As Bonds sits, Lowry, Aurilia help Giants beat Braves 2-1
SAN FRANCISCO (AP)—Barry Bonds paced around the dugout with a bat in his hand, ready to pinch hit if called upon.
On this night, the San Francisco Giants were able to manage a rare win without their star slugger in the lineup.
With Bonds resting after playing 13 innings Tuesday night, the Giants stopped their three-game losing streak behind strong pitching from Lowry (11-7), who allowed one run and seven hits in eight innings.
“Wow, what a great job he did,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “He threw the ball well. He threw the ball as well tonight as he has all year. We needed some length in his outing. Eight solid innings, that’s what you need after a 13-inning game.”
Aurilia and fill-in cleanup hitter Pedro Feliz provided the offense with Bonds sitting out. Feliz had two hits and an RBI and Aurilia’s solo homer off Chuck James (8-8) gave the Giants a 2-1 lead in the sixth.
Lowry and closer Brad Hennessey made that stand up, giving the Giants just their sixth win in 19 games with Bonds out of the starting lineup.
Lowry appreciated the chance to stay in the game for the eighth inning after allowing a leadoff single to Yunel Escobar. He responded by striking out Edgar Renteria and Chipper Jones and retiring Andruw Jones on a foul pop.
“That’s huge,” Lowry said. “He could have taken me out at that point. He had Vinnie (Chulk) ready to go. He’s shown that confidence in me all year.”
Hennessey earned his seventh save in nine chances despite allowing Jeff Francoeur’s leadoff double in the ninth. Francoeur went to third on Matt Diaz’s groundout but was left there when Hennessey struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia and pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson to end it.
“We had them on the ropes there at the end but we couldn’t come through,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said.
Bochy said Bonds would probably be back in the lineup for Thursday afternoon’s series finale to continue his pursuit of Hank Aaron’s career home run record of 755.
“I’m sure his day off helped him, freshened him up,” Bochy said.
Bonds is 2-for-14 since hitting home runs No. 752 and 753 against the Cubs at Wrigley Field last Thursday, moving within two of tying Aaron’s record. Since hitting a single at Cincinnati on July 5, he is batting .132 (5-for-38) as his chase of Aaron has slowed to a crawl.
“I don’t feel bad,” Bonds said before the game. “I’m getting like one hit. I want to get two.”
Bonds appeared ready to pinch hit if needed in the eighth inning, but didn’t get the chance, meaning commissioner Bud Selig and the soldout stadium full of Giants fans will need to wait another day to see the chase continue.
Lowry got into a bit of trouble early when he hit Escobar with a pitch to open the game and allowed consecutive one-out singles to Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones to drive in the game’s first run. But Lowry got Francoeur to hit into an inning-ending double play, one of three he induced on the night.
Atlanta didn’t get another runner as far as third base against Lowry, who has been the Giants’ best pitcher this season, winning five of his last six starts and improving to 8-2 at home.
“I’ve always liked him,” Cox said. “He knows how to pitch. He’s really sneaky quick. He only throws 88 (mph) at the highest but he looks much faster than that. I like him a lot.”
San Francisco tied the game in the third when Randy Winn doubled and scored on Feliz’s two-out single. Aurilia broke the tie with his fourth home run to lead off the sixth inning.
James allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings, striking out five and walking two.
“Chuck pitched great,” Francoeur said. “It seems like every night he goes out there and gives up one or two runs in six, seven innings. That’s all you can ask for. He’s doing a phenomenal job. We just couldn’t score any runs for him, which is unfortunate because he pitched well.”
The Giants are 36-44 when Bonds starts. … Bonds has never faced Buddy Carlyle, Atlanta’s scheduled starter Thursday. … James has allowed more than three earned runs only four times in 21 starts this season. … The Braves are 4-4 in their last eight games even though their starters have a 2.00 ERA in that span. … Pitching coach Dave Righetti rejoined the Giants after missing the previous five games for personal reasons.