If Barry Bonds is going to break Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record at AT&T Park, it looks like he’ll have to wait until at least the next homestand. Bonds’ San Francisco Giants have already waited a long time since their last home win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Bonds tries to snap out of an 0-for-15 slump and help the Giants avoid a three-game sweep against the Dodgers as the NL West rivals conclude their three-game set on Sunday.
In Saturday’s 12-inning, 8-7 San Francisco defeat, Bonds went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts. The left fielder is 0-for-7 in this series, 0-for-13 in his last five games and hitless in 15 at-bats since the fourth inning of a July 5 contest at Cincinnati.
He also remains at 751 career homers - four shy of Aaron’s record. The Giants (38-50) embark on a seven-game road trip to Chicago and Milwaukee after this game, meaning Bonds’ next chance to hit a record-breaking home run in San Francisco will not come until at least July 23 versus Atlanta - Aaron’s former team.
“I know how important it would be to the fans; that’s why in a perfect scenario, he hits it here, but you could be within one, then you hit a road trip. What do you do then?” Giants manager Bruce Bochy told the team’s official Web site.
The Dodgers, though, are the team that appears to feel most at home in San Francisco. Saturday’s victory was the 10th in a row for Los Angeles at AT&T Park. It’s the longest road winning streak at any ballpark for the Dodgers (51-40) since they won 13 in a row over the Giants at Candlestick Park from 1976-77.
“It’s a good atmosphere,” said Los Angeles first baseman James Loney, who doubled and scored the winning run Saturday. “It’s like playing at Dodger Stadium. It’s fun playing here. We get a lot of our fans out here.”
San Francisco figures to have a good chance to break the current streak with Noah Lowry (9-6, 3.35 ERA) on the mound. The left-hander leads the Giants’ rotation in both victories and ERA, and is looking to win his fourth consecutive start.
In his last outing, a 4-3 victory at St. Louis on July 6, Lowry yielded only one run and four hits in six innings while walking five and striking out five.
Lowry has also won seven consecutive home decisions, and is 7-1 with a 2.45 ERA in nine starts at AT&T Park this year. However, his lone loss there came against the Dodgers on April 6, when he allowed two runs in seven innings of a 2-1 defeat.
Lowry is 3-1 with a 3.05 ERA in 11 appearances, including nine starts, versus Los Angeles.
While Lowry is pitching well, former Giants right-hander Brett Tomko (1-7, 6.18) is not.
Tomko lost his spot in the Dodgers’ rotation in May, but will get the start Sunday with Randy Wolf (shoulder) still on the disabled list. Tomko takes the hill despite continuing to perform poorly. He has been scored upon in each of his last five relief appearances, and opponents are batting .314 against him since his move to the bullpen.
“I might have lost confidence,” Tomko, who pitched for San Francisco from 2004-05, said on the Dodgers’ official Web site. “To go from a starter to mop-up guy, it doesn’t feel great. Nobody wants to be a long guy in the bullpen. It takes a toll.
“It’s not that I feel I can’t get people out. I like starting. It’s what I want to do next year. I have thought about next year. Being a long guy is not what I want to do.”
Bonds is 6-for-19 (.316) with a homer, two doubles and 13 walks in his career against Tomko.