Giants 4, Cubs 2

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CHICAGO (AP)—Dusty Baker witnessed it many times during his decade as manager of the San Francisco Giants. Barry Bonds launches a home run and then draws a walk in his next at-bat to set up a rally.

It happened again Saturday while Baker was watching from the dugout of the Chicago Cubs. Bonds hit his 728th homer—leaving him 27 shy of tying Hank Aaron — and then drew a walk two innings later before back-to-back homers from Ray Durham and Moises Alou. The result: a 4-2 Giants win.

“This guy is one of the greatest of all time. You just hate that it’s marred by what is happening right now,” Baker said in obvious reference to allegations that Bonds’ late-career homer binge has been aided by performance-enhancing drugs.

“This guy has been great all of his life since he was a little kid. I appreciate it (the history) big time. I just wish he wouldn’t do it against us.”

Bonds, booed as he came to bat each time, drove Sean Marshall’s 3-2 pitch into the right-field seats with two outs in the fourth to give the Giants a 1-0 lead. It was his fourth homer in the last 10 games and 20th of the season.

Bonds was not around to comment after the game, but Baker said Aaron’s mark of 755 is well within reach, even though Bonds is 42.

“He probably picks up the ball as quickly as anybody, the difference between the curveball and changeup and fastball. His pitch recognition is probably beyond compare,” Baker said.

“If he plays a lot of games, he’s going to close that gap for next year.”

Facing Marshall again in the sixth, Bonds walked with two outs and Durham followed with a two-run shot to left, his 21st of the season. One pitch later, Alou hit another drive to the left-field seats, and the Giants had a 4-1 lead.

“It was nice to win that way. From the fourth, fifth and sixth hitters to get three jacks,” Alou said.

Bonds went 1-for-3 and struck out against Will Ohman in the eighth.

“All three guys that hit the ball out, those are our long ball guys,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said. “He (Bonds) went down and hit a pretty good pitch. The one to right field he crushed.”

Derrek Lee hit his fifth homer of the season off Giants reliever Armando Benitez in the ninth to cut it to 4-2. It was Lee’s first homer since June 28.

Mike Stanton relieved Benitez with runners at first and third and one out. He picked Ryan Theriot off first and struck out Ronny Cedeno to get his fourth save in six chances.

San Francisco starter Matt Cain (11-9) was perfect in the first four innings and the only run he allowed was unearned. He yielded four hits, walked two and struck out seven in 7 2-3 innings.

Lee’s single to right on an 0-2 pitch was the Cubs’ first hit and baserunner after Cain retired the first 12 batters he faced. When third baseman Pedro Feliz fumbled Jacque Jones’ bouncer and then threw high to first for an error, the Cubs had first and second with no outs.

Cain got two outs on a popup and fielder’s choice, but Cedeno dropped down a perfect bunt to the left side of the mound and Cain couldn’t make the play as the tying run scored.

Cain had allowed just one run over his previous three stars, a span of 19 1-3 innings, entering the game. And he got out of a jam in the sixth when he got Lee to hit into a double play with runners at first and third.

Marshall (5-9), who just came off the disabled list Friday (strained oblique muscle) and was making his first start since July 22, gave up five hits and four runs in 5 2-3 innings.

Bonds hit a long drive to straightway center leading off the second. And with the wind blowing in at 13 mph, Juan Pierre was able to retreat and make the catch. But the wind couldn’t hold up his drive to right in the fourth.

Before the game, Baker said Bond has the skill to keep playing.

“If he wants to. If he wants to. It all depends when you get tired of outside stuff,” Baker said. “That’s a lot of it. You start wondering, `Is it worth it?’ Are you tired of being away from your family? Different things. Do you get tired of traveling? Do you get tired of hotels?”

Notes

After Bonds walks this season, Giants hitters that immediately follow are 33-for-93 (.355) with six homers and 43 RBIs. … Bond now has 44 career homers against the Cubs. Entering the game, he had a .247 lifetime average against Chicago, his lowest average against any NL team. … Before taking pregame batting practice, Bonds gave a big hug to Darren Baker, son of the Cubs’ manager. … Former Giants and Cubs reliever Rod Beck threw out the first pitch and sang during the seventh-inning stretch.

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