Giants 7, Tigers 5
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Barry Bonds’ 38-year-old legs feel fresh enough for him to steal bases, and he hasn’t even had a day off in 11 games.
“I’ve only stolen one base the last two months,” Bonds said.
The five-time MVP needs to steal only two more bags to become the first player ever to reach 500 homers and 500 stolen bases in his career.
He isn’t sure how meaningful reaching that mark will be—the slugger figures at the pace he’s going it won’t be until September.
“I’ll let you know when it happens,” he said.
He has five so far this season.
Andres Galarraga, Jose Cruz Jr. and Marquis Grissom also homered and Jason Schmidt pitched seven strong innings for the Giants, who improved to 8-3 on their season-long 12-game homestand. They wrap it up Sunday with a chance to sweep the struggling Tigers.
Bonds’ two-run homer in the eighth was followed by the 41-year-old Galarraga’s shot two batters later for his fourth homer of the year and career shot No. 390.
It was good timing for the rarely used Galarraga. His big brother, Alfonso, watched his final game during a lengthy visit to San Francisco before he returns to Venezuela on Sunday. Alfonso considered the homer an early birthday present—he turns 45 Monday.
“That was a gift for him,” Galarraga said. “It was special to play today, for him and for me. Any time you hit one out you feel good. Ten more until 400. We’ll go have a good dinner.”
Cruz drove the first pitch from Detroit starter Mike Maroth (1-11) in the second over the wall in left for his ninth homer of the season and first since May 9.
Schmidt followed Cruz’s homer with a single for his first hit of the season, breaking an 0-for-24 drought.
Grissom hit a towering, two-run homer to left just inside the foul pole in the seventh off Chris Spurling. Grissom singled in the first to extend his hitting streak to 11 games.
Kevin Witt and Omar Infante each had two hits for the Detroit, which has the worst record in the majors (16-43). Dmitri Young extended his hitting streak to 11 games, a day after he hit a 438-foot homer to dead center in Detroit’s 5-3 loss.
Pinch-hitter Eric Munson, out of the starting lineup for the third straight day with a strained groin, drove in the Tigers’ first run in the seventh. Warren Morris singled in the ninth to score Brandon Inge, who hit a leadoff triple. The Tigers added three more, two on Alex Sanchez’s single.
San Francisco hit three singles in the first off Maroth. The left-hander’s only win came May 23 in a 3-2 Tigers’ victory at Chicago.
After Grissom’s single, Ray Durham followed with a single of his own to also reach 11 straight games with a hit and Bonds singled in Grissom for a 1-0 lead.
Bonds has demonstrated remarkable focus while his father, Bobby, fights lung cancer.
For Bonds, it’s easier being in the lineup during this hard time. He’s hitting .361 with three homers and nine RBIs during the homestand.
Schmidt can relate. He lost his mother to cancer in late April.
“I’m sure it’s tough,” Schmidt said. “I’ve been there. I’m still there. When you come to the park, it’s a way to get away from that scene. It might be hard to focus, but it’s therapy for him.”
Manager Felipe Alou doesn’t dare take Bonds out “the way he’s playing now.”
“There used to be a saying,” said Alou, a former San Francisco outfielder. “I don’t know if he remembers. The June swoon of the Giants—I remember from when I used to play. It was in the papers every day. The June swoon is no longer with us.”
Schmidt (5-2) efficiently worked through the Tigers’ order, getting ahead in the count most of the way. After giving up a single to Infante and a walk to Maroth in the fifth, Schmidt retired seven straight.
He allowed one run and six hits, striking out eight and walking two.
Alou worked as bench coach for the Tigers last season under Luis Pujols, now San Francisco’s first-base coach. Alou considers Maroth to be one of the best sinkerball pitchers in the American League despite his record.
“He’s 1-11 but he’s a strong young man and he can handle it,” Tigers manager Alan Trammell said.
Maroth skipped his last start to rest a strained right hamstring he hurt against Cleveland on May 28, meaning he was pitching on nine days’ rest.
He gave up two runs and six hits in six innings.
“All you can do is keep going,” Maroth said. “What else can I do? You just fight through it and figure it will get better. It gets frustrating, the same questions after every start, but if I keep pitching well good things willhappen.”
Bonds stole second in the third inning. … Detroit OF Bobby Higginsonsat out with a sore left hamstring and will be out a couple games.