Bonds smacks home run No. 747


A month ago, it looked as if Barry Bonds might break the home run record by the All-Star game or perhaps even as early as June. He'd already hit 10 homers and May had barely begun.

It's anybody's guess now when the San Francisco slugger will pass Hank Aaron's career mark of 755. Bonds has slowed down that much.

He showed signs of progress with his 747th homer Monday night, moving him within eight of Hammerin' Hank with a two-run shot during the Giants' 4-3 win over Toronto. It was only the second home run since May 8 for Bonds and second this month.

Matt Morris (7-3) recovered from a shaky start and pitched a seven-hitter for his 23rd career complete game and third this season &

and the right-hander's performance was all Bonds cared to discuss.

"Great pitching performance, that's it, and we finally came through on offense," said Bonds, who lately has said he doesn't want to talk about his personal accomplishments and would rather focus on the team.

"Hopefully, that's some momentum we need to start going forward."

And then he was off, headed home with his bat-boy son, Nikolai.

Bonds &

who turns 43 on July 24 &

hit his first homer of the year April 4, two on April 13 and another April 18. Then on back-to-back days the 21st and 22nd. He connected April 25 and 28, May 2 and May 5. Yet, since his two-run shot off the Mets' Tom Glavine on May 8, Bonds has only two homers in 79 at-bats.

And he doesn't seem the least bit worried, either, still going about his business with a smile and focus that has defined his 22-year major league career.

In other games, it was: the Los Angeles Dodgers 5, the New York Mets 3; Philadelphia 3, the Chicago White Sox 0; the Chicago Cubs 2, Houston 1; and Seattle 8, Cleveland 7. For his latest, Bonds sent an 0-1 pitch an estimated 438 feet into the seats in right-center for his 13th homer of the year and first against Blue Jays right-hander Josh Towers (2-4), who became the 440th different pitcher to allow a homer to Bonds.

The Giants unveiled a new countdown on the main center-field scoreboard featuring a road sign with "Bonds 747" in the middle and "Road to History" on either side. "He tied that game for us. That was huge," manager Bruce Bochy said. "We needed a shot in the arm and he gave it to us. ... His legs have bothered him. He's responded well to everything thrown at him."

Bonds hugged and kissed Nikolai when he crossed the plate. Fans jumped to their feet, chanting "Barry! Barry!" as he walked to left field and tipped his cap before the top of the fifth. "e, e, Baby" &

the Giants' theme song back when Bonds' godfather, Willie Mays, was on his way to 660 homers &

blared from the sound system.

After popping up foul to end the first, Bonds got around on a slider that Towers left up, tying the score at — in the fourth inning. Omar Vizquel drove in the go-ahead run four batters later.

"Every pitch seemed to be up," Towers said. "Everything was high and up, and that's when you get in trouble. Elevation is a sign of fatigue."

Bonds had not homered in 33 at-bats since connecting for No. 746 on May 27 against Colorado's Taylor Buchholz. Bonds missed two games at Arizona last week with shin splints.

In Bonds' previous 36 games from April 29 to June 10, he had only four homers after hitting 10 by May 5. It was just his sixth RBI since May 9.

"I went through it. I know what he's going through," said Toronto slugger Frank Thomas, who sat on the grass playfully chatting with Bonds beforehand. "With him, he can hit a home run at any time. Pitchers know that. A few weeks or a month from now, he'll be the best home run hitter of all time. It's hard to tell him how to go about his business &

he's the man. It's going to work out, it always does."

The Giants ended a 21-inning scoreless stretch on Ryan Klesko's RBI groundout in the first, then Klesko led off the fourth with a single before Bonds homered. Toronto reliever Brian Tallet walked Bonds intentionally to start the sixth, Bonds' 22nd intentional free pass and the second he's drawn this year with nobody on base. Boos rained down from all directions.

Dodgers 5, Mets —

At Los Angeles, James Loney doubled home the go-ahead run in the sixth inning in his second big league game this season, and the Dodgers rallied to hand the slumping NL East leaders their seventh loss in eight games.

Randy Wolf (8-4) allowed nine hits and three runs in six innings, beating Orlando Hernandez (3-2) and tying Philadelphia's Cole Hamels for most wins in the NL. Takashi Saito earned his 17th save in 18 chances as the Dodgers won for just the second time in seven games.

Wolf and three relievers teamed up to retire the final 12 New York batters. The game was the first between the teams since the Mets swept the Dodgers in their best-of-five NL division series last October.

Phillies 3, White Sox 0

At Philadelphia, Adam Eaton (7-4) pitched four-hit ball for seven innings, and Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell and Jimmy Rollins homered off Javier Vazquez (3-5). Antonio Alfonseca got his fifth save.

Cubs 2, Astros —

At Chicago, Carlos Zambrano mixed his pitches instead of his punches and hit his second homer of the season to lead the Cubs.

In his first appearance at Wrigley Field since his June — fight with catcher Michael Barrett, Zambrano (7-5) allowed three hits and an unearned run in eight strong innings. He struck out eight and threw 128 pitches, outdueling hard-luck loser Woody Williams (2-9).

Barrett got the night off. Koyie Hill caught Zambrano for the second consecutive start since the altercation.

Ryan Dempster rebounded from a blown save Sunday night, pitching the ninth for his 13th save in 15 opportunities. He got slugger Carlos Lee to ground into a game-ending double play.

The Cubs put third baseman Aramis Ramirez on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his left knee.

Mariners 8, Indians 7

At Cleveland, Raul Ibanez hit a pair of two-run homers and doubled home the go-ahead run in the ninth, leading Seattle to its fourth straight victory and eighth in nine games.

Ibanez also tripled for the Mariners, who recovered after squandering a 7-0 lead. Jose Lopez hit a two-run homer. The game was a makeup of an April 7 snowout at Jacobs Field.

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