And Bonds watched from the on-deck circle as Rich Aurilia lined a game-winning single to left-center in the bottom of the 12th inning to send the San Francisco Giants to a 6-5 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday night.
“We won the game. We pitched well. The bullpen pitched well and Richie got a clutch hit. There you go,” Bonds said before making his exit.
Bonds splashed a tying solo shot into McCovey Cove beyond the right-field fence in the eighth and the slugger’s fourth homer of the year moved him within 18 of breaking Hank Aaron’s career record of 755. He connected after going 0-for-1 with a walk, popup and sacrifice fly in his three previous plate appearances, tying the game at 5.
Randy Winn hit an infield single off Josh Hancock (0-1) to start the 12th, then advanced on pinch-hitter Mark Sweeney’s sacrifice bunt. After Omar Vizquel walked and Todd Linden struck out, Aurilia came up big.
Rookie Jonathan Sanchez (1-0) pitched three clutch innings for the win. The lefty struck out Chris Duncan with the go-ahead run at second in the 11th, then struck out Adam Kennedy in the 12th for the second out with runners on the corners. The Cardinals then tried to double steal, but Pujols was tagged out by Bengie Molina after he briefly stopped his sprint home.
“I tell you what, the unsung hero tonight was Sanchez,” Aurilia said.
St. Louis skipper Tony La Russa said the trick play broke down. Giants manager Bruce Bochy credited the gutsy Sanchez for staying alert.
“I didn’t see him,” Sanchez said. “I saw Bengie get up and I heard people screaming and threw to the plate. … That’s big for me right now. They’re going to trust me now.”
Right-hander Ryan Franklin became the 437th different pitcher to surrender a home run to Bonds, who hit his 33rd homer into the bay.
The fans at AT&T Park jumped to their feet and chanted “Barry! Barry!” as the seven-time NL MVP began another trot around the bases with “738” flashing on the main center-field scoreboard. Some bowed to him over the left-field fence as he walked out to play defense in the top of the ninth.
“I made a mistake and he did what he’s supposed to do,” Franklin said of Bonds’ homer. “He has 738 home runs for a reason.”
Earlier, Bonds watched Pujols hit a towering two-run homer way over his head and deep into the left-field tunnel, Pujols’ fourth of the year and the first given up this season by former Cardinal Matt Morris.
Jim Edmonds drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk to force in the go-ahead run in the seventh before Bonds tied it. The 42-year-old Bonds homered at home for the second time this season and connected for the first time since hitting two out against his former club in Pittsburgh on Friday night.
Bonds came up with two outs in the 10th against Tyler Johnson with the fans again standing and cheering his name and struck out looking.
The game marked the first time catching brothers Bengie and Yadier Molina started against each other—and their other backstop sibling, Jose, was in the Bay Area earlier in the day with the Angels for a game at Oakland.
The Giants returned home from a road trip through San Diego, Pittsburgh and Colorado that featured a pair of rainouts against the Pirates.
Morris, pitching for the first time since April 10 after having his latest outing pushed back by rainouts in Pittsburgh, gave up five runs and six hits, struck out five and walked four. He retired the first six batters on his former club before running into some trouble in the third.
Aurilia extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a one-out triple in the fifth. Bonds followed with a sacrifice fly to right and Aurilia just beat the tag by Yadier Molina after a nice throw home from Skip Schumaker, sliding in with his left foot and avoiding the catcher’s mitt for the tying run.
Ray Durham tripled to start the fourth, then Cardinals starter Randy Keisler surrendered back-to-back walks to Bengie Molina and Pedro Feliz to bring up Randy Winn, who hit a sacrifice fly to left to pull the Giants within 4-3.
Feliz hit a broken-bat RBI single in the second to score Bonds and give the Giants an early lead on a day the Giants and Major League Baseball officially kicked off the countdown to the July 10 All-Star game in San Francisco’s waterfront ballpark, passing out ballots in the stands.
The Cardinals’ 6-8 overall start marked the worst by a World Series winner since the 1998 Florida Marlins opened 1-11.
Vizquel singled third to tie Cal Ripken Jr. for second most hits by a shortstop since 1957 with 2,479. … Of 18 groups of brothers to play in the big leagues, the Molinas are the only ones to each win a World Series ring. … St. Louis 3B Scott Rolen sat out with food poisoning and Scott Spiezio played in his place. … When the Cardinals scored in the third, it ended a 15-inning scoreless stretch for San Francisco’s starters.