SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Barry Bonds strolled out of the clubhouse after hardly taking a swing and hardly uttering a word, his personal videographer and teenage son on his trail.
Three games into the season, no home runs. Then again, he didn’t have many chances.
Bonds saw all of eight pitches to hit, and 14 total. He didn’t get the ball out of the infield.
“Go get iced up,” he said, making his way through the crowded room to the trainer’s table. He didn’t address close to 50 media members surrounding his corner locker.
“The guys who are hitting behind Barry are going to be a little busy,” the Giants’ Omar Vizquel said.
Bonds, who made one catch in left field, stepped into the batter’s box in the bottom of the first inning to roaring cheers and a standing ovation from his hometown fans. Then came the boos—but this time they weren’t directed toward the embattled star.
Atlanta catcher Brian McCann stuck out his glove calling for an intentional walk, and Bonds casually headed to first and out came the rubber chickens for the first time. It paid off for the Braves when Moises Alou grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Then in the third, Bonds came up to chants of “Barry! Barry!” with Durham on first after his single tied the game at 2.
With a 2-0 count following two inside pitches by Jorge Sosa (0-1), Braves manager Bobby Cox called for another free pass. This time, Alou singled in the go-ahead run to make it 3-2.
“That’s going to be very important,” Alou said. “I didn’t come through the first time. I was hoping to get another opportunity and I got a base hit to start the rally. … We have to do that a lot this year to take the pressure off Barry.”
The 41-year-old Bonds, third on the home run list with 708 and seven from passing Babe Ruth, already has three walks this season. The seven-time NL MVP is facing more steroids scrutiny than ever after last month’s release of “Game of Shadows,” a book detailing Bonds’ alleged longtime regimen for using performance-enhancing drugs.
But they still love him in San Francisco’s ballpark by the bay.
Bonds’ son, Nikolai, and Hall of Famers Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey and Willie Mays—Bonds’ godfather—were on hand for the festivities. The slugger’s daughter, Aisha, stood on her seat in the stands several rows up from the field and smiled and clapped when Bonds was introduced.
He tipped his cap and waved in all directions.
Manager Felipe Alou expected Bonds to be in the lineup again Friday night.
Giants starter Noah Lowry left in the second inning with a strained muscle in his lower back. The left-hander was scheduled to be re-evaluated Friday.
Lowry grabbed his right side after throwing a 1-2 pitch to Jordan. Giants catcher Mike Matheny headed to the mound and then called for head trainer Stan Conte.
Lowry, 13-13 with a 3.78 ERA last year, had his first start delayed a day because of rain in San Diego. Rookie Matt Cain was originally set to start the Giants’ home opener. Cain will start Friday night’s game instead.
Lowry, who signed a new four-year contract on Sunday, was the only member of the Giants rotation not to miss a start last year. Jeff Fassero (1-0) replaced Lowry, finished the strikeout to Jordan and pitched 3 2-3 innings for the victory.
Randy Winn’s leadoff single for the Giants ended an 0-for-9 streak to start the season.
Braves pitcher Kenny Ray struck out Bonds to start the seventh after being called up from Triple-A Richmond earlier in the day. Cox wanted Ray to face Bonds because the pitcher had a successful spring against lefty hitters.
“You’re talking about a player who’s probably going to hit a few home runs off me,” Ray said. “It’s just one of those things. I guess I fared pretty well. Of course you’re aware of it. The guy is a Hall of Famer. I’m happy with the way it turned out.”
Feliz is batting .313 (21-for-67) with the bases loaded—hitting three homers and four doubles with 54 RBIs. … Vizquel and C Mike Matheny were presented with their 2005 Gold Glove awards. Matheny received his trophy from five-time Tigers Gold Glove C Bill Freehan. Vizquel was joined by Venezuelan countryman and Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio, a nine-time Gold Glove shortstop who played for the 1959 World Series runner-up White Sox. … Eight earthquake survivors from the city’s 1906 Great Quake and fires threw out the ceremonial first pitches.