With Bonds now baseball’s all-time leading home run hitter, Cain will try to end a lengthy winless streak at AT&T Park on Wednesday night when the San Francisco Giants (48-63) meet the Washington Nationals (52-61) in the third of a four-game series.
Bonds hit his 756th homer—breaking Hank Aaron’s 33-year-old record—in the Giants’ 8-6 loss on Tuesday. With a full count in the fifth inning against journeyman Mike Bacsik, Bonds drove the milestone shot 435 feet over the right-center field fence. He was met at home plate by his son, Nikolai, and his godfather, Willie Mays, before a taped video tribute from Aaron was played on the scoreboard.
As Bonds drew closer to Aaron, the Hall of Famer said he wouldn’t attend those games and continually declined to discuss Bonds’ worthiness to surpass him. Commissioner Bud Selig also was not on hand to witness the record-breaker, but issued a statement congratulating the seven-time NL MVP.
“Barry’s achievement is noteworthy and remarkable,” Selig said. “While the issues which have swirled around this record will continue to work themselves toward resolution, today is a day for congratulations on a truly remarkable achievement.”
During a postgame press conference, Bonds thanked his teammates for their support and understanding during his chase of Aaron’s record. But Bonds also brushed aside any thoughts his feat was diminished due to years of ongoing steroid allegations.
“This record is not tainted at all. At all. Period,” Bonds said, testily.
Manager Bruce Bochy said it would be up to his left fielder if he wanted to play in this contest. If he doesn’t, though, the Giants still must find a way to get Cain (3-12, 3.93 ERA) his first home win in 11 starts.
The right-hander pitched a three-hitter to beat Arizona 2-1 on April 22, but has gone 0-7 with a 5.03 ERA in nine home starts since then. The Giants are 1-8 in that span, providing Cain with just 12 runs of support.
Cain is 0-3 with a 5.53 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break. He struck out a season-high 11 over 7 1-3 innings Friday, but didn’t get a decision in the Giants’ 4-3, 10-inning loss at San Diego.
“It’s tough to look at my record, but it comes back down to the team. It’s just not about individual performance,” Cain told the Giants’ official Web site. “If we give up the runs and I don’t get the decision and we come back and win, it doesn’t matter, because we won as a team.
“The big thing is to keep winning and do what we’ve been doing the past two weeks.”
Cain is 0-2 with a 4.35 ERA in three career starts against Washington.
Tim Redding (1-2, 2.43), meanwhile, will try to continue his strong pitching for the Nationals since being recalled from the minors on July 3.
Redding has allowed two runs in 19 innings over his last three starts, but has failed to get a decision each time. He limited the St. Louis Cardinals to one run and seven hits in Washington’s 3-2 win on Friday, but had no explanation for his second straight eight-strikeout performance.
“I can’t explain 16 strikeouts in my last (12 1/3) innings,” he told the Nationals’ official Web site. “My first four starts, I had (five) total. It’s just a situation where I’m getting ahead of the hitters early and I’m able to throw my secondary pitches.
“That’s what pitching is all about—just trying to keep the hitters off balance and throw multiple pitches for strikes.”
Redding will be making his first start against the Giants since April 27, 2005, when he was with Houston. He was tagged for six runs and six hits in just 3 1-3 innings of a 10-3 loss in San Francisco.
Washington’s Dmitri Young went 0-for-5 Tuesday, ending a six-game hitting streak in which he batted .500 (12-for-24).