Barry Bonds didn’t move any closer to Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record Friday night, but the San Francisco Giants still managed to cut the Milwaukee Brewers’ division lead to the slimmest it has been in nearly three months.
The NL Central-leading Brewers look to even up the three-game series on Saturday afternoon, when the Giants will most likely rest their star slugger.
Bonds went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and a walk in San Francisco’s 8-4 victory in Friday’s series opener, after hitting two home runs in Thursday’s 9-8 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
Bonds has amassed 753 career homers - two shy of Aaron’s record. Aaron, who started his career with the Milwaukee Braves and finished it with the Brewers, hit No. 755 on July 20, 1976, at now-demolished County Stadium.
Commissioner Bud Selig, who makes his home in Milwaukee, attended Friday’s contest but remained noncommittal about whether he will attend Bonds’ games elsewhere.
“I thought (Bonds’) playing here, a game important in the pennant race and I’m here,” he said. “I’m glad to be here. And I’ll be back tomorrow and Sunday.”
However, Bonds may not be in the lineup Saturday.
The left fielder, who turns 43 on Tuesday, was kept out of the starting lineup to rest his sore legs in the first three games of the Giants’ four-game series with the Cubs. On Tuesday, Giants (40-54) manger Bruce Bochy said he will try to avoid playing Bonds in afternoon games that follow night games.
Bonds is 1-for-6 with no homers and two strikeouts lifetime against Milwaukee starter Dave Bush (8-7, 4.84 ERA).
San Francisco won for just the second time in nine games on Friday, and ended an eight-game losing streak in Milwaukee.
The Brewers (54-42) lost for just the second time in seven games, as second-place Chicago moved within 2 1/2 games of the division lead. It’s the slimmest advantage for Milwaukee, which held an 8 1/2-game lead over the Cubs on June 23, since April 28.
“We don’t control what they do,” said Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, who is hitless in his last seven at-bats. “I don’t think anybody’s paying attention to the Cubs.”
After going 3-6 with a 5.67 ERA in his first 12 starts of 2007, Bush is 5-1 with a 3.26 ERA in his last seven outings. The right-hander gave up three runs in six innings of a 4-3 victory over Arizona on Monday.
Bush is 1-1 with a 3.71 ERA in three games - two starts - against the Giants, all of which were last season.
San Francisco rookie starter Tim Lincecum (4-2, 4.37) looks to continue his turnaround.
Lincecum is 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA in his last four starts after going 0-2 with a 10.61 ERA in his previous four outings. On Monday, the 23-year-old right-hander gave up one run, two hits, five walks and struck out eight in 6 1-3 innings, but did not factor in the decision of San Francisco’s 3-2 loss to the Cubs.
Lincecum endured one of his worst outings on June 19 at Miller Park. In his first career start against the Brewers, he gave up six runs, five hits, and four walks in four innings of a 6-2 loss.