San Francisco slugger Barry Bonds has played some of his best baseball of the season against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He’ll have a good chance at continuing that play if Arizona starter Livan Hernandez doesn’t snap out of his recent slump.
Bonds tries to help the Giants avoid a third straight loss when they open a three-game series with the Diamondbacks on Friday at AT&T Park.
Bonds is batting .500 (9-for-18) with three homers against Arizona - his most this season against any opponent. After sitting out Wednesday’s 4-2 defeat to the San Diego Padres, he will resume his quest for Hank Aaron’s record of 755 homers.
Bonds has 749 career homers, including 15 in 2007, and is 6-for-14 with three homers during his career versus Hernandez (5-5, 4.68 ERA). The Diamondbacks right-hander is 0-3 with a 7.67 ERA and a .371 opponent batting average over his last five starts.
He gave up four runs and nine hits, including a homer, over four innings on Saturday, but escaped without a decision in a 7-4 victory over Baltimore.
“I felt much better today,” said Hernandez, who played for the Giants from 1999-2002. “I’m close. I’m close to getting better and maybe the next time will be better.”
Hernandez is 3-4 with a 2.82 ERA in 10 career starts versus San Francisco (33-44).
The Diamondbacks (45-35) have won five of nine matchups between the teams this season, but they were swept in the only series in San Francisco.
The Giants have won 10 of the last 13 home meetings, but enter this series slumping. San Francisco dropped the final two games of its recent three-game set with the Padres and is 9-22 since May 25.
Despite the poor stretch, San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said his team remains focused.
“We come out here every day and give it our best. We’re professionals, all of us - myself, the staff, the players,” Bochy told the Giants’ official Web site. “We’re paid to do a job and that’s come out here and give it your best. That’s what we have to keep doing.”
Arizona is also trying to regroup after losing three of four games to the Los Angeles Dodgers, including a 9-5 defeat on Thursday. Randy Johnson struggled in his return from the 15-day disabled list and the Diamondbacks gave up 16 total hits.
They fell one-half game out of the NL West lead, behind San Diego and Los Angeles, who are separated by one percentage point. Arizona will open its 10-game road trip against Matt Morris (7-4, 3.39).
The right-hander is 4-5 with a 3.36 ERA in 12 career games versus the Diamondbacks, but has lost twice to Arizona in 2007. He limited the Diamondbacks to one run and seven hits while striking out six in a complete-game effort on June 6, but fell 1-0 as Brandon Webb got the win.
Morris gave up four runs and a career-high tying 13 hits over 5 2-3 innings of Saturday’s 6-5, 13-inning win over the New York Yankees.