Philadelphia (12-15) at San Francisco (14-12)

Cloudy Currently: San Francisco, CA
Temp: 46° F
  • Game info: 10:15 pm EDT Thu May 3, 2007
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Despite opposing teams’ reluctance to pitch to him, San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds is drawing closer to the all-time home run mark.

Bonds looks to inch nearer to Hank Aaron’s record as the Giants open a four-game series with the Philadelphia Phillies Thursday at AT&T Park.

Bonds hit his 743rd homer in the Giants’ 5-3 win over Colorado on Wednesday, moving within 12 of Aaron’s standard of 755. The home run was the first since Saturday for Bonds, who has drawn 10 walks in his last seven games—including three in Monday’s victory.

Bonds also added a go-ahead two-run single with the bases loaded in the eighth inning to finish with four RBIs. He has nine homers and has driven in 21 runs while batting .343 thus far.

“Oh, man, that’s a situation you hope for,” teammate Ryan Klesko said of seeing Bonds in the batter’s box with the bases loaded. “You’ve got to pitch to him with the bases loaded—though I’ve seen them walk him with the bases loaded.”

Bonds has a good chance to get closer to Aaron while playing the Phillies. He has 63 career homers against Philadelphia—tied for his third most against any team. Bonds is 8-for-23 (.348) with four homers and five walks all-time against Philadelphia’s Adam Eaton (2-2, 7.71 ERA), who will start in the series opener.

The Giants (14-12) took two of three from the Rockies after being swept in three games at Arizona. Closer Armando Benitez was unavailable Wednesday because of a sore right knee but hopes to be ready for this series.

The Giants have dropped 10 of their last 12 games against the Phillies, including four of the last five in San Francisco.

Philadelphia (12-15) has lost four of its last seven, including Wednesday’s 4-3 defeat in Atlanta. Ryan Howard, who led the majors with 58 homers in 2006, hit just his fourth this season, but struck out three times and is batting just .217.

“Everybody has had my number. Who hasn’t?” he said. “Everybody knows I haven’t been hitting the ball very well.”

The Phillies are playing the fourth game of a 10-game road trip that ends with a three-game set in Arizona. They will be without closer Tom Gordon, who was sent back to Philadelphia after Wednesday’s loss to have his sore right shoulder examined.

“He has some discomfort in his shoulder,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “We won’t know more until they check him out.”

Gordon, who is 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA and five saves, has already blown three save opportunities after squandering five in 39 chances in 2006.

Eaton will be looking to bounce back after he was tagged for seven runs and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings of Saturday’s 11-5 loss to Florida. In his last three starts, Eaton, who signed a 3-year, $24.5 million deal with the Phillies in the offseason, has allowed 15 runs in 16 1-3 innings.

“It’s frustrating, definitely not a good game for me,” he said. “I just didn’t pitch well.”

Eaton is 2-5 with a 4.57 ERA in 13 career starts against the Giants and 1-2 with a 4.62 ERA in six outings at AT&T Park.

San Francisco will counter with Matt Cain (1-1, 1.54), who allowed just one run and one hit in six innings of the Giants’ 5-4 loss at Arizona on Saturday, but did not receive a decision. The 22-year-old, whose ERA ranks fourth in the majors, has allowed one run or less in each of his last four starts, and batters are hitting just .109 against him.

Cain went 0-1 with a 6.30 ERA in two lifetime starts against the Phillies, and both came last season. However, he allowed just one run in six innings without receiving a decision in his last game against them on July 16.

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Starting Pitchers

A. Eaton Col vs. M. Cain SF
10-10 Record 7-16
6.29 ERA 3.65
97 K 163
71 BB 79
1.63 WHIP 1.26

Scoreboard

Thursday, May 3