April 22, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The countdown is on. Barry Bonds is closing in on Hank
Aaron in a hurry.
Bonds hit his 740th home run Sunday, connecting for the second consecutive
game and helping Matt Cain earn his first win of the season in the San Francisco
Giants' 2-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
"It's awesome for him to be swinging it like he's swinging it," Cain said.
Cain wasn't bad himself.
The right-hander pitched a three-hitter for his third career complete game
and first since a one-hitter last May 21 at Oakland. He struck out four and
walked four in a game that lasted just 1 hour, 56 minutes. It was the fastest
nine-inning game in the major leagues since Arizona beat St. Louis 3-0 in 1
hour, 54 minutes on Sept. 9 last season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Bonds moved within 15 homers of Aaron's record. With two outs in the fourth
inning, he sent the first pitch from Yusmeiro Petit (0-1) into the seats in the
right-field arcade for his sixth homer of the season.
"He doesn't have anything bothering him," Giants second baseman Ray Durham
said. "The sky's the limit."
The 42-year-old Bonds walked out to left field in the top of the fifth to a
loud standing ovation, tipping his cap as he made his way to his spot. Fans
bowed over the left-field fence.
Petit, called up from Triple-A Tucson before the game to make his second
major league start, became the 438th pitcher to give up a homer to Bonds.
"He changes your club, your lineup, including the opposing pitcher seeing
Barry out there," first-year San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "I can't
say enough about what he's done for us the last few days. It's pretty remarkable
what he's doing at his age. ... Since coming over here, it amazes me what he
does. It tells you how much better he is than any of the rest of us."
Bonds flied out and struck out looking in his other two at-bats, but his
home run and Pedro Feliz's shot leading off the third led the Giants to their
season-best fifth straight victory.
Bonds hit his 739th homer in the second inning of Saturday's 1-0 victory to
help Barry Zito win at home for the first time with the Giants. This marked the
first time Bonds homered in back-to-back games since Sept. 22-23 last year at
Milwaukee. Bonds had homers in three in a row from Sept. 2-4, the first two at
Chicago and the third in Cincinnati.
Cain (1-1) allowed a leadoff single by Eric Byrnes to start the game, but
that was it until Byrnes and Alberto Callaspo each singled with none out in the
ninth. Orlando Hudson grounded into a double play to bring in the Diamondbacks'
lone run. Cain, who had thrown 101 pitches at that point, then received a visit
on the mound from pitching coach Dave Righetti and stayed in the game.
After walking Chad Tracy, Cain retired Tony Clark on a game-ending grounder.
Durham made a great stop on the play. If the ball had gone by him, Cain would
have been lifted.
"His fastball has life to it," Byrnes said. "It has a giddy-up at the
end. He's a different type of guy than Zito. He throws fastballs that register
in the low 90s, and they appear a lot faster than that."
Cain bounced back after a no-decision at Colorado on Sunday, when he pitched
seven scoreless innings and allowed only two hits.
"There's nothing more respectful (than) for him to put the confidence in me
to complete the ninth," Cain said about Bochy. "It was great to be able to be
back out there."
Cain, who led all NL rookies with 13 wins last season, pitched well enough
to win in his first three starts. He gave up only three hits in his previous two
outings -- and one run in 14 innings.
Arizona's season-long skid reached four games with the club's sixth defeat
in seven games. The Diamondbacks went 1-for-20 during the series with runners in
scoring position. They hope getting Randy Johnson back to make his season debut
Tuesday against San Diego might help get the team out of its funk.
"We knew in our division pitching was the way it was going to be," manager
Bob Melvin said. "We knew pitching would be the dominant force in the division,
and so far it has been. We feel good about Randy going Tuesday."
Aside from the two homers, Petit was pretty good. He struck out five and
didn't walk a batter, allowing four hits in seven innings.
San Francisco's Rich Aurilia had his career-high tying 14-game hitting
streak snapped with an 0-for-3 day.
Omar Vizquel was robbed of a hit on Byrnes' diving catch in left-center in
the sixth. Vizquel received his 11th Gold Glove before the game, two days before
the shortstop turns 40.
Johnson will be allowed to go about 100 pitches in his season debut
Tuesday, when the Big Unit will come off the disabled list after recovering from
October back surgery. ... To make roster room for Petit, Arizona optioned RHP
Mike Schultz to Tucson. ... Arizona 1B Conor Jackson left after the third with
tightness in his left hamstring. ... Vizquel received a warm standing ovation
during the pregame Gold Glove ceremony, tipping his cap to the crowd. ... Byrnes
stole his sixth base in the first.
Updated on Sunday, Apr 22, 2007 7:51 pm EDT
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