PITTSBURGH (AP)—Put this down as one of the unexpected moments of home run king Barry Bonds’ historic season: a standing ovation in Pittsburgh, the town that once booed him mercilessly.
Bonds, possibly playing his final game in his former home city, singled in three at-bats as the Giants lost the first game of a makeup doubleheader to the Pirates 3-1 on Monday. Bonds sat out the second game as the Giants won 10-3 behind Ryan Klesko’s grand slam, their first victory against Pittsburgh in five games over four days.
Noah Lowry (13-7) gave up two runs and six hits over seven innings as the Giants avoided a rare occurrence: being swept in multiple-game series on consecutive days, and in two cities. The Pirates finished off a three-game sweep in San Francisco by winning 5-0 Sunday.
Bonds’ 1-for-3 made him 6-for-10 against his former club this season, but Paul Maholm (8-14) pitched a three-hitter in the opener to avoid becoming the major league leader in losses.
Bonds, booed in Pittsburgh for 15 years because of his playoff failures with the Pirates from 1990-92, received a brief standing ovation as he took the field in the bottom of the first and a louder one during a video tribute between games.
Bonds, who broke Hank Aaron’s career record of 755 homers a week ago, tipped his cap, bowed once and waved in response to a loud ovation from the crowd of 25,434. There also were several signs in Bonds’ honor—a break from the past, when the banners usually were derisive.
“That was nice, really nice,” Bonds said. “It was nice, it was great, I was happy. After all the years you played here and you come back and get that kind of welcome, it’s nice.”
Though he will be remembered mostly for his long Giants career, Bonds said that, deep down, he’s a Pirate, too.
“I’m always going to be,” he said. “This was my first team. … This is the team that gave me my first shot, the team that drafted me.”
It was by far the warmest ovation that Bonds has received since he left Pittsburgh in 1992 following seven seasons, three of them NL East championship years. The Pirates haven’t had a winning season since he left.
“He got a really nice hand, and I’m glad,” Maholm said. “He deserved it. He’s had a great career and it all started here for him. It was a great thrill just pitching to him because I grew up watching him just like everybody else. It was kind of cool to get him out a couple of times.”
Bonds grounded out to first base in the second and struck out looking in the fourth before lining a single into right field in the seventh, all against Maholm. The Pirates opened a 3-0 lead on Jose Castillo’s two-run double in the first and Nate McLouth’s RBI double in the second against Matt Cain (4-11).
Maholm didn’t allow any scoring after Daniel Ortmeier doubled and scored on former Pirates outfielder Rajai Davis’ two-out double in the third. Davis had two more doubles and scored twice in the second game, is batting .405 with San Francisco and .421 against the Pirates, the team that dealt him to San Francisco on July 31.
Davis also made perhaps the best catch in PNC Park all season, stretching out on the warning track to catch Freddy Sanchez’s drive in the fifth.
The Giants had lost five in a row before Lowry’s effective effort. He was pitching for the first time since being removed with a tight forearm after three innings Aug. 5 in San Diego.
Klesko’s 10th career grand slam came in the sixth against Shane Youman (2-4), who is 0-4 since the All-Star break. The Pirates looked to be out of the inning when Ortmeier grounded to the mound with the bases loaded, but Josh Phelps—catching for the first time since 2001—was fooled by Youman’s soft throw to the plate and didn’t try to get the runner at first. Klesko then homered on a 3-2 pitch.
“We gave them four outs,” Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. “I don’t know what happened. The changeup he (Youman) threw fooled Josh. Josh did the right thing by holding onto the ball.”
Before Monday’s games, Bonds said he doesn’t expect to play past next season — previously, he said he planned to play in 2008 and beyond. The Giants haven’t given any indication they will sign him for next season.
Bonds had three homers against Pittsburgh this season, including the 758th of his career Friday night. … Maholm struck out four and walked none, needing only 91 pitches—61 for strikes. … Pirates RF Ryan Doumit was lifted because of a sprained left wrist in the opener and will see a hand specialist Tuesday. He may have to go on the disabled list. …The opener was four minutes longer than the shortest game of the season. The Seattle Mariners beat the Athletics in Oakland 2-0 on April 25 in 1 hour, 47 minutes, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … The Pirates hadn’t had consecutive complete games since Kip Wells and Josh Fogg on Sept. 7-8, 2003. … Xavier Nady, still bothered by a sore hamstring, hit his first career pinch-hit homer in the seventh inning of the second game. … Ortmeier hit a two-run homer during the Giants’ five-run seventh against Masumi Kuwata, whose ERA climbed to 9.43. … The doubleheader was created by April 14 and 15 rainouts in PNC Park.