Giants fans would love to see Barry Bonds become baseball’s new home run king in San Francisco, but the slugger is running out of time.
Bonds continues his pursuit of Hank Aaron’s home run record when the Giants open a three-game series against the Florida Marlins on Friday night.
The San Francisco left fielder went 1-for-4 with a double in Thursday’s 4-2 win over Atlanta, and is 3-for-18 since connecting for home runs Nos. 752 and 753 at Wrigley Field on July 19. He remains two homers shy of Aaron’s record of 755.
Bonds played in three of the four games in the Braves’ series, and after this seven-game homestand concludes on Sunday, the Giants (43-57) go on the road for three games against the Los Angeles Dodgers and three at San Diego.
“Hopefully it’s coming around,” teammate Ryan Klesko said. “He’s anxious, especially at home. He wants to do it for the fans. There’s a lot of pressure. It’s tough to relax with lots of stuff going on.”
Bonds has hit 11 of his 19 homers at AT&T Park this season, but he has gone a season-high eight straight home games without one.
The seven-time MVP hit Nos. 500, 600 and 700 along with 660 and 661 to tie and pass his godfather, Hall of Famer Willie Mays, at home and also hit No. 715 last May 28 in front of his home fans to pass Babe Ruth for second place on the career list.
“I can’t answer that,” Bonds said of breaking the record at home. “Are you saying I’m not going to try on the road—that I only try at home? I’m just trying to get a damn hit, more than one.”
The 43-year-old went 2-for-11 with a homer in three games against the Marlins last season, and in 15 career games against them at AT&T Park, he is 16-for-40 (.400) with nine home runs.
Bonds has never faced Friday’s starter Rick Vanden Hurk (3-2, 6.53 ERA), who is making his first career start against San Francisco.
Dave Roberts went 3-for-5 and scored the go-ahead run on Thursday, and is batting .433 (13-for-30) in his last seven games. The Giants have won two in a row following a 3-10 stretch, and have not won three straight since June 23-25.
Barry Zito (7-10, 5.00) tries to bounce back from another forgettable outing when he takes the ball Friday.
After giving up two runs in seven innings in a 4-2 win over the Chicago Cubs on July 17, Zito was tagged for seven runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-5 loss to Milwaukee on Sunday. The left-hander is just 1-5 with a 6.96 ERA in his last eight starts, with the Giants losing seven of them.
Zito will pitch at home for the first time since June 26. He’s 3-3 with a 3.75 ERA in eight starts at AT&T Park this season, but has made just two home starts since the beginning of June.
This will be Zito’s first career start against the Marlins.
Florida (48-55) lost to Arizona 7-4 on Thursday, getting swept in a four-game series.
The Marlins were outscored 27-10 in the series, and have not lost five straight games since dropping six in a row April 15-20.
“The only thing I’m going to take out of this is we’re leaving,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “We can’t leave soon enough.”
Vanden Hurk could be making one of his final starts for a while on Friday with the injured Josh Johnson expected to come back next week.
On Saturday, Vanden Hurk trailed 2-0 after two batters but allowed no more runs and made it through six innings. The 22-year-old rookie right-hander allowed seven hits, walked two and hit two batters in the Marlins’ 9-3 win over Cincinnati, but did not factor in the decision.
Vanden Hurk has pitched better on the road, winning both of his starts away from Dolphin Stadium despite allowing six runs in 12 innings in those games.