The new home run king is now adding to his record, but that hasn’t stopped the Braves from moving into position to sweep the last-place Giants for the first time in over seven years when the teams conclude a three-game set Thursday night.
Bonds hit his 759th homer - his third since breaking the all-time mark - but San Francisco (50-70) lost 6-3 to Atlanta (64-56) on Wednesday night.
A win Thursday would give the Braves their first sweep of the Giants since a three-game series in May 2000, the year before Bonds broke Mark McGwire’s single-season record by hitting 73 homers.
While Atlanta remains 3 1/2 games behind the first-place New York Mets in the NL East, San Francisco is percentage points ahead of NL-worst Pittsburgh. The Giants have already been swept twice this month, and eight times this season.
The Braves have won eight of 13 games since Mark Teixeira’s debut on Aug. 1. The slugger, acquired from Texas before the trade deadline, leads the club with five homers and 14 RBIs this month.
San Francisco, which has lost seven of eight, will try to break out of its rut with Atlanta’s inconsistent left-hander Chuck James (9-8, 3.93 ERA) taking the mound. James is 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA in his last three starts after allowing two runs or less in each of his previous five outings.
He gave up four runs and five hits in six innings as Atlanta lost 5-4 to Philadelphia on Friday night.
James pitched well against San Francisco on July 25, allowing two runs and seven hits in six innings, but Atlanta lost 2-1. He is 1-1 with a 2.12 ERA in two starts and two relief appearances against the Giants.
The Giants will counter with impressive rookie Tim Lincecum (6-3, 3.88 ERA), who has 121 strikeouts in 111 1-3 innings and is holding opponents to a .214 batting average. He has the fifth-highest single-season strikeout total by a San Francisco rookie.
Lincecum, though, is coming off one of his worst starts, surrendering six runs and a career-high nine hits in six innings as San Francisco lost 13-3 to Pittsburgh on Saturday. The right-hander went 4-0 with a 1.35 ERA in his previous eight starts.
Lincecum, the Giants’ top pick in the 2006 draft, beat the Braves in his first start against them, giving up two runs and six hits while striking out five in six innings as the Giants won 4-2 on July 26.
He will be facing a Braves’ lineup that has been getting by despite an ailing Andruw Jones, who is playing with pain in his left elbow. Jones tried a cortisone shot, but that didn’t relieve the pain. He believes it will take the offseason to fully recover.
“I just feel it,” said Jones, batting .143 (5-for-35) in his last 10 games. “I shot it, (but) I still feel it.”
The Giants, meanwhile, have put right-handed reliever Randy Messenger on the disabled list after he sustained a broken left hand Wednesday during batting practice when struck by a line drive.
Before Messenger was hurt, manager Bruce Bochy was considering whether to go back to a 12-man pitching staff on Friday. San Francisco had been carrying 13 pitchers.