Giants 8, Brewers 4
MILWAUKEE (AP)—Bud Selig joined the crowd that came out to watch Barry Bonds. All the commissioner saw was a long fly and an 0-for-4.
Bonds went hitless and stayed put at 753 home runs in the San Francisco Giants’ 8-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night, moving no closer to the record 755 held by Selig’s good friend, Hank Aaron.
Bonds started the series opener in the city where Hammerin’ Hank began and ended his career—and on the 31st anniversary of Aaron’s final home run, no less. He hit No. 755 on July 20, 1976, at now-demolished County Stadium.
The Giants were able to win without a big hit from Bonds.
“Any time you have a hitter in the lineup like Barry, you’ve got to be careful,” Brewers starting pitcher Jeff Suppan said. “And you try to stay away from damage. Basically, they were able to manufacture some runs and drive in some runs.”
Bonds grounded out, popped out, flied out and struck out. He also walked, and his Giants ended an eight-game losing streak in Milwaukee dating to May 4, 2006. The San Francisco star was booed lustily by the sellout crowd each time he stepped into the batter’s box, but the camera flashes lit up the ballpark on a cool night in Brew City.
The closest he came to a homer was a deep drive to center that was caught in the seventh.
Afterward, Bonds had a team spokesman tell the huge crowd of reporters gathered around his locker that he wasn’t talking and everybody should go “talk to his teammates.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he would chat with Bonds before Saturday’s afternoon game and decide then whether Bonds will start.
Guillermo Rodriguez hit a go-ahead, two-run single in the seventh for San Francisco, which rallied with three straight walks against Carlos Villanueva (6-2) to win for only the second time in nine games. Rodriguez also had an RBI single in the fourth, and all six of his major league hits have come with runners in scoring position.
“I just try to concentrate more when I’ve got runners in scoring position,” said Rodriguez, involved in a hard fifth-inning collision at the plate with Rickie Weeks. “That’s huge in this game.”
Noah Lowry (10-7) allowed five hits and four runs in six innings, winning for the fourth time in five starts. Randy Messenger pitched two scoreless innings of relief, then Steve Kline and Brad Hennessey finished up.
While Selig had an easy time getting to the stadium in his home city, he remained noncommittal about whether he will attend games elsewhere—like back in San Francisco next week—when Bonds moves closer to Aaron’s mark. Selig said he did not speak to Bonds.
“But as far as I’m concerned, you have to use what I call common sense,” Selig said. “I thought he’s playing here, a game important in the pennant race and I’m here. I’m glad to be here. And I’ll be back tomorrow and Sunday.”
Bonds, who turns 43 on Tuesday, connected twice Thursday against the Chicago Cubs in a 9-8 loss at Wrigley Field.
A night later, he grounded out to second on the second pitch he saw in the first inning, walked on eight pitches in the third for his 96th free pass, popped out to second in the fifth and flied out to deep center in the seventh. He was called out on strikes in the eighth, and the fans at Miller Park cheered in delight.
Suppan’s winless stretch reached five starts for the NL Central-leading Brewers, whose defeat allowed the Cubs to move within 2 1/2 games in the division race. Chicago beat Arizona 6-2 at home, cutting Milwaukee’s lead to its slimmest margin since April 28.
“We don’t control what they do,” Prince Fielder said. “I don’t think anybody’s paying attention to the Cubs.”
After Bonds popped out in the fifth, he returned to the dugout to discuss things with hitting coach Joe Lefebvre. Bonds credited Lefebvre for his film work and helping the slugger get things “corrected” this week. On Thursday, Bonds ended an 0-for-21 slump, his worst in six years since he set the single-season home run record in 2001 with 73.
“Barry has a lot of pride,” Bochy said. “He works out every day. He wasn’t happy with the way he was hitting.”
The last-place Giants are in a tough spot: excited about Bonds’ quest but also ready for it to end considering their recent struggles and all the added attention.
“I want to see it—soon,” Giants third baseman Pedro Feliz said, “in a winning streak.”
The Brewers said a fan tried to climb on top of the Giants’ dugout in the eighth inning and was removed by security.
Omar Vizquel played his 2,511th game at shortstop, tying Ozzie Smith for second on the career list behind Venezuelan countryman Luis Aparicio (2,583). “Sometimes it’s hard to play a lot of games like that,” said Vizquel, an 11-time Gold Glover. “That’s the way I grew up: be out there as many games as I can. No excuses.” … San Francisco’s Dave Roberts doubled among his three hits and stole his 18th base. … LHP Manny Parra made his major league debut for Milwaukee in the eighth. … Corey Hart snapped an 0-for-11 streak with a leadoff triple in the first for the Brewers, then Weeks ended a funk of the same length with a single to start the fifth.