Barry Bonds’ quest to become baseball’s home run king resumes after a brief break.
Bonds will try to take a step closer to Hank Aaron’s all-time record when the Giants meet the New York Mets on Monday night at AT&T Park to begin a three-game series.
Bonds sat out the Giants’ 8-5 loss to Philadelphia on Sunday, a day after hitting his 744th career homer to move within 11 of tying Aaron’s record. The 42-year-old Bonds has homered in two of his last four games and has 10 of the Giants’ 23 homers this season.
The seven-time NL MVP has 37 homers in 222 games versus the Mets (19-10) but only is 1-for-7 with three strikeouts against Oliver Perez, who will start the opener.
Perez (3-2, 3.41 ERA) has gotten off to a strong start after going 10-18 with a 6.22 ERA over his previous two seasons with New York and Pittsburgh. He allowed three runs - one earned - and three hits with a season-high 10 strikeouts in Wednesday’s 6-3 win over Florida.
“I’m starting to feel more confident. I’m feeling really good right now,” said Perez, who had a career-high 12 wins for Pittsburgh in 2004.
The right-hander has struck out 28 while walking only three in 19 1-3 innings over his last three starts. He also leads the majors with 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings.
Perez, making his first start against the Giants since 2005, is 0-3 with a 6.60 ERA in six career starts against them.
Bonds will try again to provide Barry Zito (2-3, 3.52) with some run support for San Francisco. He allowed two runs in seven innings of the Giants’ 5-3 win over Colorado on Wednesday, but got just two runs from his offense and did not receive a decision.
Zito has received two or fewer runs of support in five of his six starts. Bonds has homered in two of those outings.
“It’s not just me,” said Zito, who has never faced the Mets. “He’s helping out everyone.”
Zito, who signed a seven-year, $126 million deal as a free agent in the offseason, has allowed only five runs in 27 1-3 innings over his last four starts after giving up 11 in 11 innings while losing in his first two outings. The Mets tried to come to terms with Zito, but were unwilling to offer more than five years.
New York is coming off a 3-1 loss to the Diamondbacks on Sunday, ending a 13-game winning streak in Arizona. The Mets, who are tied atop the NL East with Atlanta, are confident heading into San Francisco where they’ve dropped 17 of their last 23 since 2000.
“We came in here and we played well and hopefully that continues on to San Francisco,” New York’s David Wright said.
Carlos Beltran, the Mets’ leader with seven homers and 26 RBIs, didn’t start because of sore legs but fouled out as a pinch-hitter to end the game. Moises Alou, who spent the previous two seasons with San Francisco, missed his third game with a hurt left knee, but manager Willie Randolph said he expects the 40-year-old left fielder to return for this contest.