Bonds’ 760th home run helps lift Giants past Marlins 4-3
MIAMI (AP)—For Barry Bonds, solid footing led to solid contact—and another mammoth home run.
Bonds extended baseball’s home run record to 760 with a two-run shot in the fifth inning off Rick VandenHurk, putting the San Francisco Giants ahead to stay in their 4-3 win over the Florida Marlins on Saturday night.
He struck out in his first two appearances against VandenHurk, later saying part of the problem was that he couldn’t find soft dirt to plant his feet in the batter’s box. But he hit the right spot in his third at-bat, delivering his 26th homer of the season—a 444-footer to right-center field.
“It was really hard and I kept sliding all over the place,” Bonds said. “Some of the other guys’ footings were just in a bad location. I got away with it in one at-bat.”
Bonds struck out three times, a season-high. But that likely won’t be what the flash-popping crowd of 42,817—Florida’s biggest home draw since opening day 2005—will remember most about this one.
“A 43-year-old man hitting a ball like that, it is amazing,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “That is a lot of home runs. … Pretty incredible.”
Ryan Klesko had two hits and scored twice for the Giants, and Matt Cain (5-13) struck out seven in seven innings for his second win in eight starts. Brad Hennessey gave up a leadoff double in the ninth before finishing for his 11th save in 13 chances, nailing it down when Rich Aurilia caught Alfredo Amezaga’s one-out liner and doubled Jeremy Hermida off third base.
“I was going on contact,” said Hermida, who doubled twice for Florida. “There’s nothing I could really do.”
Hanley Ramirez led off the game with his 23rd home run for the Marlins, who need to go 14-4 in their final 18 home games to finish over .500 in their ballpark this season. Mike Jacobs added two RBIs, including his 11th homer.
VandenHurk (3-4) has retired Bonds twice in four at-bats. Both hits were home runs, the first being No. 754 last month when the Giants’ slugger closed in on Hank Aaron’s previous mark of 755 homers.
VandenHurk got Bonds looking on a 73 mph offering in the second inning— Bonds said it was outside after reviewing it on film—and swinging at a fastball in the fourth. But VandenHurk made a mistake in the fifth, and paid dearly
“I threw it in but it crept back over the plate,” VandenHurk said. “You obviously can’t do that with him. He’ll hit it out.”
Some of those in the crowd—which nearly tripled Florida’s season-average— surely were there for the postgame concert featuring Blues Traveler. Most, though, came to see Bonds in what might be his final South Florida appearance of the season. The series ends with two day games and Bonds won’t be in Sunday’s lineup, Bochy said. His status for Monday still isn’t known.
“We’ll see how he’s doing,” Bochy said.
Cain allowed six hits and three runs, two of those coming within his first eight pitches of the night.
Ramirez hit the first pitch Cain offered to deep left, and Bonds simply turned and watched it sail high over the tall scoreboard that serves as the wall on that side of the ballpark. Alejandro De Aza followed with a standup triple to center, and he scored when Jacobs singled two batters later.
The Giants tied it in the fourth on RBI doubles by Bengie Molina and Rich Aurilia, before the Marlins reclaimed the lead in their half of the inning on Jacobs’ home run. But Bonds came through in the fifth off VandenHurk, who yielded seven hits and four runs while striking out five in 5 2-3 innings.
“Cainer’s been pitching great for us all year long and we haven’t been able to score any runs for him,” Bonds said. “We finally got a situation where we did score some runs for him. We haven’t been able to do that for him in a long time. That guy would probably have 20 wins already.”
Bonds hadn’t struck out three times in a game since June 2006. … Marlins C Matt Treanor made a nifty block of home plate to end the sixth, taking a throw from LF Josh Willingham and tagging out Giants SS Omar Vizquel on a play San Francisco argued to no avail. … University of Miami president Donna Shalala was at the game, spending a few innings next to Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria. Singer Jon Secada—a Miami alum—threw out one of the ceremonial pregame pitches.