One day after hitting his 755th home run, Bonds is not expected to be in the starting lineup when the Giants close out a six-game road trip on Sunday against the San Diego Padres.
After homering off Florida rookie Rick VandenHurk on July 26, the seven-time NL MVP went 2-for-18 with six walks over six games while trying to tie Aaron’s record. Following some rare early batting practice and facing Clay Hensley on Saturday, Bonds tied the 31-year-old record when he hit an opposite-field drive off an advertisement on the left-field facade leading off the second inning.
“The hard part is over right now,” said Bonds, who was then walked his next three times up before being replaced in the eighth by pinch runner Rajai Davis. San Francisco lost 3-2 in 12 innings on Khalil Greene’s bases-loaded single off Randy Messenger.
Hensley - suspended in 2005 for violating baseball’s minor league steroids policy - was the 445th pitcher off which Bonds has homered. It also was Bonds’ 87th career homer in San Diego, the most he’s had in any city, but just the fourth since Petco Park opened in 2004.
Aaron was not in attendance, as the Hall of Famer had previously said he would not follow Bonds’ chase in person.
“We as baseball players, especially as African-American ballplayers, have so much respect for Hank Aaron and all our fellow African-American athletes as well. They have paved the road for what we’re doing now,” Bonds said.
The Giants (47-61) begin a seven-game homestand on Monday night against Washington.
Only four of Bonds’ homers have come as a pinch hitter. But if he does make a surprise appearance in the starting lineup, the slugger will face Justin Germano (6-6, 4.38 ERA), against whom Bonds is 0-for-3 with a strikeout in his career.
Germano has allowed eight homers in his last seven starts after surrendering just three in his first eight.
“The bottom line is I’ve got to figure out what I’ve got to do to stop giving up those home runs,” Germano told the Padres’ official Web site after giving up two homers in a 4-0 loss to Arizona on Tuesday. “That’s what’s been hurting me lately, big time.”
Since beating the NL West-leading Diamondbacks on July 15, Germano has allowed 14 runs in 15 1-3 innings in home losses to Philadelphia and Arizona and on the road to Colorado.
Germano was 5-0 with a 2.36 ERA in seven starts after being recalled from the minors on May 8. In eight outings since then, he’s 1-6 with 6.29 ERA. He made his only career start against the Giants on June 25, and gave up two runs and three hits over six innings in a 4-3 loss in 11 innings.
Noah Lowry (12-7, 3.32) looks to win his fourth consecutive start for San Francisco and will also try to equal his career high for wins. The left-hander was 13-13 with a 3.78 ERA for the Giants in 2005, his second full season in the majors.
Pitching at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday hours after Matt Morris was traded to Pittsburgh, Lowry yielded a run and five hits but also walked five in 5 2-3 innings of the Giants’ 3-1 win.
“It’s almost like a death,” Lowry said. “That’s the nature of the business. … Once you finally hit the mound, it’s more of a comfort zone.”
Lowry has won three straight starts on the road since losing at Milwaukee on June 18, but has yet to win in four career starts at Petco Park. He gave up four runs and five hits with four walks over six innings of a 4-0 loss there on April 11.
San Francisco has lost four straight and eight of 11 this season to the Padres.