The San Francisco slugger, who will have to wait at least another day to join the 700-homer club, flashed the kind of play that made him an eight-time Gold Glove winner early in his career, helping the Giants beat the Brewers 3-2 Tuesday night.
Bonds went 0-for-2 and drew two walks, one of them intentional and the other on a nine-pitch at-bat. He kept the Giants ahead in the sixth when he fielded Brady Clark’s single to left and threw out Bill Hall, who was trying to score from second, on a one-hopper to the plate.
“That’s why he’s the greatest player of all time,” said Brewers third base coach Rich Donnelly. “He’s not just a great home run hitter.”
Bonds had nothing to say about his big play. He sat at a table and ate his postgame meal in silence, watching sports on TV.
“He’s a complete player,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. “And it doesn’t surprise us that he’s a very capable left fielder.”
Before the game, Yost said he wouldn’t pitch around Bonds just to keep him from joining Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth in the 700-homer club.
Bonds worked counts full his first two times up, popping out to shortstop in the first on a curve ball and walking in the fourth. With the score tied at 2 and a man on second in the fifth, Bonds was intentionally walked, drawing boos from the crowd of 27,209—fans packed the right-field bleachers while leaving some of the ballpark’s best seats empty.
“Guys that have been hitting behind Barry all year have been put in that situation and sooner or later, it’s going to come back to haunt the opposition, which it did,” teammate Ray Durham said. “You can’t just keep putting him on.”
Bonds has been walked a record 205 times this year, including 105 times intentionally.
In Bonds’ last at-bat, he sent a hard ground ball to right field in the eighth, but second baseman Keith Ginter was shifted perfectly and he threw out Bonds by a half-step from. Droves of fans began heading to the exits.
“He went 0-for-2, but he still won that game,” Davis said. “Bottom line.”
San Francisco remained a half-game ahead of the Chicago Cubs in the NL wild-card race.
Yost had said Bonds wouldn’t have to worry about another “not-in-my-ballpark” manager ordering his team to pitch around him this week in Milwaukee. As fans and souvenir seekers began filing into the ballpark, Yost said his pitchers wouldn’t automatically pitch around Bonds but would challenge him whenever the situation was appropriate.
“I think they’d love to see us win and see Bonds hit a home run, too, which wouldn’t bother me in the least,” Yost said.
Bonds and the fans at Bank One Ballpark were flustered over the weekend when he hardly got any good pitches thrown his way. Arizona manager Al Pedrique said the D-backs’ awful season was bad enough and he didn’t want to Bonds to reach 700 homers on his watch, which drew the concern of commissioner Bud Selig.
Selig was among those who were on hand for a chance to see Bonds’ historic homer. He called Bonds “a stunningly awesome player.”
“When you look at his stats, and when you look at his career, it’s absolutely amazing,” Selig said. “To think that only Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron have done that of all the people who have played major league baseball, it’s quite remarkable.”
Kirk Rueter (8-11) allowed two runs and five hits in 5 1-3 innings, and Dustin Hermanson pitched the ninth for his 13th save in 15 chances, retiring pinch-hitter Mark Johnson on a game-ending flyout with runners on second and third. Davis gave up three runs and four hits in seven innings.
Even on a night that Bonds didn’t go deep, he was all the talk.
“Tonight, he did it with his arm,” Rueter said. “He affects the game in a lot of ways.”
Bonds saw 22 pitches. His assist was his 11th of the season. … The Brewers reached a two-year player-development agreement with Charleston (W.Va.) of the Class A South Atlantic League.