After playing in his longest game in four years, San Francisco slugger Barry Bonds needed a day off.
The Giants left fielder is expected back in the lineup to continue his quest for the career home run record when his team concludes a four-game home series with the Atlanta Braves on Thursday.
Bonds went 1-for-5 and was called out on strikes twice in San Francisco’s 7-5, 13-inning defeat to Atlanta on Tuesday, the day he turned 43. That was his longest game since playing 13 innings in a victory over Arizona on May 27, 2003.
“I was tired,” Bonds said. “(Manager Bruce) Bochy just said sorry. I don’t care. … How do I feel? I feel alive. I played 13 innings, 20-something innings in two days.”
The All-Star slugger, two home runs from tying Hank Aaron’s record of 755, was held out of Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Atlanta to rest his body.
“Last time we had an extra-inning game, he ended up needing three days,” Bochy said. “I’m tying to keep him on the field as much as I can. … I think he’s taking some good swings. He’s hit some balls hard. They’re not getting up in the air a lot of them. He’s hitting bullets right at the second baseman. They’re pitching him tough.”
Bochy said there was “a good chance” Bonds would be back in the lineup for Thursday afternoon’s series finale. Bonds has hit seven homers in 25 day games this season as opposed to 12 in 62 night contests.
He hit Nos. 752 and 753 in a day game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field last Thursday, raising his season total to 19. Bonds has gone 2-for-14 since hitting those homers and has never faced Buddy Carlyle (5-2, 4.05 ERA), who will take the mound for Atlanta in the finale.
Commissioner Bud Selig has been in the stands for this series and said he would try to be in attendance when Aaron’s record falls.
On Wednesday, it was Rich Aurilia who hit a tiebreaking homer in the sixth inning to help the Giants (42-57) snap a three-game losing streak with just their fourth win in 14 games.
Tim Lincecum (5-2, 3.96) takes the mound for San Francisco on Thursday. The rookie right-hander went 0-2 with a 10.61 ERA in four starts from June 3-19, but has rebounded to go 3-0 with a 1.05 ERA in his last five outings.
He hasn’t allowed a run in three of those games, including an 8-0 win over Milwaukee on Saturday when he scattered four hits over eight innings. The 23-year-old Lincecum, who has never faced the Braves, walked one and struck out eight.
He’s recorded eight or more strikeouts in four of his last five starts.
Carlyle has also been hot lately, going 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA over his last five starts. The right-hander allowed three runs and seven hits over six innings of a 14-6 win over St. Louis on Saturday.
He helped his own cause at the plate, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and three runs. Carlyle made three relief appearances versus the Giants in 2005, giving up three runs through 5 2-3 innings, but will be making his first start against them.
On Wednesday, the Braves (54-48) were held to their fewest runs since June 24 and lost for just the second time in the last eight road games.
“We had them on the ropes there at the end but we couldn’t come through,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said.