San Francisco (37-47) at St. Louis (39-44)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 71° F
  • Game info: 7:15 pm EDT Sat Jul 7, 2007
  • TV: FSBA, FSMW
Preview | Box Score | Recap

A sore hip isn’t going to keep San Francisco slugger Barry Bonds from chasing Hank Aaron this weekend.

Bonds looks to move closer to the all-time home run mark Saturday when the Giants continue their three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

Bonds has 751 home runs, four shy of Aaron’s career record, and last homered Tuesday in the opener of a three-game series in Cincinnati. He sat out Wednesday’s game to rest his sore legs but pinched a nerve in his hip while swinging during Thursday’s series finale.

Still, he had his back adjusted during the game and continued to play. He said before Friday’s 4-3 win that he felt “good” and went 0-for-1 with three walks in the opener of this set in front of a hostile crowd that showered him with plenty of jeers.

Manager Bruce Bochy pinch ran for him in the seventh inning, but said that the 42-year-old left fielder would most likely play through the weekend.

“I wanted to get him out of there,” Bochy said. “I know yesterday his hip bothered him a little bit. I wanted to get him off his legs. I hope he can play the next two.”

Bonds’ 10-game hitting streak, his longest since going 11 straight games with a hit from Aug. 2-19, 2003, came to an end.

The Giants (37-47) won for he fourth time in six games and improved to 3-0 against the Cardinals (39-44) this season. Omar Vizquel had two singles, tying him with Luis Aparicio for the most hits by a shortstop since 1957 with 2,532.

The Cardinals, meanwhile, lost for the second time in six games. Chris Duncan hit a two-run pinch-hit single for St. Louis, which took three of four from Arizona heading into this series.

St. Louis manager Tony La Russa, who has often chosen to have his pitchers attack Bonds instead of pitching around him, has insisted that he won’t let the home run chase affect how his team pitches to the slugger.

“Every time up there, he had at least a strike,” La Russa said. “You can’t have it both ways. He has a real good strike zone, so if he wants to take a walk, he can take the walk. We’re not going to throw it down the middle to him.”

Braden Looper (6-6, 4.65 ERA) will try to keep Bonds in the park on Saturday. Bonds is 2-for-5 with no homers and two walks all-time against him.

Looper is making his second start after a stint on the disabled list with a right shoulder strain. He threw five scoreless innings on Monday but ended up allowing three runs in six innings without getting a decision in the Cardinals’ 11-3 win over Arizona.

“I really tried to go out there and not overdo it. I was able to stay within myself for the most part. After being out 15 days, I’ll take it,” he told the Cardinals’ official team Web site. “I just want to go out and give my team a chance to win, and that’s what I did today.”

Looper, who had not started before this season, is 0-1 with a 4.28 ERA in 29 career relief appearances against the Giants.

San Francisco will counter with Tim Lincecum (3-2, 4.64), who nearly had his last turn in the rotation skipped because of off days and his own recent struggles. But the Giants gave the rookie right-hander the ball, and he rewarded them with his second straight impressive start, throwing seven sharp innings in Sunday’s 13-0 win over Arizona.

Lincecum also threw seven scoreless innings in the Giants’ 11-inning, 4-3 win over San Diego on June 25, but was 0-2 with a 6.89 ERA in his previous six starts before Sunday’s victory.

“We needed it. I feel like I needed it,” said Lincecum, who struck out a career-high 12 and didn’t walk a batter for the first time.

Lincecum, who brings a 16-inning scoreless streak into this start, is making his first appearance against the Cardinals.

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Starting Pitchers

T. Lincecum SF vs. B. Looper ChC
7-5 Record 12-12
4.00 ERA 4.94
150 K 87
65 BB 51
1.28 WHIP 1.34

Scoreboard

Saturday, Jul 7