SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Barry Bonds is beating the Phillies whether they pitch to him or not.
Bonds hit his 744th career home run in the San Francisco Giants’ 9-4 victory over Philadelphia on Saturday, moving him within 11 of Hank Aaron’s record of 755.
A night earlier, the Giants scored three runs in both the seventh and eighth innings after walks to the slugger on the way to a 6-2 win.
“Whether he’s hitting or he’s walking, it still changes the game,” winning pitcher Noah Lowry said. “We’ve got other guys who can do some damage, and they’re stepping up and doing it.”
Bonds led off the second inning Saturday and sent the first pitch from Jon Lieber over the fence in center for his 10th homer of the year, a drive that traveled an estimated 438 feet. Bonds connected for the fifth time in his career against Lieber, who has given up eight total hits to Bonds.
The 42-year-old Bonds rounded the bases to cheers as “744” flashed on the scoreboard. Eliezer Alfonzo added a solo shot to start the seventh for his first homer of the year, and Pedro Feliz hit a three-run homer in the eighth after a walk to Bonds.
“I know a lot of times they’re still going to pitch around him,” first baseman Ryan Klesko said. “If we can continue to get big hits and put runners in scoring position, it’ll put us in that much of a better position to win. Barry’s swinging a hot bat.”
Manager Bruce Bochy waited until Bonds arrived at the ballpark Saturday morning to write the seven-time NL MVP into the lineup against Lieber (1-1) for an afternoon contest following a night game.
“It worked out well,” Bochy said. “He goes out there and hits a homer. He played well.”
The solo shot gave Bonds 1,952 RBIs, moving him past Stan Musial and into sole possession of fourth place on the career RBI list. In addition, Bonds moved into a tie for third place on the runs list with Aaron and Babe Ruth (2,174).
“Bonds is no surprise,” Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said. “He’s not a secret. Maybe 15 years ago. What he does, he does better than anybody. He’s going to get there (755) a lot quicker than people think.”
Lowry (4-2) struck out a season-high eight in 6 2-3 innings to win his fourth straight start, leaving after allowing Abraham Nunez’s two-out RBI single in the seventh then a walk to Rod Barajas. Jack Taschner entered and struck out pinch-hitter Jayson Werth.
Lowry struck out the side in order in the third during a stretch of 12 straight retired Philadelphia hitters. He had his most strikeouts since also fanning eight Sept. 29, 2005, at San Diego.
Bonds is scheduled to sit out Sunday night’s series finale, a game on ESPN.
“He’s not going to talk me out of it,” Bochy said. “He needs a break. It’s not easy to not put his name in the lineup, but we have a lot of baseball left.”
He was intentionally walked—his 11th intentional walk of the year—in the third with Klesko at third following his go-ahead two-run triple, then walked again leading off the sixth. Bonds drew his 28th walk of the year in the eighth, then received a standing ovation when lifted for pinch-runner Todd Linden—and Ray Durham followed with an RBI single. The Giants have scored 22.8 percent of their runs after Bonds’ walks.
“Walking Barry is not always advantageous,” Bochy said beforehand.
The Giants committed four errors in a game for the first time since Aug. 29 at Atlanta, two of them by backup catcher Alfonzo.
Shane Victorino followed his leadoff single in the first with his 12th stolen base of the year—he later got his 13th—and reached third on Alfonzo’s throwing error on a pickoff try. Jimmy Rollins’ RBI single scored Victorino, then Rollins stole second and advanced to third on 11-time Gold Glove shortstop Omar Vizquel’s second error of the year. Vizquel failed to field Klesko’s throw that glanced off his glove.
“We weren’t patient, chasing balls,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti was ejected in the seventh by first-base umpire Jim Reynolds for arguing balls and strikes, the first time he’s been tossed this season.
Phillies RHP Yoel Hernandez made his major league debut in the eighth a day after being called up and gave up Feliz’s sixth homer. … Lowry’s Ks were a season high for any Giants starter. … Victorino has stolen two bags in all three games of this series. … San Francisco C Bengie Molina got the day off and Alfonzo earned his fourth start on the heels of two productive games off the bench. … The Giants sported their “Gigantes” jerseys in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. … San Francisco optioned RHP Scott Munter to Triple-A Fresno after his ninth-inning performance, one day after calling him up, to make room for Tim Lincecum as he prepares to pitch in his big league debut Sunday.