Gonzalez hit his first two home runs of the season, including a three-run, tiebreaking shot in the 10th, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 5-1 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday and giving Baker a series win against his former team.
“Coming in, it was hard not to know,” Gonzalez said. “We were aware of our surroundings. It was awesome. (I’m happy) any way I can score run runs up in the lineup like I am.”
The NL Central-leading Cubs took two of three from Baker’s former team in a series that got testy at the end.
Both benches cleared in the third after Cubs starter Mark Prior plunked slugger Barry Bonds in the upper right leg on a 1-1 curveball. Bonds, hit twice on breaking pitches by Kerry Wood on Tuesday, began walking to the mound and Prior motioned him on as they exchanged words.
“I’m sure it could have gotten heated. I wasn’t going to back down from him at all,” Prior said. “Just because he’s got 15-20 years in the big leagues and 600 homers and I have been in the league a little under a year doesn’t mean I have to stop doing what makes me a professional.”
Players came running out of both dugouts. No punches were thrown. Baker reached Bonds and talked to him for several moments, telling him it wasn’t intentional. Home plate umpire Marvin Hudson issued warnings to both teams.
Bonds walked off when asked about it after the game.
The Cubs won it in the 10th after an error by third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo put two runners on with two outs. Gonzalez then connected off Tim Worrell (1-1) and Sammy Sosa followed with another shot for his 505th career homer that made it 5-1.
“I’m tired,” Baker said. “Ready to get on a plane. There’s no way to overstate it. That was a big series for us. … It’s special to win because I really don’t like all that attention focused on me. My players played. I know it’s hard to win here—I was here.”
Juan Cruz (1-0) pitched two perfect innings for the win.
Gonzalez, who has five career multihomer games, tied the game at 1 with his homer to lead off the sixth, sending the ball just over the outstretched glove of Marquis Grissom in left-center.
The shot snapped a 17-inning scoreless streak against Giants starter Damian Moss, who hadn’t allowed a run since the second inning of a 9-3 win at Los Angeles on April 19.
This was Baker’s first series back in Pacific Bell Park since he left San Francisco last November after taking the club to its first World Series since 1989. But reaching the Series wasn’t enough to patch up problems with owner Peter Magowan.
“I had a lot of family and support here,” Baker said. “A lot of people were probably mixed between us winning and the home team winning.”
The Giants, playing on the 120th anniversary of the franchise’s first game, say they weren’t distracted.
“This whole series was not that big a deal to us,” said Worrell, who hadn’t pitched in a week. “It’s a state of the game now that guys are moving around all the time, so that wasn’t on our minds.”
The best pitching matchup of the series lived up to its billing. Both pitchers were challenged but effectively escaped jams and each gave up only one run.
Moss, looking to improve to 5-0, allowed eight hits in six innings, striking out five and walking one. Prior, who entered the game with a 4-1 record, struck out seven in six innings.
Prior got in trouble in the first, allowing a single to Perez then back-to-back walks to Bonds and Jose Cruz Jr. to load the bases with one out.
Snow made an acrobatic catch in the Cubs’ dugout in the seventh and finished the play with his legs straddled over a railing and Sosa behind him ready tohelp brace him in the case he fell backward.
Injured Cubs closer Antonio Alfonseca, who’s been on rehab assignment at Triple-A Iowa, will throw in front of the coaching staff Friday when the team returns home. Then the Cubs will decide whether to activate him from the DL this weekend. Alfonseca has been out since March with a strained right hamstring. … Giants SS Rich Aurilia sat for the second straight day with dryness in his left eye. … The Cubs have 16 hit batsmen to five for theGiants.