBIs lifetime against Schmidt.
Arizona scored 33 runs in splitting its four games with San Francisco.
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